Lost Boys is an odd ‘80s blend. It’s in the vein of other horror/comedies from the era (Gremlins, Monster Squad), only with a darker, more adult edge. Whether or not that actually works to create anything more than an average vampire is movie is debatable.
Complete with a large, now recognizable, cast, Lost Boys takes the small town creature feature and tries to do more with it. The problem here that it tries to do too much. There are far too many characters, wild shifts in tone, and a lacking in the film’s own vampire lore. The movie’s identity comes from the characters, and that’s fine. However, it’s obvious another 20 minutes or so is required to fully flesh out who the vampires are and why they chose Santa Clara as their base of operations (of all places). There’s also a small child vampire who has no reason to be there, nor is the audience given any explanation as to why the female love interest so intent on protecting him.
In Lost Boys, we’re given the typical “kids save the day plot,” all while mom doesn’t believe a word of it. We’re given the usual array of vampire elimination techniques, and they’re executed in grand style during the finale (“Death by stereo”). Any originality is in the direction by Joel Schumacher, especially a feeding session by the vampires late in the film. None of this gels though, and it’s as if you’re watching two different movies side-by-side, or two scripts mashed together to save money.
The constant shifts in tone are jarring and confusing. The final battle inside the house constantly baffles, characters disappear for extended periods with no explanation, and the character deaths are all supposed to be funny or serious (a more homogenous tone would help). The R-rated aspects almost feel tacked on and unnecessary (this coming from a gore fanatic). It’s worse when you’re dealing with child actors who are having a blast playing these characters for laughs, and Jason Patric is forced to play it straight right alongside them. It’s too jarring to be truly successful.
A few twists in the story are obvious and not particularly shocking. The laughs are there and are at times hilariously funny. The horror elements are fair with some unique visuals, but Lost Boys is too disjointed for its own good. The film has its fans for a reason, and that’s probably nostalgia.
While all of the ‘80s hair and fashions ruin the fun, this transfer makes the film look new. It’s not perfect though, as it has a few small instances of edge enhancement, artifacting problems, and inconsistent (and off-color) black levels. Still, the strong colors, faint details, and overall sharpness are great points that make this easy on the eyes. It’s sharp too, certainly above many discs recently released from the same era.
The audio isn’t strong enough to please a die-hard audiophile, but there is some decent work here. Bass is flat if not completely absent. The surrounds are the impressive part, especially a beach motorcycle chase with multiple bikes screaming through the sound field. Likewise, when the vampires take to the air, the surrounds effectively convey their movement. Non-action scenes are dry, although given the age and original sound mix, that’s expected.
Extras are pulled from the DVD special edition, and all features remain in SD. A solo commentary by Schumacher starts things off, followed off by a fine retrospective that runs 24 minutes. Inside the Vampire’s Cave is a collection of four featurettes that run 18 minutes total. Vamping Out covers the make-up effects for 14 minutes, and Haimster and Feldog is a waste of a feature with two of the young stars discussing their roles.
Fifteen minutes of deleted scenes are followed up by a music video and an interactive map that showcases many vampire legends from around the world. There’s also an odd, barely there picture-in-picture commentary that lets you pick from one of the three child stars and swap between their thoughts on certain scenes. Skip it.