Special Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Corey Feldman, Jami Gertz, Corey Haim, Edward Herrmann, Barnard Hughes, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest
Director: Joel Schumacher
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: August 10, 2004

“Now you know who we are, now you know who you are. You’ll never grow old, Michael, and you’ll never die…but you must feed!”

Film ***

When one is to think of a quintessential vampire flick from the 80s, the one title that is likely to pop up instantly, if not say Near Dark, is The Lost Boys. The two movies happened to be released in the exact same year, and both have gone on to experience a unique afterlife (no pun intended) years after their initial release. This is one of those all time fun flicks that can be expected to be passed down from generation to generation.

When I first saw the movie, I was really really young, and it had something of an effect on me. The effect was that it frightened me quite a bit. I also remember laughing quite a bit. Later in life, I would come to realize that The Lost Boys was, and is, a true B movie classic, and a fantastic looking one at that. If one is to ever take it too seriously, he or she has missed the point of the flick right then and there.

If anything, the movie should be given credit for featuring one of the more over-the-top plot scenarios of all time, even for the period it was made in. It centers in on the Emerson family, who consist of single mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and her two teenage sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim). The family is moving back to the town where Lucy's father resides.   And where is it they are moving to? Why it's none other that Santa Carla, California, aka "The Mass Murder Capital of the World!"

Despite the town's distinct labeling, Santa Carla does have something of an appeal, especially to those in search of the wildest night party on Earth. After being shacked up with Grandpa (Barnard Hughes), who seems to still be living in the stone age, Michael and Sam journey to the boardwalk area on their first night in town. The brothers are instantly awestruck by the outlandish never-ending party that parades the beach just about every night.

Michael is also awestruck by the sight of a mysterious, and quite beautiful local girl named Star (Jami Gertz). After pursuing her elusive trail, Michael is led to an even more mysterious biker gang, led by David (Kiefer Sutherland), a presence who is both dark and engaging. After a series of challenges, David eagerly welcomes Michael into their so-called brotherhood.

Thinking he's just made some harmless new friends, Michael is very unaware of just who or what he's just made friends with. He finds out soon enough, however, through a significant change in himself. Michael soon comes to realize that, like the gang members he's now associated with, he is a bloodsucking vampire. Needless to say, he finds himself wearing sunglasses more than often.

Upon Sam's discovery of his big brother's sudden change, he is at a lost for words. Luckily, Sam comes into contact with the Frog brothers, cleverly named Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander). They run a comic book store on the boardwalk, and also happen to know a thing or two about fighting vampires. They simply advise Sam to execute his brother, which he absolutely refuses.

It all leads to an all out showdown, as Michael attempts to ward off his newly discovered evil identity, and destroy the bloodsucking infestation that is destroying the town. Sam finds himself as something of an ally to the Frog brothers, whose supposed knowledge of vampires at the point of confrontation is quite challenged. The last half hour of the movie is pure in-your-face horror action, mixed in with frequent bits of comedy that come way out of left field, like the crucial moment involving the rule of letting a vampire into one's home.

Though the movie's plot should never be taken seriously, the technical level of The Lost Boys should definitely be taken into account. Director Schumacher, along with cinematographer Michael Chapman, has created a striking look to the film, which I think, brings something of an impact with each viewing. In addition, the special effects are quite astonishing. The make up effects used in the look of the vampires still manage to inject a jolting reaction.

Nearly 18 years after its release, The Lost Boys is, to many, one of the quintessential movies of the vampire genre. I prefer to look at it as more of a B movie classic, since it has all of the qualifying elements. One thing's for sure, though; if you're with a bunch of friends on a late Friday night and there's nothing else to do, pop in this movie and the night is complete.

Video ****

I never caught the movie's first outing on DVD, which was released way in the beginning period for the format, but I can say this; I've rarely seen an 80s flick look so incredible as this one of a kind transfer courtesy of WB. The look of the movie is something of a key here, and the anamorphic picture succeeds in making the cinematography and set pieces even more electrifying than before. Image quality is that of consistent sharpness and ultra crisp form, and the colors are simply a knockout.

Audio ****

Talk about a sound mix that'll really blow the roof off. The strong and superb 5.1 mix on this stellar release comes close to doing just that. Dialogue is terrifically clear and well delivered, the 80s rock songs included never sounded better, as well as the haunting score by Thomas Newman. And when the movie kicks into horrific action gear, most notably late in the movie, prepare to be rocked big time!

Features ****

There's no question that the legions of fans who worship this movie will get more than their money's worth with this killer two disc set.

Disc 1 includes a commentary track with Joel Schumacher.

Disc 2 has the rest, and is extremely well assorted. There's a retrospective documentary, featuring interviews with many cast and crew members. In addition, there's a feature titled "The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers", which features multiangle video commentary from Corey Feldman, Corey Haim and Jamison Newlander, an effects featurette titled "Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannom", "Inside the Vampire's Cave", which features 4 additional featurettes, The Vampire's Photo Gallery, a music video for the song "Lost in the Shadows", an interactive map, and a trailer.


Horror comedies don't get any better than The Lost Boys. With this biting Special Edition release, the movie is just as energetically entertaining as it was in the late 80s. Sink your fangs into this disc without caution, although if you find yourself eating rice, be careful.

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