Friday, October 2, 2009

Suck It! Day Two - The Lost Boys

Amazingly enough, the original script for this movie centered around a group of kid vampires and chunky eight-year-old boy-scouting brothers named Frog. I'd kind of like to see that movie, but I'm glad this one was made instead. Anne Rice's vampires were glamorous, but these vamps were rock stars.

The Lost Boys

Recently divorced Lucy Emerson (Dianne Wiest) and her sons Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move in with her father in Santa Carla, the "murder capital of the world." Michael, who just seems to want to get the attention of the lovely Star (an uncharacteristically sexy Jami Gertz), ends up falling in with a bunch of leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding badasses. They invite him to their lair - a rather awesome former hotel that sunk into the ground after an earthquake - and play with his mind a bit so that he's more thirsty to prove himself and take the risks they want him to.

This movie was one of several in the 1980s to take the old vampire stories and make them relevant to modern audiences, and in a lot of ways, this is more a teen movie than a vampire movie. Michael falls in with the wrong crowd, the ultimate gang of punk teens, and it turns out to be a lot more than he bargained for. This movie drew a lot on the traditional vampire lore, and gave us the Frog brothers to tell us all about it. All the vampire superstitions are true in this story, but they were also skewed a bit. One of my favorite little nuances is that, though a person will show vampiric symptoms after drinking a vampire's blood (sensitivity to sunlight, inexplicable urge to kill), they're not fully a vampire until they actually make a kill.

Speaking of kills, holy crap are there some awesome kills in this movie (did you know all the blood they made for the movie had glitter in it?). The scene where David and company reveal themselves to Michael doesn't actually show all that much on camera, but you still get a sense of how violent it is. And when it comes time to killing vamps - hoo boy. From the bloody, gooey mess of Marco in the cave to the melty garlic-and-holy-water death of Paul (which seriously frigs up the entire plumbing system in Grandpa's house) to Max's explosive staking to (OMG!) the most fantastic horror movie death since Johnny Depp got sucked into a bed in Nightmare on Elm Street - Dwayne's "death by stereo." Then, in stark contrast, is David's fairly simple impaling (preceded by a pretty wicked air fight), which always struck me as kind of sad, because he wasn't the head vampire (like they thought), just a kid who either made some bad choices or had bad choices made for him.

Warner Brothers, who produced this, was unsure about the combination of horror and comedy, a combination that incidentally has done rather well over the years. It's a bit more complicated than just some laughs to break up the scares, though. Michael's story and the mother's subplot are played straight, almost soap opera-like, while the whole element of Sam and the Frog brothers, not to mention Grandpa, is kind of an antidote to that, so that it never takes itself too seriously. This movie reminds me a bit of Galaxy Quest in the way that it makes heroes out of the comic book geeks who spend way too much time thinking about things that most people don't even believe are real.

Here's one of my favorite scenes, more for the song than anything vampiric, but I don't care. :P

This is such an awesome movie, even after all this time, and incredibly fun.

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