Lucy, a middle-aged single mother, and her two teenage sons move to the fictional town of Santa Carla, California. The town has a gang of punk bikers led by David (Kiefer Sutherland, fifteen years before his Jack Bauer street cred), and including Star, whom Michael, Lucy’s oldest son, immediately develops the hots for. While Michael (Jason Patric, back when it looked like he might have, you know, a career ahead of him) rides bikes and plays chicken with David and Star and the gang (who are really a filthy buncha vampires, ya know), Sam, Michael’s younger brother (played by Corey Haim), befriends a pair of mildly retarded comic book geeks (Jamison Newlander and the other Corey — Corey Feldman) who also happen to be vampire hunters in their spare time.
The excitement of seeing both Coreys on the screen at the same time would be enough for most movies. Most directors would just coast at that point. Not The Lost Boys auteur Joel Schumacher. While Michael is being pledged into the vampire biker fraternity, and Sam is getting a crash course from the Belmont twins, their mother Lucy is being romanced by Max (Edward Hermann, years before finding better venues for his talents as the narrator of History Channel documentaries, and the aloof grandfather on Gilmore Girls). Surely these three plots can have nothing to do with one another. I mean, sure, maybe Sam and those moron vampire hunters might butt heads with David and the undead bikers, but Lucy’s affair with Max is just there for a lovely bit of character development, right?
Of course not! All three credited writers must have been paying close attention in screenplay class, because their story never sticks a toe outside of formula. In the lamest and least-shocking plot twist possible, Max is revealed to be the true leader of the vampire biker gang. By this time Michael has become alarmed at the vampiric tendencies he’s been displaying (aversion to light, wanting to sleep all day — must’ve been all that fucking blood he drank), and he and the two Coreys fight and kill David and the gang. This leaves no one to rescue Lucy at the end — no one, that is, except the hitherto useless character of Grandpa, who drives a jeep through the wall right on cue, conveniently staking Max with a splinter, grabbing a root beer from the fridge and casually declaring that his least favorite part of life in Santa Carla is all the vampires running around. Har har har.
Remember all those John Hughes, Brat Pack-type movies from the ‘80s? Imagine all the worst aspects of those films — the lame humor, embarrassingly dated fashion, shitty pop music — and throw in a little vampirism, and you’ve got The Lost Boys. Why it has enjoyed popularity with horror movie fans is really beyond me, because there isn’t a single thing to recommend it. Joel Schumacher had directed St. Elmo’s Fire a short time before this, and must have thought he was on the right track, because The Lost Boys is pretty much St. Elmo’s Fire with fangs. Even poor Edward Hermann is made to suffer, spending most of the film in a pastel Miami Vice jacket. Somebody just stake the pitiful bastard already!
My friend was dismayed that I didn’t share his esteem for the film. To him, Keifer Sutherland as David, with his spiked mullet and dark trench coat with the up-turned collar, was the walking embodiment of cool. Looking at it that way, I’m amazed we stayed friends as long as we did.