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Lost Boys, The
Joel Schumacher's 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys has gone on to become one of the more popular horror films of the eighties thanks to its enjoyable blend of scares, style and humor.
The film follows Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) Emerson who move to Santa Clara with their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) after she divorces their father. They all move in with Lucy's father (Barnard Hughes), a strange hippy with an interest in taxidermy. Santa Clara seems normal enough on the surface but Michael soon finds out that there's more going on here than meets the eye when he gets involved with a group of local teenagers. He falls for the female of the group, Star (Jami Gertz), but winds up on the bad side of their leader, David (Kiefer Sutherland) who convinces him to drink some blood at their hideout off the coast.
The next day, Michael's behavior becomes increasingly erratic. He's sleeping all day and out all night and he's prone to wearing sunglasses in the house. Sam meets a couple of kids dubbed the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) who work at the local comic book shop who tell him that his brother just might be a vampire. As Lucy heads out into the workforce and takes a job at the local video store working for the kindly Max (Edward Herrmann), Sam and the Frog Brothers try to figure out if Michael really is a vampire or not and if he is, what they can do about it.
If you saw this film at an impressionable age in the eighties then you know first hand that The Lost Boys made vampires cool again. By today's standards it isn't particularly scary or even all that suspenseful but it has style to spare and it still works really well as a horror-comedy. Joel Schumacher directs the film with class and he keeps things moving at a great pace ensuring that the film is never dull. We get just enough character development for the protagonists that we can easily overlook the fact that we get almost none for the antagonists. The dialogue is witty and clever, the film oozes with eighties era sex appeal, and the soundtrack is still fantastic.
From a critical standpoint, The Lost Boys is far from perfect but as a pop culture artifact or even phenomenon, it's an important film, especially when you take into consideration the cast members and what they'd go on to do (for better or worse). Corey Haim has never been better than he is in this film and his Sam is a completely believable and genuinely likeable kid who contrasts nicely with his angst ridden brother as played by Jason Patric. Kiefer Sutherland might be completely one dimensional but he's as cool as you can get as the heavy while Jami Gertz has a very sexy innocence about her that allows us to feel for her character and her character's plight. The humor, provided by the Frog Brothers and Lucy's relationship with Max, keeps the film fun and ensures that the darker material doesn't overshadow the entertainment factor.
The twist at the end of the film is a little predictable and, as mentioned, the vampires are nothing more than cool looking bad guys, they have no real personality, but it's hard not to get sucked into the colorful and slick world that Schumacher and company crafted with this picture. The effects, the set design, and the wardrobe all just gel perfectly and everything really comes together with this one making The Lost Boys a film very worthy of its cult classic status.
The Lost Boys arrives on Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC encoded 2.40.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that preserves the film's original theatrical aspect ratio and for a film that's now over two decades old, it looks pretty damn good. The source material was obviously in excellent shape as there's hardly any print damage or dirt on the picture to complain about. Color reproduction is excellent with the brighter colors really popping off of the screen at you. Detail is very strong throughout and three aren't any problems at all with mpeg compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues. This is a big step up from the standard definition release in terms of detail, clarity, colors, skin tones and, well, pretty much everything. The film looks great.
The primary audio mix on this Blu-ray release comes in the form of an excellent Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix in English. Optional standard definition Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound tracks are included in English, with Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks available in French, Spanish (Castilian 2.0 and Latin 1.0), German and Italian. What about subtitles? Take your pick, they're provided in English, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, and Swedish making this a truly international affair!
But back to that English Dolby TrueHD track... The Lost Boys sounds excellent on Blu-ray. This is a film that makes the most out of its sound mix and this 48 kHz/16-bit high definition sound mix really hammers that home. Dialogue is crystal clear throughout and the music in the film sounds excellent. Surround usage is strong but not overcooked and your subwoofer will gladly stand up and yell at just the right moments providing crisp and tight bass response to compliment the clean and clear sounding higher end of the mix. There are a couple of spots that are maybe a little higher in the mix than they need to be but aside from those sporadic moments that may have you reaching for the remote to turn things down a bit, this is quite an impressive mix that really does justice to the film.
The good news is that all of the extras from the standard definition two-disc set are included on this Blu-ray release, the bad news is that there aren't any new extra features and all of the supplements are in standard definition (except for the trailer which is presented in 1080p HD!). Regardless, this is a nice selection of extras, starting with the commentary track from director Joel Schumacher. Although there are a few moments where he goes silent for prolonged moments, he does a pretty good job of discussing the origins of the project, what it was like on set, some of the many problems that arose during the production, and how he feels about the film's enduring legacy. He's got a decent although rather sarcastic sense of humor about him here that actually proves to be pretty funny if you pay attention to some of the subtleties in his delivery.
Up next is the twenty-four minute featurette, The Lost Boys: A Retrospective Documentary that brings us interviews with a few of the principal cast and crew members. Seen here are Schumacher, director of photography Michael Chapman, producer Richard Donner, stars Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Kiefer Sutherland (where's Jami Gertz??). Although this definitely could have gone into more detail and length and although it omits more than a few people who probably should have been included, it's an interesting look back from 2001 at the film's cult popularity and production history. It's a little on the generic side at times but fans of the film will find much to enjoy here.
From there check out The Return Of Sam And The Frog Brothers: The 2 Coreys And Jamison Newlander, a twenty-three minute look at the Coreys work on the film with periodic input from the somewhat neglected Newlander. How much you get out of this will completely depend on how much you dig Haim and Feldman, but this can be amusing at times if you don't take it all too seriously. It plays out as a multi-angle video commentary, basically, and it allows the three actors to discuss their work on the film and some of its qualities.
Up next are the shorter featurettes starting with Vamping Out: The Undead Creations Of Greg Cannom is an enjoyable fourteen minute interview with the effects man responsible for creating the film's vampire effects. This is pretty interesting stuff and it contains some interesting (if brief) behind the scenes footage that makes it well worth a look. Inside The Vampire's Cave is a nifty six minute peek at the design work that went into creating the hideout for the vampires in the film while Comedy Versus Horror is an amusing four minute look at the way that the film mixes the serious with the macabre. A Different Look At Vampires explores how The Lost Boys reinvented the vampire mythos and brought it up to date for the eighties over a scant four minutes.
Also here included are the eighteen deleted scenes (running roughly twelve minutes in total) that will look familiar to those who own the previous release. None of these change the film much at all but they do provide some interesting character development bits for a couple of the characters
Rounding out the extras are a theatrical trailer, a still gallery, the Lou Gramm Lost In The Shadows music video, an interactive map showing us The World Of The Vampires, animated menus and chapter selection.
The Lost Boys is very much a product of its time but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable now than it was back in 1987. Warner's Blu-ray release looks and sounds fantastic and it carries over all of the extras from the last special edition release making this one highly recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.