Joel Schumacher’s ’80s classic vampire comedy-horror gets the premium 4K/Blu treatment
For the last 34 years, the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) selects 25 films for preservation in the National Film Registry, each one to their historical, cultural and aesthetic contributions to American cinema. Totaling 850 separate films, the registry has yet to include the 1987 release of Joel Schumacher’s (Phone Booth, Falling Down, Flatliners) vampire-teen thriller, The Lost Boys. It’s an oversight the NFPB should correct in the near future. Until then, however, fans, serious, casual, and otherwise, will have to find some measure of comfort in the release of The Lost Boys on 4K, a premium upgrade that highlights The Lost Boys at its visual and aural best and with time on its side, hopefully serve as a reminder of why The Lost Boys has remained a standout element of popular ’80s mass entertainment and why it’ll remain a home viewing mainstay for the next 35 years.
The Lost Boys primarily centers on Michael and Sam Emerson, Jason Patric and the late Corey Haim, respectively, teen brothers new to the coastal California town of Santa Carla (actually, Santa Cruz), along with their newly divorced mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest). With options nonexistent, Lucy has pulled up stakes (so to speak) and moved her two sons to live with her eccentric, taxidermy-obsessed father (Barnard Hughes), on the outskirts of town. A rebel without a cause or pause, Michael favors the white t-shirt, blue jeans, and black leather jacket while the younger Sam prefers loose, colorful shirts, bubble baths, and comic books. In short, he’s a pre-libidinal teen. Sex and sexual desire are the furthest thing from his mind.
On the surface, Michael and Sam are as different from each other as biological brothers could be, though The Lost Boys keeps any conflict between the brothers to a slow, background simmer, instead bringing them together once an outside, existential threat, a local, motorcycle-riding gang that just happen to double as the central vampire threat to Michael, Sam, and a whole host of fortunate and unfortunate side characters. Led by the spiky-haired, impulsively insolent, anti-authoritarian David (Kiefer Sutherland), the vampire gang all but rule Santa Carla’s boardwalk after the sun has gone down, causing minor amounts of property damage, harassing tourists, and/or occasionally feeding on the local wildlife.
Michael and David’s paths cross at a free music concert on the boardwalk that features over-emphatic, muscled sax player and part-time singer Tim Capello (“I Want To Believe”) predictably shot and edited ’80s music video-style. It’s at the boardwalk concert that Michael spots Star (Jami Gertz). For Michael, it might not be love at first sight, but it’s certainly teenage lust, plunging Michael and his overactive libido into a film-long conflict between Michael, Sam, and later, the Frog Brothers, Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), on one side of the human-vampire divide, and David his glam-rock, cave-dwelling vampire gang on the other, all while the rest of Santa Carla and indifferent law enforcement continue to go about their daily and nightly business. Despite the missing person notices plastered all over town, they do little to dampen the party-all-the-time atmosphere typical of the boardwalk.
For some, The Lost Boys probably looks like just another random attempt to capitalize on the profitable turn by movie studios towards the surface-deep interests of ’80s teen audiences (i.e., themselves). Due, however, to a seemingly alchemical mix of familiar and unfamiliar story elements, identifiable, reality-adjacent characters, and supremely self-aware performances, the result qualifies as something of a minor miracle. Throw in super-slick, music video-style visuals, and a hit-heavy soundtrack, and The Lost Boys remains never less than watchable and more often than not, a wonderfully quote-worthy, engaging piece of pop entertainment.
Not surprisingly, the studio-mandated a key decision to prioritize humor over horror. The scares in The Lost Boys never rise above the minimal or the sporadic (Schumacher rarely shows the vampires in attack mode and when he does, he cuts away quickly). That’s less a hindrance or a problem, however, than it appears at first glance. Intentionally or not, it makes The Lost Boys the perfect gateway for anyone looking to take their first, tentative dip into ’80s horror-comedy.
- Audio Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher
- The Lost Boys: A Retrospective
- Inside the Vampire’s Cave
- Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom
- Haimster & Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys
- Multi-Angle Video Commentary by Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander
- A World of Vampires
- The Lost Scenes
- “Lost in the Shadows” Music Video by Lou Gramm
- Theatrical Trailer
The Lost Boys is available to purchase in a 4K/Blu-Ray release from Warner Brothers.