“My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait ’till mom finds out, buddy!”
The older a movie gets, the more inclined it is to fall into one of two categories. The great ones, the classics, become timeless. Things like fashions, technology and cultural attitudes only make it more charming, while its story and themes were so on the money and insightful back then, they still hold up years later. The not so great and not so classic movies become dated. Character’s costumes and figures of speech get more and more laughable with each passing year. The movie’s attitudes become more cringe worthy or unintentionally funny. Very few movies become immensely dated, while remaining completely timeless. Very few movies are The Lost Boys.
After her husband leaves, struggling single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) moves from Phoenix to live with her father, the grizzled, old crank Grandpa (Bernard Hughes) in the small beach town of Santa Carla. While Lucy is keen to start a new life, her two sons are not so on board. Leaving their friends and lives behind, late teen dreamboat Michael (Jason Patric) and young teen brat Sam (Corey Haim) find it hard to find any upside to their new situation
Michael is quick to change his mind however, when he spots Star (Jami Gertz) at a totally tubular boardwalk party with the bitchinest sax player you ever did see. Immediately infatuated, Michael follows Star around all night until it gains the attention of her group of friends, led by David (Keifer Sutherland). Punks, thugs and the general bad element of Santa Carla, David seduces Michael into a night of thrills that results in Michael waking up the next morning, somehow different. All the while, Sam has been discovering that Santa Carla is even creepier than you’d expect from a town with the moniker of America’s Murder Capital.
I’m sure there were others before The Lost Boys, but this would have to be one of the first post modern vampire movies for the MTV generation. All the teenaged characters dress like a middle aged marketing executive’s idea of cool teenagers in 1987. And the vampires aren’t mysterious recluses, brooding and hiding in their far away a castle. These dudes are out there, living life and taking advantage of their powers.
Looking at its IMDB page, The Lost Boys is the first title I recognise in Corey Haim’s career, and if this was his breakout, I can understand why. In fact, watching it for the first time in probably 20 years, I was surprised to realise that he’s not the main character. Michael is the one who gets the arc and big moments of character development, but in my memory, this was Sam’s movie. That’s how much Haim shines through. Which is even more impressive when you realise he was only 16 and could have so easily been over shadowed by the older, teen heartthrobs of the time, like Sutherland and Patric.
The Lost Boys is a movie that makes fun of vampire movie tropes and clichés, while adhering to them at the same time. It’s the kind of movie where the comic book reading geeky teens, the awesome Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) get to be ass kicking heroes. It’s the kind of movie that looks and sounds so undeniably and laughably 1987. But it’s also the kind of move that remains timeless in its tongue in cheek, self aware way.