It's the evening in Santa Carla, and at the seaside fairground a gang of four young men led by troublemaker David (Kiefer Sutherland) are menacing the folks on the merry-go-round when the supervisor shows up to tell them they're banned - again. But later, when he walks to his car, he notices something up in the dark sky; he cannot quite make it out, but it's swooping down towards him and he'd better get inside because... oh, too late. The next morning, teenage Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Jason Patric) have arrived in town to stay in the murder capital of the world.
Or that's what the graffiti on the welcome billboard says, at any rate, but while their mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) reassures them, they might just have received a warning. Also receiving a warning would be anyone with the temerity to suggest perhaps The Lost Boys was not all it was cracked up to be, for they would suffer the same punishment as the bloke who gets carried away with a car door at the beginning of the movie (so to speak). But nostalgia played a strong part here, as the film had been expressly aimed at eighties teenagers and their younger siblings, so it was little wonder the film should be held in such pride of place among those who grew up with it, whatever age they were.
However, watch it now without the benefit of that rose-tinted hindsight and you could see a project obviously more interested in the lucrative soundtrack album market than actually entering into the spirit of that fertile strain of 1980s horror which brightened up many a cinema or video store of this era. What was most notable for those who would have preferred something more fullblooded in their chillers was that for the first hour - that's the first two thirds of the movie - there was nary a drop of blood seen onscreen at all, unless you counted the bottle of red stuff which may or may not be the real thing. This anaemia, or maybe reluctance, to go in strongly with the gore was replaced with giddy or smart alecky humour.
Of the sort its predecessor The Goonies had employed, and that was by no means a universally loved eighties classic either. This had originally started out as a shocker version of Peter Pan, but once director Joel Schumacher got his hands on it all but the title remained and something more like Salem's Lot for teens was the product he wanted, although this being the age of Stephen King's domination of the genre in paperback a more faithful adaptation of that might have been more preferable. But The Lost Boys was marketed to within an inch of its life (or undeath), with its cluttered look creaking at the edges with paraphernalia which would render it all the more pleasing to the short attention spans who would be shelling out for tickets and rentals.
If nothing else, this paved the way for reimagining classic horror themes: we were supposed to be as mesmerised as Michael is by David and his gang of bloodsuckers due to how cool they were supposed to be. Schumacher's direction gave this a snap which kept things barrelling along, but only rarely did anything make an impact beyond the surface: it was all about looks with these characters, and Wiest alone offered a note of genuine emotion even if she was epitomising the harrassed (single) mom clichés of so many popular fictions following Steven Spielberg's influence. Haim was sparky enough to convince us Sam was truly concerned about his brother, and his partner in entertainment Corey Feldman was on hand to put on an irritating croaky voice as one of the budding Van Helsings he befriends. If the sound of Cry Little Sister sends you into a reverie of yesteryear and the fun you had with watching a horror movie that wasn't meant to scare you too much, if at all, then The Lost Boys would be right up your street, but its superficial flash might not appeal to everyone. Music by Thomas Newman.
American director and occasional writer who rather unfairly won a reputation as one of the worst in Hollywood when he was really only as good as the material he was given. Starting as a costume designer (working with Woody Allen), he went onto a couple of TV movies - screenwriting Car Wash, Sparkle and The Wiz between them - and then a feature, spoof The Incredible Shrinking Woman. D.C. Cab followed, then a couple of eighties-defining teen hits, St Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys, and remake Cousins.
In the nineties, he was offered higher profile movies, including supernatural Flatliners, cult urban nightmare Falling Down, John Grisham adaptations The Client and A Time To Kill, blockbusting camp Batman Forever and the much-maligned Batman & Robin, and grotty 8MM. 1999's Flawless signalled a change to smaller scale works: army drama Tigerland, true life tale Veronica Guerin and thriller Phone Booth. Lavish musical The Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber was a Lost Boys fan) was a return to the overblown blockbusters, but it flopped, as did his conspiracy thriller The Number 23.