director Joel Schumacher
The teenagers in Santa Cruz this year really suck! Blood. They suck blood. They suck blood because they are vampires, yo!
Straight outta 1987, Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys is a comic horror paean to never getting old and being the rough and tumble rowdies of the boardwalk. It was “When Corey Met Corey”, the first film to feature both Corey Haim (RIP) and Corey Feldman, launching an era of tween fantasies and Tiger Beat mini-posters. Produced by Richard Donner, it’s a good sampling of the 1980’s teen movie, propelled by its comic elements and solid cast.
And the Santa Cruz (sorry, Santa Carla) Beach Boardwalk also adds to the film’s character.
It stars Jason Patric, Keifer Sutherland, the Coreys, Jami Gertz, Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston himself), Diane Wiest, and Edward Herrmann, which is a proof plenty of some timely and quality casting. And they are all quite good.
My favorite part of the movie, from back in the day to today, has been the super-nerdy “Frog brothers” (Feldman and Jamison Newlander) and Corey Haim, the beleaguered damsel in distress younger brother who enlists the self-proclaimed vampire hunters. And indeed, it’s the comedy that makes the rest of the unfolding plot lines worthwhile.
Haim, Patric, and Wiest show up post-divorce on the Santa Cruz (Carla) doorstep of Grandpa (Barnard Hughes) in the spray-painted proclamation as “the murder capital of the world”. See, it’s the teenagers that cause all the trouble, raising heck down on the boardwalk. Turns out they are deathless, death-dealing vampires.
But they’re cool. And you know you want to hang out with them and join their club, right?
Patric falls for Gertz, a half-vampire, the only girl of the gang, which also has a little boy among their ranks. She is the lure to bring Patric into the fold, to join the rowdies as they dangle from railroad bridges, race motorcycles to cliff edges, and kill punk rock bonfire partiers. Who wouldn’t want to join them?
It’s good fun. Really it is.
I had queued this up after Felix and I watched Batman Forever (1995), Shcumacher’s pre-atrocious superhero flick, in part to remind myself that he’d made some pretty good movies, too.
One thing stood out for me this time through the film (first viewing for me since the 1980’s perhaps): Corey Haim’s character’s wardrobe and otherwise Queer subtext.
This is an Eighties movie, if I haven’t driven home that aspect enough yet, so 1980’s fashion crimes shouldn’t be too surprising. But Haim wears some of the weirdest outfits imaginable. Felix even joked at one point “What is he wearing?” to which I could not accurately respond. My clues lie elsewhere, when Haim’s character in one scene sports a “Shop Til You Drop” t-shirt. Maybe it was in that same scene that I noticed that his bedroom walls were covered in posters of other teen male icons of the time like Rob Lowe.
Really, if there is a queer subtext either in Haim’s Sam or perhaps even in the Lost Boys mostly male gang, it’s pretty subtle. The points around Sam’s wardrobe and his bedroom could be read as “quirky” and the subtext around the all-male (more or less gang) is muted possibly. I’ve got to feel that there have been some more pointed analyses on the subject over the years.
The two Coreys honestly get the best lines and scenes. Haim in particular is very good as the goofy little brother, but Feldman’s Edgar Frog is the film’s best invention. It’s still funny, these comic book-inspired teen nutcases with their homemade vampire slaying equipment, riding the line of crazy or “crazy LIKE A FOX!” It’s good stuff.