Lost Boys, The: Special Edition (1987)

The Lost Boys is just too damn cool for school At least that’s what I thought back in `87. I’d gaze out my classroom window imagining what life would be like as a vampire But not just as any vampire. No, my friend, I’d have to be as wicked and smooth as Kiefer Sutherland

I’m sad to report now that I was never granted immortality since that time, nor do I think I ever reached that plateau of “coolness” Sutherland achieved so well in Boys But here we are, three years shy of the film’s twentieth anniversary, with a two-disc special edition DVD courtesy of Warner Bros.; and I think The Lost Boys still has the bite and the attitude to survive for at least another twenty

Boys is the bubblegum version of Near Dark, a superior film that was released in a limited theatrical run that very same year. Where Kathryn Bigelow’s movie is a stylistic, meticulously paced, romantic, and gloomy look at a young man who is lured away from his sister and single father and into the dysfunctional fold of a vampiric “family” all for the love of a girl (played by Jenny Wright, so who can blame this him?), director Joel Schumacher’s approach is a polar opposite Equally stylistic? Perhaps more so with the expert aid of cinematographer Michael Chapman (Taxi Driver) Bigelow casts an unattractive, almost primal light on the bloodsucker lifestyle whereas Schumacher exploits it with truckloads of garish rock `n roll appeal

The original script Schumacher was given for Boys was a kid-friendly vampire romp; he agreed to helm the picture under the stipulation that the story be re-worked The end result is an appealing blend of humor, jump scares, and gruesome gore FX that focuses on a teenager named Michael who moves to the “murder capitol of the world” – the coastal town of Santa Carla – with his single mother and little brother (cue Corey #1). There he gets all hot and bothered over an aloof hottie named Star (played by Jami Gertz, so who can blame him?); however, what Michael doesn’t realize too early in the game is that getting involved with Star results in getting mixed up with her four pals – her four biker, punk rock pals Um, did I mention they were vampires too? And so it goes. Michael is converted to vampirism but can’t take the essential “need” to feed so he, his little brother, and some newfound friends (cue Corey #2) are forced to hunt down the master vamp and stake him – that is, if Michael and Star ever want to be mortals again

The plotting is conventional but never dull due mostly to the cast’s effectiveness and their chemistry The trio of writers behind Boys makes quick work of establishing the mother/son relationships, instantly making the family a relatable bunch But where some slacking occurs is in the unconvincing energy that’s supposed to be drawing Michael and Star together. There’s nothing more than teenage infatuation. Star isn’t given enough time to be fleshed-out, so essentially the great lengths Michael goes through to be with her look foolish Despite this, Boys‘ best moments come from Michael’s discovery of his new “gifts,” and – I can’t believe I’m writing this – Schumacher proved to be the right man to take us along on that journey (Although the glittery blood that spews from Alex Winter’s chest gave me some harsh Batman & Robin flashbacks Glitter. Yuck.)

Warner Bros. has assembled just over fifteen minutes of deleted scenes for this special edition A subplot that stretches out Michael and his mother’s debate over whether he’ll return to school or take up a job (hinted at early on in the final release of the film) takes the most prominence out of the “lost” sequences offered There’s also an extended love scene between Jason Patric and Gertz where, if you look closely enough, the actress’ bare chest is actually blurred out! Accompanying the deleted scenes on the second disc is The Lost Boys: A Retrospective (23m 58s) featuring new interviews with Executive Producer Richard Donner, D.P Michael Chapman, Schumacher, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland (talking from the set of 24), and Edward Hermann The documentary presents an overall look at the making of the film, the case of a studio taking a chance on new blood behind the camera, and a cast of virtual unknowns that ultimately led to success

Further interviews on the disc with cast and crew are found in both Inside the Vampire’s Cave (18m 30s), where cast and crew pinpoint specific elements about the film such as the vampires themselves and even the potential for a sequel, and Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom (13m 52s) The “2 Coreys” also have time in the spotlight (albeit briefly) along with actor Jason Newlander for a featurette on the Frog Brothers and a multi-angle video commentary. Just a heads’ up, Newlander is the least boring to listen to Warner Bros. has also included a stills gallery with some unused Cannom FX, a music video, a World of Vampires interactive map (it’s kinda neat), and a theatrical trailer

Over on disc one, Joel Schumacher flies solo with his own commentary that suffers from some large lulls; nevertheless, he comes across as a true actor’s director The film’s 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer here is a significant improvement over Warner’s previous release and complements Chapman’s photography with impressive detail and clarity A newly remastered 5.1 surround track also proves to be effective, so when Gerard McMann’s theme from The Lost Boys, “Cry Little Sister,” plays (and it does often), you can really crank it up (Was that sarcasm? I leave it for you to decide.)

The Lost Boys: Special Edition (1987)
(Warner Bros.)
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Corey Feldman, Edward Herrmann, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz

Special Features
Audio commentary by Joel Schumacher
The Lost Boys: A Retrospective documentary and assorted featurettes
The Vampire’s Photo Gallery
Lost in the Shadows Music Video
A World of Vampires Interactive Map

4 out of 5 Mugs O’ Blood

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Jon Condit

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