Pieces

Take Another Stab At The Lost Boys (1988)

This post is a part of the Take Another Stab series, where the horror films I hate get a chance at redemption through an open-minded revisit. There will be blood. There will be spoilers.

What kind of fucking song is ‘Cry, Little Sister?’ Why is it the theme song of a vampire movie? Why does this movie have another theme song? With saxophone?! How can there legally be this many mullets alllowed in one shot? It’s the accumulation of these passing thoughts that inevitably made my receptors say NO to The Lost Boys many years ago. Now, I didn’t grow up romanticizing 1980’s films, and that’s apparent if you’ve been following this series. I’m not a Goonies girl, E.T. scared the shit out of me, and ghost busting does not make me feel good. I have zero emotional ties to these pervasively nostalgic films, so logically, my chances of hooking onto The Lost Boys were very slim. However, the 80’s were the best for music. That’s my jam. That’s my bread and peanut butter. But even the presence of Echo and the Bunnymen and INXS could not get me excited about this god blessed movie. I’ve been putting it off every week, but now that we’re at the end of the rope, I better get to hanging myself with it.

So, what gives? It’s certainly not the makeup design. That shit is cool and I wish they showed more of it. My brain is telling me to slam that caps lock and say IT’S CHEESY AND BORING but I’m trying to be a little eloquent here, okay? It’s a product of its time, but somehow it feels so much older and dated for 1988. The fashion is off the chain. The fashion is in a different fucking county. But that’s all aesthetic fluff, right? The music and the costumes and the kid-brother nonsense can’t be the whole reason for people loving this…right? Could it be? From a horror point of view, I don’t think it’s a particularly mean contender. It had the potential. I love the title and the whole Peter Pan angle of these boys never growing up. Things could have been a lot more sinister and because of that, I don’t think I can take it seriously. Speaking of seriousness, let’s talk about the David thing. Everyone loves David. That bleached mullet is royalty at this point. But is he the most intimidating villain? Is his personality at all inviting or alluring? Same goes for the rest of the biker gang. All they do is leer and make weird comments, just like normal alive guys. It’s full of vampire lore but somehow I’m still confused about what’s going on. Half vampires? Bat feet? Garlic doesn’t work but holy water does?

This film can get a bit touchy in some circles. Saying you’re not a fan isn’t quite an admission of political views but it’s enough to garner annoyed grunts of dismissal and disbelief. By fan reactions, it feels like I’m missing out on a barrel of fun. Why can’t I live it up with noodle jokes? How come I’m not belting out that I still believe? Let’s find out.

About one hour and 37 minutes later

According to the internet, The Lost Boys is actually a supernatural black comedy. I’d be inclined to agree, if it were funnier. I forgot about the grandpa and his ocean of taxidermy critters. He was a fun character and only stood out for being quirky. He wasn’t a riotous good time, though. I think my biggest crux with the plot is the whole annoying kid brother schtick. I’ve never enjoyed that type of character and surprise, that’s this film in a nutshell. The tide is already against me; a smart-mouthed kid always shouting and a comedic relief who isn’t making me laugh. The Frog brothers were charming characters but I found the performances a little odd. Maybe stiff is the better word? I get that they’re supposed to be these kids who take vampire killing very seriously, but they had some funny lines that suffered from the delivery. Kiefer Sutherland’s delivery was odd, too. This whole movie is weird and it’s not even a Ken Russell kind of weird. There’s so much happening and none of it stands out, so the run time drags on and on. Anyways. I take issue with Michael and his instant attachment to Star. Did she use some vamp powers on him or was she really just that hot that he was willing to throw away everything? How could she if she was only a half-vampire? And still he chases after her, even when she’s on another dude’s bike. The whole thing was silly; silly teenage boy chasing after a mystery girl and this silly hair-band gang that recruits hella cute boys. A silly grandpa who puts silly dead things in his silly grandson’s bedroom. Silly, silly, silly. You wanna know what else is silly? That sex scene! My god. Please don’t ever lay your lover down while that song is blaring.

What I do like is Dianne Wiest. She’s great in everything and I want her to read me bedtime stories every night. I was really into the movie when anything horror-adjacent happened. It was fucking great when we finally get to see the vampire’s true faces. The harsh colored lighting and those contacts made the entire ensemble pop in the best way possible. The kills in the house were also exciting, especially the flesh-melting bath tub bit and the exploding blood sinks. But holy shit, did these vampires even know how to defend themselves? There was no actual battling or struggle. These bloodsuckers went down like popped balloons and we were supposed to be scared of them? As I typed that, I remembered the opening when they flew down and attacked random people. That bit is cool and definitely spooky but then it kinda subsided after. Are these vampires devoid of superhuman strength? Can they only fly and fuck with your take-out? I enjoyed the “who-done-it” aspect of the big bad, but once he was finally revealed, he went down with minimal effort. And just like that, the movie ends with a lame grandpa joke.

To sum it up, The Lost Boys is an anti-climatic 1980’s feel-good flick with some blood and lots of hair. I was rooting for a change of heart on this one, honest. This viewing was incredibly beneficial, though. I was reminded of the meaner parts (the ending) and the magical shots of the boardwalk. I remembered how incredible the vampires’ lair looked. I smiled whenever the boys interacted with grandpa. I actually laughed (you can write that down) when the vampire hunters went into the church to steal some holy water. The whimsy is there and more importantly, this thing has heart. This latest watch did enough to for me to say that this flick isn’t for me, but I’m glad it brings a lot of people joy. So, keep on dreaming of that blinding, blonde mullet and keep on dancing lusting after your sax man.

Until next time, thanks for taking another stab with me

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