The Lost Boys (1987)

(On DVD, October 2017) Even at a time when we think we’ve seen it all with vampire movies, there’s a curious energy at play in The Lost Boys, which improbably blends comic tropes with a theme taken from Peter Pan in order to deliver a rather good horror-comedy. The idea of an idyllic Californian-coast town being home to a small group of vampires and becoming “the murder capital of the world” is amusing enough. But then there’s the protagonist falling in with bad influences, his brother getting acquainted with wannabe vampire killers who do end up being right, the mom hooking up with a suspiciously menacing shop owner … there are a lot of spinning plates here, and they all seem to belong to a slightly different genre. Surprisingly, it works—although there’s some freedom in clarifying that the film is not meant to be scrutinized too closely. Under Joel Shumacher’s direction, The Lost Boys is fast-paced, stylistically moody, generally enjoyable and, at times, an intriguing time capsule of mid-eighties conventions. The opening act is great, the middle act is good, but the third act does get a bit conventional, although still enjoyable in its own way. Jamie Gertz plays a convincing love interest, while Corey Haim and Jason Patric each have their own movie as brothers. Still, the highlight is a very young-looking Keifer Sutherland as the leader of the vampire pack. The themes are slight, but at least there’s something there that goes beyond the usual conventions of vampire movies until then. For the rest, The Lost Boys is a movie that has, through sheer daring and genre-blending, aged very well. It’s still worth a look, long after the vampire boom has come, gone and come back again.

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