The Lost Boys, 1987.
Directed by Joel Schumacher.
Starring Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Corey Haim, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, and Dianne Wiest.
The Lost Boys makes its 4K debut in time for its 35th anniversary. You won’t find any new bonus features here, but the film looks amazing in 4K, and Warner Bros. tossed in a Blu-ray as well as a code for a digital copy. The studio kept all the extras except director Joel Schumacher’s commentary on the Blu-ray, so the 4K version has plenty of space to breathe.
Late director Joel Schumacher was (to be fair, rightfully) ridiculed for Batman & Robin, which remains the only Batman film I’ve never watched all the way through. (I tried to watch it on HBO once, figuring all it would cost me was my time, but I couldn’t get past the “ice hickey team from hell” scene.) However, prior to his ill-fated involvement with that franchise, he worked on several memorable films, including St. Elmo’s Fire, Falling Down, and the subject of this review, The Lost Boys.
Set in the fictional beach town of Santa Carla, California (San Francisco Bay Area residents will recognize it as Santa Cruz), The Lost Boys is typical of many 70s and 80s genre films in its use of the “ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances” trope (sure, it was used before and after that era, but it seemed more prevalent then).
In this case, that ordinary person is Michael Emerson (Jason Patric), who moves to Santa Carla with his younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) and his newly single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest). To be fair, both Michael and Sam fill the “ordinary person thrust into extraordinary circumstances” trope, as the former falls in with a local group of vampires led by David (Kiefer Sutherland) and the latter meets a pair of self-proclaimed vampire hunters (one of them played by Corey Feldman) at a comic book shop.
It’s not hard to see where that setup is going: Michael is initially taken in by the glamor of David’s gang before realizing that he’s on the path to becoming a vampire. He turns to Sam for help, and his younger brother brings the vampire hunters into the situation. Eventually, it turns out that David answers to an even more powerful vampire, one with a personal connection to Lucy, and the boys fight to save their family.
Revisiting The Lost Boys for the first time in probably a couple decades, I was struck by how quaint the film feels compared to modern cinema. It’s clearly a parable for the struggle all teenagers go through when trying to fit in, especially when they move to a new town, but sometimes I wonder if I’d rather that my teenage son deal with vampires than the modern day horrors of social media and YouTube nonsense. Hey, David was simply promising eternal life, while modern technology threatens to burn our world down.
Yes, I’m being a bit sarcastic here. A bit. And for the record, I find plenty to appreciate about social media and the Internet in general; I just worry about the impact on impressionable young minds, especially when parents can’t be looking over teens’ shoulders every minute. All you can do is guide them the best you can and hope they make the right choices, but it’s still not easy.
With that out of the way, let’s move on: Since this year is the film’s 35th anniversary, it was a good time for Warner Bros. to issue it on 4K Ultra HD in a package that also includes a Blu-ray and a code for a digital copy. One good thing I can say about the modern world compared to the late 80s: Watching a film like The Lost Boys on a decent 4K setup is night-and-day compared to an old school standard-def TV and a VHS player. Today’s kids will never know what it was like to view a muddy-looking pan-and-scan version of a film on a tape that would wear out after repeated viewings. At least we have that going for us these days.
I don’t think it will surprise you to find out that the film, which was remastered in 4K for this edition, looks incredible on 4K UltraHD. This is a bright movie: even the shadowy scenes are well-lit, and the Santa Carla boardwalk (yes, the real Santa Cruz has a boardwalk that was used here) is full of strong lighting and colorful neon signs that use the many vivid colors popular at the time. There’s plenty of fine detail, even in the shadows, and the bright colors pop off the screen. You’d be hard-pressed to find much wrong with the film on the 4K disc; the included Blu-ray looks excellent too, of course.
Unfortunately, Warner Bros. didn’t put together any new bonus features for this release, instead porting over the legacy extras. Schumacher’s commentary track, which is found on both discs, leads off the proceedings with an insightful discussion of all aspects of the film’s production, from the writing to the filming to The Lost Boys’ place in his filmography. Like I said at the beginning, any complete view of Schumacher’s legacy needs to focus on his good films as much as on the bad ones.
The rest of the extras are found on the Blu-ray and include:
• The Lost Boys: A Retrospective (24 minutes): Schumacher and members of the cast join producer Richard Donner and cinematographer Michael Chapman to discuss the history of the film starting with the earliest ideas and the directorial switch from Donner to Schumacher. It dates from 2001.
• Inside the Vampire’s Cave (19 minutes): This is a batch of four featurettes that examine: how the script started as a family-friendly story and morphed into the one we now know; the way the film mixes horror and humor; the twist the story puts on traditional vampire tales; and ideas for a sequel (I assume this was shot before the actual sequel was made).
• Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom (14 minutes): The make-up artist talks about his work on the film.
• Haimster & Feldog: The Story of the 2 Coreys (4.5 minutes) and multi-angle video commentary (19 minutes) : If you’re not a fan of the Coreys, you’re not alone. I know, it’s not appropriate to speak ill of those who have passed, so I’ll reserve my annoyance for Feldman. If you’re a fan, though, you’ll enjoy hearing the two of them talk about the movie, followed by commentary by the two of them, along with Feldman’s fellow vampire hunter, Jamison Newlander, on 19 minutes of worth of scenes. To use a cliche, it is what it is.
• A World of Vampires: This is an interactive map that lets you explore vampire legends from around the globe.
• Deleted scenes (12 minutes): You’ll find 18 scenes here, most of which aren’t full scenes so much as little moments. There’s nothing that screams “This should have stayed in the film!”, but fans of the film will enjoy spending more time with the characters.
A photo gallery, a music video for Lou Gramm’s “Lost in the Shadows,” and the theatrical trailer round out the disc.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★