Viking Night: The Lost Boys
By Bruce Hall
May 21, 2015
Once, the man who made two Batman movies not about Batman also made a vampire movie not about vampires.
Joel Schumacher justifiably gets a bad rap for those hideous bat-nipples, but he’s also made some really interesting, even daring films (Falling Down, Phone Booth) where he managed not to murder any part of my childhood in any way at all. And then there's that handful of overrated box office hits that were a big part of the cultural zeitgeist at the time, but don't feel all that meaningful now. And for my money, The Lost Boys is one of them.
Ten minutes in, here's what we know: The fictional town of Santa Carla, California is known as the “murder capital of the world,” at least for overweight amusement park night watchmen. Something strange and hungry stalks the night, and fleshy, self-important rent-a-cops are on the menu. Demographically, 99 percent of the population is middle-class white people between 18-35 who spend 99 percent of their time partying like it’s 1987. The only available jobs appear to be in the comic book and home video rental industries.
Well, there's also that newly vacant night watchman gig down at the boardwalk.
New to this city of suspended animation are habitual do-gooder and recent divorcee Lucy Emerson (Dianne West) and her two sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim). Lucy has conveniently cut all ties with the boys' father, who is never mentioned again after a brief, expository conversation on the way into town. Free of the need to develop any further, the trio shacks up with Lucy's cantankerous father (Barnard Hughes), who is basically Eccentric Old Man #6 out of that seemingly bottomless steamer trunk of stock Hollywood characters.
Desperately in need of work, Lucy - as one does - begins her search in the middle of the night down at the boardwalk, during some kind of bacchanalian rock festival.
There, she meets a kindred spirit in local video store owner named Max (Edward Herrmann). Within minutes of meeting, their bleeding hearts are already planning Live Aid II. Meanwhile, Sam drifts into a comic book store where he meets the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander), who seem suspiciously eager to talk about vampires. At the same time, Michael falls madly in love with the least assuming girl at the park, a winsome young thing named Star (Jami Gertz), who’s unfortunately already attached to someone.
That someone would be David (Kiefer Sutherland), the leader of Southern California’s least intimidating biker gang. They scoot up and down the boardwalk on their crappy bikes, smoking cigarettes, staring at people, and then becoming vaguely offended when these people do not appreciate being stared at. It’s obvious that David and his gang have something to do with that “murder capital” thing, but at this point the story does its best to hide the why and wherefore of this. When Team David aren’t busy smirking at people along the boardwalk, they spend their time hanging around an abandoned turn of the century beach resort, eating prop Chinese food, brushing their mullets and staring at pictures of Jim Morrison.