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The Lost Boys (1987)
Directed by Joel Schumacher Screenplay by Jeffrey Boam, Janice Fischer & James Jeremias
In a time when being a vampire wasn’t about writing in your daily dairy or in fact, how much glitter one could get away with while out in public, a new type of vampire was being dreamed up by Joel Schumacher. Initially not sharing any interest in the project, the script was referred to as ‘Goonies gone vampire,’ but not interested in making ‘that type’ of flick. Though by a chance of luck and plethora of decisions coming together, the Horror Gods so graciously decided it was time to hand down the definitive hybrid genre film.
While holding no immediate attention to the script, once unable to get a hold of any of the Producers had been when the ideas began to form. Deciding to attend the meeting if only to discuss an alternative version of what was previously had. Already a second choice to Direct, Producer Richard Donner attributed his wife in choosing Schumacher as their go to guy after pushing aside the project to work on Lethal Weapon. Yet despite Joel’s reservations, brought in designs for the gypsy inspired clothing he wanted to adorn such characters in. As well as changed the age to their late teens so as to ooze in as much sexuality feasible. Having Jason Patric in mind for the role, but taking six weeks of meetings in order to convince him of doing such, believing it wouldn’t be good for his career. Joel having no other choice for the part and persistence eventually paying off.
Who, having worked with Jami Gertz previously, suggested her to Joel who originally would have gone in an all together different direction. Able to obtain a talented Director of Photography (Michael Chapman) known for such greats as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Which beautifully masked the terror while highlighting the dark Gothic atmosphere and soft tones that we see used throughout. Especially within the last moments in the final fight sequence as the red consumed Michael’s eyes after his altercation. The vague yet effective makeup yielded such fantastic results. All thanks to Greg Cannon who had come in several weeks after starting shooting, trying for a sleek, aerodynamic look as opposed to anything too outright frightening. Changing the placement of the teeth and constructing the feet to mimic hands being vital though the main focal point intended to be the contact lenses. Made of glass and unable to shoot for more than a handful of minutes, their subtle use and close-ups were in part what made the film so memorable. If not also for the great interplay of comedic timing to help ease the often tense moments. **I used to have this massive encyclopedia about Vampires with a close-up of Kiefer’s face on the cover; what I can only imagine as the highest honor out of all images that may come to mind**
In the town of Santa Carlo (but really Santa Cruz), one could find all walks of life hoarding around the boardwalk. Presenting a whole other world for Michael (Jason Patric) and his kid brother Sam (Corey Haim) to enjoy while in their new life. Tagging alongside their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) after a sour divorce, left with no money and forced to move in with their grandfather (Barnard Hughes). Who would scare the life out of his grandson whenever able, stuffing the oddest assortment of animals to place around the house. Holding onto a secret that while could have eluded the big outcome, may have just been handy prior knowledge to have either way. Leaving the boys to roam the boardwalk at night, when the city really came alive, almost immediately pairing off with the crowds each brother would be spending the duration of the time with. Sam finding a comic store where he met Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander); a.k.a The Frog Brothers. Though merely a cover as their real job entailed acquiring any information on the ever rising vampire attacks going on around town. While Michael chose to follow his heart, er, something like that, as Star (Jami Gertz) led the way to the four boys that would ultimately seal his fate; Marko (Alex Winter), Dwayne (Billy Wirth), Paul (Brooke McCarter) and David (Kiefer Sutherland).
After the initial meeting and tit for tat on making him feel as the odd man out, the boys take their next steps carefully, vying for his commitment to the night. Though only a half-vampire until making his first kill, much like Star (Jami Gertz) and Laddie (Chance Michael Corbitt; the little boy traveling with their group). Though when Sam grows suspicious from his brothers latest change in behavior, he’s forced to call upon the Frog Brothers after an almost attack; if not saved by his dog Nanook. Fearing for his life yet unable to turn his back on blood, the three offer to help Michael take out David, who they believe to be the head Vampire. Discovering in the end how much closer the actual one had been all along.
Joel said it himself, you can’t make Frankenstein or the Wolf Man sexy. Though I suppose one could try, there’s just something about the dark, mysterious character who comes to you in the dead of night, seducing you to obtain your blood. That’s sexy, right? In the form of Alex, Brooke and most especially Billy I’d say so. Or perhaps its for my love of all things 80’s that I can find the big hair, dramatic stares and leather jackets so enticing. The three hardly said anything, IF anything and still were creepier than most “visions” seen these days. Sutherland, having a great intensity in his eyes, displayed such talent. A rumor floating around that for the sequel, David’s character would be brought back, not only having survived by having changed Shane (who took over in the sequel). However, while having seen the monstrosity that was the rest of the trilogy, I’ll keep it simple in saying I simply, didn’t like them. Some movies remain unscathed and while the idea for a possible Lost Girls had also been in discussion, I’d almost rather that then the attempt to forge all else, just to see a few characters we loved in lesser form than would have preferred.