Over the years, critics have had no problem putting Joel Schumacher’s films on the chopping block. Just take a peek at the reviews for “Batman & Robin” (1997) which has a whopping 11% on the Tomatometer (yikes). With that being said, he was able to find some critical success with his 1987 glam-metal vampire flick “The Lost Boys,” a film that, with its sultry and seductive aesthetic, continues to inspire similar monster movies today.
“The Lost Boys” follows the story of Michael Emerson (Jason Patric), a teenager who has just moved along with his single mom (Dianne Wiest) and brother (Corey Haim) to Santa Carla where–surprise–everything is not as it seems. Michael soon meets Star (Jami Gertz) and the rest of the vampire clique led by the mysterious David (Kiefer Sutherland). As expected, trouble ensues from there.
With its fantastical plot, star-studded cast, killer soundtrack, and, as I mentioned previously, glam-metal decorations, “The Lost Boys” is a nightmare dressed up as an 80s daydream. It’s a bit all over the place, but the excess is precisely what makes it so enjoyable. Kiefer Sutherland’s acting is out of the box, but so is everything else about this movie, so he definitely gets a pass–especially since his character is one of the most entertaining aspects of the film.
Additionally, Schumacher’s film also touches on an important aspect of horror that’s not often thought about by your average filmgoer. While we’re used to seeing scary movies for a short-lived thrill, they’ve historically been used to discuss the things that we are fearful of or do not understand as a society.
With its homoerotic undertones and references to blood and cross-contamination, “The Lost Boys” functions as an AIDS metaphor, allowing Schumacher to explore his own fear of the virus as a gay man in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan’s refusal to acknowledge it saw a rise in overt homophobia and public ostracization of gay people along with an outrageous amount of unnecessary deaths.
However, with all of that being said, there’s no other way to dice it: “The Lost Boys” is simply fun to watch. While a little silly and over the top at times, it’s easy to see how its portrayal of vampires as young, indulgent, and alluring has influenced subsequent vampire media like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and even the “Twilight” franchise. It’s a definite cult classic and an obvious staple for Halloween season.
Filmnetic Grade: B+
Have you seen “The Lost Boys” (1987)? What did you think of it? Comment down below!
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