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THE LOST BOYS (October 23rd)


I had the urge to watch something from the 1980s this evening. It's a decade that most movie fans agree was the most fruitful in terms of the sheer amount of really great releases. That also applies to horror and although the well dried up towards the end of the decade, some of the best genre films of all time were made in the early to mid 80s. The Shining (1980), The Changeling (1980), The Evil Dead (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Thing (1982) Poltergeist (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – I could go on but I won't. I was born in 1984 so obviously never saw any of these on initial release and in fact, was too young to really remember the decade in any way at all. Yet there's something about that era that clicks with me (and countless others). The aesthetic, the clothes, the fashion, the pop culture – it's suddenly become retro cool again as witnessed in stuff like Stranger Things. There's a desire to revisit that particular time and as I was leafing through my collection I found a film that films about as quintessentially 80s as you can get. Joel Schumacher's Lost Boys (1987).

For those unfamiliar with the story, here's the lo-down. Michael (played by the dreamy Jason Patric) and his younger brother Sam (played by child star Corey Haim) move into the small Californian beach town of Santa Carla with their newly divorced mother. Their mum can't afford a place of her own so the family are moving in with her eccentric father whose house is easily big enough to accommodate them all. The family are out on the boardwalk one evening when Michael spots a beautiful young woman called Star (cool name). They do the old 'let's look at each other in a smouldering kind of way' thing but there's a fly in the ointment. Namely, an edgy mysterious biker dude named David (Kiefer Sutherland) who might be Star's boyfriend. It's difficult to tell at this stage admittedly. Meanwhile, Sam bumps into a couple of nerdy brothers in the comic book store, who try and give him a horror comic about vampires – telling him that it might save his life one day. Hmm, that's odd. Meanwhile, after Michael finally works up enough courage to talk to Star, he has a run in with David and his biker chums. He pursues them to their hideout, a tricked out cave – and there discovers that perhaps the nerdy brothers are right...

I have see The Lost Boys before, maybe eight or nine years ago and I distinctly remember liking it. Sutherland's make-up, the 'Cry Little Sister' song, the weird gothic small coastal town vibe. It was all good. It dawned on me as I put it into the DVD player that this was going to be the second Joel Schumacher-Kiefer Sutherland movie that I was going to watch during the 31 day challenge. For a moment I hesitated. Maybe I should pick something else. But then I remembered Jason Patric's resplendent hair and the crazy taxidermist grandad and so carried on as was. Yeah, this is just as much fun as I remember. One of the good things about watching as many movies as I do is that, although I do have generally good recall, there is no way to remember the bulk of every film I see. My memories of films predominantly entail key scenes and a general understanding of how the story plays out and what I think of it (although sometimes that's not the case). So rewatching a movie that I had only seen once nearly ten years ago made for a good viewing experience as there were swathes of it that had fallen from my memory (probably replaced by cat videos and Friends episodes).

Like Flatliners, The Lost Boys is a campy, energetic mix of young adult drama, fantasy, horror and comedy. Schumacher is in his element with this heady mix too and his visual flare is evident throughout. His films are often lacking in the finer details and the actual story that unfolds is usually a bit inconsistent and patchy but it's easy to overlook because The Lost Boys (and Flatliners) are more concerned with eliciting a certain mood and atmosphere. The focus is on the look and feel rather than the writing and the structure and for some the result in lightweight nonsense. But I have a bit of a soft spot for this kind of thing. So, things I noticed on a second watch. Well, Jason Patric really was a good looking chap. I mean, he's aged pretty well but it's a shame he never became as big a star as a lot of people thought he would. Corey Haim is great as the paranoid little brother and during the film I had a sneaky two minute trawl on Wikipedia to see what happened to him because I knew he had passed away a few years back. It's a pretty sad story. I had forgotten that Corey Feldman was in this, which is nuts, because he's in most of these types of movies. He's putting on a voice in this film and it took me an hour to figure out who he sounded like. And it's White Goodman from Dodgeball. I had also forgotten that the film actually gets quite nasty in the later stages but the final climactic battle is so over the top that it's never truly 'scary'.

Even though I had a lot of fun with The Lost Boys, I think I'm done with Schumacher films for the next few days though. Although hang on, is Batman Forever a horror movie...?


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