If there were ever a film to have a cult following it was 1987’s The Lost Boys. Directed by then-newcomer Joel Schumacher, The Lost Boys, while originally conceived to be a “childrens” vampire movie, was a edgy teen adventure/horror/comedy that not only started a movie producing relationship between one of Hollywood’s more famous duos (the “two Corey’s”), but also introduced the world to a whole series of up and coming talent, including Jason Patric, Jami Gertz and Kiefer Sutherland. Despite it being made up of a relative group of unknowns by a fairly unheard of director, The Lost Boys proved to be a success for Warner Bros. right out of the gate…and has since shown that it has legs to stand on with further generations discovering its hidden treasures.
After a messy divorce, Sam (Corey Haim) and his older brother Michael (Patric) move to Santa Clara, California with their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest). Once they arrive they immediately begin to notice strange things happening and it isn’t long before Michael finds himself deep within a local gang. After spending a night with “The Lost Boys”, Michael begins to shun daylight and crave for things that aren’t human and it isn’t long before he discovers that the gang of Santa Clara is really a bunch of vampires and that he’s become one of them. With the help of some local (and serious) vampire hunters, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) Frog, Sam sets out to help cure his brother of the deadly vampire disease and destroy Santa Clara’s vampire “problem” once and for all.
Considering I was just born a few months prior to its theatrical release, I didn’t exactly “grow up” with The Lost Boys as some have and by that point alone I honestly was never that into the film, simply because I wasn’t of that generation. It wasn’t even until I started becoming a fan of Kiefer Sutherland did I turn a head towards The Lost Boys; at that time my opinion of both vampire movies and Joel Schumacher were the same (in that they both…well, sucked). For Sutherland alone I gave it a chance and while I was mildly entertained at first, the massive left field throw that was the comedy in the film, paired up with the serious side of it, just didn’t sit well with me. I finished the film, tossed it back in its DVD case and handed it back to my brother—it just wasn’t something I cared much for. Considering my track record of disliking 80s movies, however, that’s not entirely surprising.
So when the new Blu-ray version streeted, I had the decision of whether to try watching the film again or whether to base it solely off of my initial impressions from a few years back. Knowing what a cult following it has, I gave it another shot and whether it was because I knew of the films simultaneous stupid/serious nature, but I enjoyed it a lot more this second time around. Although I was laughing at things I (probably) shouldn’t have, I really enjoyed the film a lot more this time than I had during my first viewing. Nothing really changed; a cleaner video and audio transfer was about it, but knowing what to expect seemed to make all the difference in the world. Like most cult films I should have realized from the start that what makes it “good” is often something off-color and a bit strange, which is what The Lost Boys was in a nutshell.
In retrospect, what makes The Lost Boys work is the characters and the setting. There’s something that’s just believable about the vampire setting and the characters, all portrayed quite well by their actors, is something that’s just extremely fitting. I wouldn’t have said that after my first viewing; in fact I would have called it disjointed, just because I didn’t see Kiefer Sutherland smashing terrorist faces into walls, but there’s really a lot to enjoy about The Lost Boys and the majority of it stems from the actors.
Then, of course, there are the Frog Brothers. They were perhaps what turned me off of the movie the first time the most, as they’re so unbelievably weird in that they’re played straight but are incredibly off-kilter in terms of the rest of the film. It’s a very odd thing to witness them the first time, but by the second and third viewings you’re just waiting for them to show up so the stupidity can begin rolling out. If anything can sum up their characters, its Edgar and Alan’s discussion right after they get out of the Vampire cave and Edgar blurts out “It’s not our fault, they pulled a mind scramble on us. They opened their eyes and talked.”
If you haven’t seen The Lost Boys yet, then expect some genuinely weird situations mixed in with some very humorous ones. It’s a unique mixture of a film that could only have come from the 80s and while it took me awhile to come around, I really did enjoy this film. It’s short run time likely has an impact on how easy it is to enjoy, not to mention the incredibly dated soundtrack, but it’s still worth checking out. Recommended.
While a two-disc DVD edition saw release in 2007, Warner Home Video has opted to release everything from the aforementioned special edition on a single Blu-ray disc. While nothing but the feature film is presented in high-definition, it’s a welcome addition to what would have otherwise been a rather sparse disc. The film itself arrives in a standard single disc Blu-ray Elite case, along with inserts for Blu-ray player updates and an advertisement for the WB photo collection, where you can order overpriced framed/unframed prints from The Lost Boys. Disc art is of the Frog brothers, which I find to be kind of humorous, for some reason.
The Lost Boys comes with a VC-1 encoded transfer in a 2.4:1 aspect ratio. I’m not sure what it is, but a lot of older movies look better on Blu-ray than a lot of modern day films…which is incredibly baffling, but there’s a nice level of detail surrounding this film, especially during the nighttime scenes. A very strong transfer that is backed up by a rather demure Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track; I guess I’m just used to audio tracks needlessly blaring the subwoofer now, but the TrueHD track here was really silent, even during the music sequences in the film. Granted there are not a whole lot of effects to pound out, but it’s kind of surprising. Still, that aside, there’s some nice surround usage here, especially during the vampire cave sequence and the final act inside the Emerson household.
Moving onto the extras we first have a feature length commentary with director Joel Schumacher, who always keeps things lively and entertaining. I’ve listened to a few of his tracks now and he’s a lot of fun to listen to, as he pokes and prods at his own films the same way I have over the years—only hearing him do it is a lot more humorous. His The Lost Boys track is no exception and he provides some nice behind-the-scenes tidbits along the way, but a lot of it just seems like idle chatter at times.
Next up is “The Lost Boys: A Retrospective” (24:00), a new documentary with interviews from the cast and crew of the film. This was made for the previously mentioned special edition from last year and is very informative. I enjoy extras made for older films a lot more as more time has passed by and actors and crew can be much more candid about their experiences than they could on a modern day film. Accompanying this retrospective is the “Inside the Vampire’s Cave” (18:31), a four part featurette that goes into detail about the making of the film, from beginning to end (and to talk of a possible sequel…which did sadly happen. I’m staying away from that one).
“Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom” (14:02) discusses the vampire costumes/makeup used in the film, while “The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: Haimster and Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys” (4:30) is exactly what it sounds like from its incredibly long title. “The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: The 2 Coreys and Jamison Newlander” – multi-angle video commentary on specific scenes (18:23) is also some more with the same trio, where they comment on sequences from the film in which all three appear, which you can switch back and forth between with the Angle button on the remote.
“The Lost Scenes” (15:16) is a collection of deleted scenes from the film, along with Lou Gramm’s “Lost in the Shadows” (4:34) music video, and theatrical trailer wrap up the video portions of the extras. The remaining extras, Photo Galleries, and “A World of Vampires” interactive map that talks about the various vampire legends around the world, are all we have to pick through and their excitement doesn’t last long at all.
Overall a solid release, although the complete lack of any Blu-ray exclusive extras is kind of odd. I guess they didn’t want to toss in anything superfluous or waste their money on integrating the vampire map into the film. Not that I would have been all that impressed by it anyway, so its best they didn’t do any of that, I suppose. Because of the lack of Blu-ray extras, however, it really boils down to if you own the previous two-disc edition already or not. If you do, the only reason to upgrade to this is for the HD video and audio, which, while nice, isn’t really all that fantastic.
Previous Owners: Skip It.
Newcomers: Highly Recommended.
The Lost Boys is now available on Blu-ray.