[box cover]

The Lost Boys: Special Edition

A canny marriage of Peter Pan and vampire myth, The Lost Boys was something of a minor hit upon its initial theatrical release late in the summer of 1987, but it was through video and relentless cable play that it became a pop cultural sensation; thus, saving the foundering career of Joel Schumacher and launching the pubescent Hope-and-Crosby pairing of Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. These are dubious accomplishments, to be sure, but one shouldn't hold it too rancorously against the film, which remains an irresistible Hollywood homogenization of an ingenious premise that's bolstered by ingratiating performances and a classic, nostalgia-inducing soundtrack. The story has a divorced Lucy Emmerson (Dianne Wiest) moving with her teenage sons to fictional Santa Clara, California, "The Vampire Capital of the World," where they're to live with her eccentric father (Barnard Hughes). Lucy's eldest son, Michael (Jason Patric), quickly falls under the spell of the coastal town, and, more specifically, an intoxicating boardwalk beauty named Star (Jami Gertz). Unfortunately, Star seems to be the property of David (Kiefer Sutherland), the leader of a nattily outfitted motorcycle gang who also happen to be vampires. Meanwhile, Michael's younger brother, the comic-book-obsessed Sam (Haim), gradually makes friends with the delusional Frog brothers (Feldman and Jamison Newlander), who implore him to take defensive measures (e.g. garlic necklace, cross, holy water, etc.) against the town's rampant vampirism, which may have claimed his own brother. All of this transpires as the put-upon Lucy warily throws herself back on the dating market, where she draws the interest of the square, but genuine, Max (Edward Herrmann). Inventively scripted by the late Hollywood event-film wunderkind Jeffrey Boam, The Lost Boys was enjoyable first as hip, visually slick escapism. Most of these pleasures have not abated; Schumacher's normally undisciplined camerawork is rescued by cinematographer Michael Chapman's masterful, gothic lighting, which suffuses the Santa Cruz locations with a seductively sinister eroticism, while Greg Cannom's intricately detailed vampire prosthetics are still frighteningly effective. But, as with so many other '80s films, the film's hipster cred has evolved into potentially harmful retro-camp. After all, it's impossible to repress a chuckle as an adoring crowd rocks out to the bare-chested, muscle-bound, saxophone-heavy power pop of Tim Capello, or to not snort derisively at some of Haim's more egregious one-liners ("Burn rubber does not mean warp speed!"). And, in a rare soundtrack misstep, one has to question the wisdom of scoring Michael's first foray into the night with David to a rocker by former Foreigner front man Lou Gramm. ("Hey, it was the '80s" is never an excuse for Foreigner.) Still, The Lost Boys holds up better than expected. Patric's brooding performance as Michael is a fond remembrance of his early movie star promise, which is nicely offset by Sutherland's lightly laconic menace. And while they'd repeatedly desecrate cinema over the next several years with the if-only-they-were-forgettable garbage run of License to Drive, Dream a Little Dream, and the straight-to-video Blown Away, there's an undeniable chemistry between Haim and Feldman that makes vampire hunting seem like a high old time. Warner presents The Lost Boys: Special Edition in an outstanding anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with superb Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras on this two-disc special edition start on Disc One with a commentary by Schumacher. Moving over to Disc Two, there's "The Lost Boys: A Retrospective" (24 min.), a brand-new documentary that offers up some interesting, though not necessarily juicy, tidbits. Culled from the same interviews is "Inside the Vampire's Cave," which is a collection of four shorter featurettes going into a little more detail on the making of the film. "The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: The Two Coreys and Jamison Newlander" offers separate, multi-angle commentary by the three actors, while "Haimster & Feldog: The Story of the Two Coreys" (4 min.) lets both actors give a very forgiving overview of their entwined careers. Meanwhile, "Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom" (13 min.) is a nice look at a variety of the film's makeup effects. There's also "A World of Vampires" interactive map, a photo gallery, the theatrical trailer, and, infuriatingly, a video for, yes, "Lost in the Shadows" by Lou Gramm. The absence of the INXS "Good Times" video is the disc's only real glaring omission. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case.
—Clarence Beaks

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