1987 Movie Review: THE PRINCESS BRIDE, 1987

THE PRINCESS BRIDE,  MOVIE POSTERTHE PRINCESS BRIDE, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Andre The Giant, Billy Crystal, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn

Review by Virginia De Witt

SYNOPSIS:

A young boy is home sick from school, when his grandfather arrives and begins to read to him from a story book. The tale of Buttercup and Westley, who live in the faraway land of Florin, then unfolds. They fall in love but are separated, and Buttercup believes Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Years later, Buttercup, now betrothed to the villainous Prince Humperdinck, is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding. A mysterious man in black appears to do battle with the kidnappers and save Buttercup. Westley eventually reveals himself to Buttercup as the man in black, who has survived his encounter with the Dread Pirate Roberts, and together they set off to escape Humperdinck and his men, only to be caught and separated again. The Princess Bride, Buttercup and her true love, Westley, eventually endure many tests and trials before their ultimate and inevitable reunion.

REVIEW:

This adaptation of William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name, is as heavily indebted to the history of the movies as it is to the stories of Hans Christian Anderson, which its title and its core story are meant to evoke. William Goldman was a successful Hollywood screenwriter, e.g. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), when he wrote this children’s book and he, along with director, Rob Reiner, made it into a deeply affectionate tribute to the Saturday matinee idols of their youth, particularly to the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn. It is a swiftly paced, beautifully shot and often funny adventure fantasy, that is aided greatly by its large cast, as well as Goldman’s imaginative writing.

The story itself is the proverbial roller coaster ride which never lags and features every familiar figure from the world of fairy tales, from giants to a wicked prince; a beautiful princess in waiting to a wizened old wizard. Goldman throws in a few inventions of his own along the way – in the Fire Swamp, for instance, where Buttercup and Westley hide from their pursuers, they must battle Rodents of Unusual Size, monsters which are fun to watch and which conjure up memories of cheap horror flicks. The film is memorably shot by Adrian Biddle who successfully evokes a technicolor story book landscape. Florin is a world unto itself of gauzy meadows and moonlit waters, and which features Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher standing in for the Cliffs of Insanity where the Man In Black first does battle with the three marauders who have kidnapped Buttercup.

The key to the film’s success, however, is its cast, which Rob Reiner has directed with a sure hand. This is especially true in the comedic interludes, which dominate the film except for the love story between Westley and Buttercup. Their story is always presented in iconic fairy tale terms, as when Westley earnestly declares to Buttercup on his return from his encounter with the Dread Pirate – “Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it for awhile.” Cary Elwes as Westley, seems cast as much for his resemblance to the young Errol Flynn as for his acting ability, but he achieves the requisite romantic chemistry with Robin Wright’s Buttercup. She has a lovely natural honesty in the part that makes even the most shopworn of romantic cliches seem fresh.

Every other situation is played for laughs and Reiner is assisted by a group of wonderful comic actors. As a result, he manages to strike a winning balance between humor and romance. William Shawn as Vizzini, one of Buttercup’s inept kidnappers, is a scrappy little gnome of a bad guy, constantly in everyone’s face, arguing and complaining. Mandy Patinkin as Montoya, one of Vizzini’s partners in crime, who is seeking revenge for his father’s death, is like a figure out of comic opera, sporting a campy accent and dueling his way through the film. Chris Sarandon as the wicked Prince Humperdinck and Christopher Guest as Count Rugen, his equally repugnant co-conspirator, are perfect comic villains, always more silly than scary. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane have a wonderful cameo appearance at the climax of the film as Miracle Max and his wife, Valerie, an ancient bickering couple who live in a tree but kvetch like Borscht Belt comedians.

In the framing story, Peter Falk as the grandfather and Fred Savage as his grandson have a gently funny rapport. The intermittent return to them throughout the telling of Buttercup’s story is not intrusive as it might have been, as Reiner sets an appropriately light tone for this material. We’re never really in doubt about the outcome of the tale and therefore don’t resent a bit of meandering in its telling.

“The Princess Bride” is a re-imagining of the fairy tale, from the point of view of a writer and director saturated in the equally powerful world of classic adventure movies. Together, William Goldman and Rob Reiner, create a magical combination of fantasy, romance, comedy and action that has not dated in the least.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE,1987

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1987 Movie Review: OVERBOARD, 1987

OVERBOARD, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by Garry Marshall

Starring Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Edward Herrmann, Katherine Helmond, Roddy McDowall

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

Rich bitch Joanna hires country carpenter Dean to build a closet on her yacht. When the two don’t see eye-to-eye, Dean is left unpaid while Joanna sets sail. The following day, Joanna is fished out of the sea, after falling overboard, suffering from amnesia. Dean sees a neat way to regain the money she owes him… he tells her she’s his wife; that way Dean gets a free housekeeper and mother for his four kids.

REVIEW:

First and foremost, I am not a huge fan of chick flicks. Heck I would even go as far to say that I despise the vast majority of these films. “Bridget Jones Diary” can stay far away from me but, over the years, I have come to like the odd film which is normally targeted at this market. I didn’t even know “Notting Hill” was one of these films, and thought “While You Were Sleeping” was a classic. “Overboard” was perhaps the first film I saw which could be seen as a chick flick that I actually enjoyed, with the reasons for this being numerous and heart felt.

Joanna Stayton (Hawn) is your typical yuppie who treats those who earn less than $1 million as muck. Stuck where to put her 2,000 or so pairs of shoes on her luxury cruise liner that she owns with husband Grant (Edward Hermann) she hires a handyman called Dean Proffitt (Russell) to build her a wardrobe. However, being the nasty person she is, Joanna takes a disliking to Dean and his uncouth manners and decides to push him off the boat and, literally, into the water.

Angry at what has just happened, Dean switches on the television at a local bar the next day to learn that during the night Joanna had been found off the coast by lifeguards with no Grant in sight and her memory gone. Dean sees an opportunity to get back the money he is owed by turning up by Joanna’s bedside and pretending to be her husband and saying that Joanna is not her real name, but is in fact Annie. The authorities fall for this as does Joanna, and is taken back to Dean’s ramshackle house in the country where she is tricked into looking after him and “their” four children who are about as clean as the house itself. Will Joanna ever leave? Or will she regain her memory and return to the life she once had?

On a personal level, this was the film which first exposed me to the music of Elvis Presley as one of the best scenes of the movie uses “Can’t Help Falling In Love”. But other than that, this movie does well on two points.

First, it makes you laugh. The genuine warmth between Hawn and Russell is touching and a relationship you can believe in. The interaction between the two is moving, and is blindingly obvious to see why they have been together in real life for so long. Hawn has always been a much underrated comic actress. Her leading role in the 1980 movie “Private Benjamin” was great, and her portrayal of spoiled Joanna was genius casting. Her naïve transformation from rags to riches is very amusing indeed, and it shows what an improvement she does with the dilapidated house she is forced to inherit along with the four children who, at first, look as though they had been taken from Dickensian London.

Russell too does very well here. His shabby appearance at first makes him seem like a cruel and unkind character, but over the course of the movie that appearance is changed permanently when he discovers what a wonderful person Joanna/Annie is when you take away the pearls and diamonds. I always find Russell’s acting career to be a bit of an oddity. Is he cast in a movie simply because the women can then drool over him? Or, is he to be taken as a serious actor? Here, in the role of Dean, he seems to act in the middle of these as he does show an Adonis body shot or two but also demonstrates what a fine actor he really is.

I admit that not many heterosexual men will appreciate this movie due to its romantic inklings, but if you take this element away you have a great movie full of humour and excellent acting by all involved.

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1987 Movie Review: NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, 1987

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, 1987 MOVIEA NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, 1987
Movie Reviews

Director: Chuck Russell

Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Rubin, Laurence Fishburne

Review by Russell Hill

SYNOPSIS:

Picking up where the original Nightmare left off, Nancy has grown up and become a psychiatrist specializing in dream therapy. She meets a group of children at a local hospital facing Freddy Krueger, the same demon she once encountered in her sleep. One of them is Kristen, who has the power to draw other people into her dreams. Working with a male doctor assigned to the case, Nancy helps the kids realize their special abilities within the nightmare world. When Freddy captures one of her charges, she leads a rescue attempt into Krueger’s domain, in hopes of putting his spirit to rest once and for all.

REVIEW:

Having been a fan of the Elm Street movies since I was about seven, Part 3 is the best interpretation of Wes Craven’s vision outside of the first Freddy movie. It has both the power to terrify and shock you, with a touch of comedy used which I’m sure was intentional by its director Chuck Russell.

Kristen (Arquette) is having some bad dreams. Believing that she is going insane due to her staying up late at night, Kristen is sent to a psychiatric ward where she is overlooked by the kindly Dr Neil Gordon. It is not long after Kristen arrives that Dr Gordon is joined by an up-and-coming staff member named Nancy Thompson (Langenkamp). Having survived Freddy’s (Englund) attempts on her life in the first movie, she is as much as an expert on what to do with Krueger and his evil ways.

Not long after first arriving, Nancy notices that the other patients are suffering from the same problem which Kristen has. Will she ever be able to help her? Or will they suffer as Nancy’s friends did all those years ago?

With a great cast, this movie is a fine interpretation of how a sequel should be. Wes Craven, who did not return for the first sequel, wrote the story for this and you can see his creepy influence here. This is a movie made before CGI, and what you see happening pretty much occurred in reality and not on a computer screen. There are times when you are deeply impressed by what occurs in front of you, such as the head of Freddy trying to eat Kristen to a ventriloquist’s dummy changing into Freddy and cutting some poor soul to pieces. In all, it’s a very decent looking slasher movie.

As with all films, it is content over style and this film is that. The script throughout is solid, as are the performances. Admittedly not a huge fan of Arquette, this was her second film and shows true acting ability that previous star’s of this franchise have not shown.

As with all slasher franchises, a heroine has to emerge and in this movie that is Nancy. Someone who can defeat the lead character when all around her cannot, she returns here once more and her main objective is to destroy Freddy in both the conscious and subconscious world. Her caring nature does not become hindered at any one time, and you honestly and truly believe in her quest to rid the world of Freddy.

And what of Englund as the child killer? Marvellous and over the top as usual. Although he may be a classically trained actor who has worked in the theatre since the end of the Freddy movies I believe he relished his portrayal of the psychopath as he had the opportunity to let rip, so to speak.

I shall always watch movies like this. Yes I admit to loving the work of Bergmann, Truffaut and Eisenstein but there just seems to be something about the Elm Street movies which make them totally endearing and fantastic to watch.

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1987 Movie Review: NEAR DARK, 1987

NEAR DARK MOVIE POSTER
NEAR DARK, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton
Review by Gemma Eagle

SYNOPSIS:

A mid-western farm boy reluctantly becomes a member of the undead when a girl he meets turns out to be part of a band of southern vampires who roam the highways looking for their next meal.

REVIEW:

After re-watching Near Dark last night I couldn’t understand why very few mainstream movie go-ers have heard of the film, especially given the almost macabre excitement that tends to follow most vampire flicks, regardless of quality.

1987 saw the release of several high profile films (Robocop, Good Morning Vietnam, and Full Metal Jacket) and as a result, it was almost inevitable that Near Dark would be overlooked. Coupled with the DEG (DeLaurentiis Entertainment Group) studio going bankrupt and being unable to provide much publicity during its release, it’s understandable why the film failed at the box office, earning little more than $3,000,000.

Writer and director Kathryn Bigelow (K-19 The Widowmaker, Point Break) re-imagined the creatures, combining diverse genres such as horror, western, crime, and romance into what may be the first vampire movie that strays aware from glorifying vampires, instead returning them to their chilling origins.

Set against the eerie backdrop of perpetual twilight, the atmosphere of Near Dark is both moody and beautifully dream-like and unusually for a vampire movie, the word “vampire” is never mentioned. The stereotypical supernatural and religious undertones are almost non existent in the film focusing instead on the characters themselves. Take away the blood drinking in the movie and you’ve got a compelling and somewhat disturbing film essentially focusing the workings of the family dynamics between these rogue killers.

There is a definite James Cameron influence visible at almost every turn in the film, not just in the films cast (the film reteams 3 of Aliens’ cast members – Henriksen, Paxton and Goldstein) Bigelow however doesn’t try to hide this glaring truth instead pays tribute to Aliens in the film. At one point the protagonist, Caleb, stagger through a random town in which Aliens is showing in the local cinema. Instead of the horrible shadows of true black evenings, we get the chrome and steel scenery that fans of the Terminator creator will instantly recognize. Bigelow is excellent at creating mood and feeding atmosphere, and Near Dark is her best example of that skill. Steering away from any special effects, Near Dark certainly feels like it was made in the 80’s which works for the film rather than against it. The grainy feel of the set drops adds a somewhat dirty feel to the films already VHS quality, settling for realism over fantasy. Credit goes to The Terminator’s director of photography Adam Greenberg for creating the films beautifully haunting look.

As mentioned, what sets Near Dark apart from any other Vampire film is that of solid character development brought to life by a string of underrated actors. We realize the vampires need to practice self-preservation and instead of shying away from the brutality involved, Bigelow highlights its monstrosity culminating in the famous bar sequence. Even though, the victims themselves are not nameless patrons; Bigelow still makes sure that their true terror is shown as they are slaughtered one by one.

Lance Henriksen is genuinely terrifying in his underplayed portrayal of Jesse Hooker the age-old chief of the clan.

Wild Bill Paxton is simply magnificent as the blood-guzzling cowboy Severen and despite his obvious brutality, his southern lilt enthusiasm for all things gruesome endear him to the audience right from the get go, ensuring that he steals every scene he appears in. Throughout the film you get the impression that Paxton is constantly seeking the approval of his co-star Henriksen, both in and out of character, showing off like a desperate-to-impress teenager at every available opportunity as Lance/Jesse watches from the sidelines. Though Paxton clearly enjoys the character he is playing, he never successfully makes the character real enough that we forget he is acting.

Jenny Wright who plays Mae, Caleb’s love interest and the cause of his downfall into the vampire world, is interesting throughout the film and despite her onscreen role throughout the majority of the film there is a sense of underdevelopment in her character. Her naivety is believable if not annoying but one can’t help but feel the writing fails her at times.

The script does little to challenge many stereotypes in the film and the almost compulsory Man Child is ever present struggling to deal with the quandary of being trapped in a child’s body. The acting by Joshua John Miller who plays said child (Homer) is a let down much like his character.

The music, composed by Tangerine Dream’s Christopher Franke is somewhat overshadowed by the film itself, though its loud and atmospheric sounds compliment the story well.

Near Dark may not quite come close to masterpiece status by any means, but it is ingenious within its genre, and definitely offers a new spin on the overdone tale. It has its share of let downs but these are generally overshadowed by a solid plot and interesting character dynamics. With the remastered release available on DVD, Near Dark definitely deserves the release it didn’t get upon it’s initial debut.

In the words of Severen (Bill Paxton) – it’s finger-licking Good!

 NEAR DARK, 1987

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1987 Movie Review: MOONSTRUCK, 1987

MOONSTRUCK MOVIE POSTER
MOONSTRUCK, 1987
Classic Movie Review
Directed by Norman Jewison
Starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, John Mahoney
Review by Cheyrl Farr

SYNOPSIS:

An Italian-American widow, Loretta Castorini, settles for a loveless engagement, believing that she has bad luck nothing better will come along. She meets her future brother-in-law, Ronny Cammareri, and does her best to flee the hot passion that exists between them. But, under the “Bella Luna,” their romance cannot be denied. With love’s ups and downs, they all come together at the conclusion of a whirlwind courtship with a toast to family.

REVIEW:

Loretta Castorini is a take charge kind of woman who lives and works in the Italian-American neighborhood of Brooklyn. Brilliantly played by Cher, this character is matter-of-fact, and has little joy in her life. She is resigned to the fact that bad luck has played a major role in her life, and as a widow, she accepts the proposal of Johnny Cammareri. He is a momma’s boy, and the two seem to gravitate to one another out of a sense of duty rather than any love or passion.

Johnny gives her the unenviable task of contacting his younger, estranged brother so that he will attend the wedding. Johnny flies off to Italy to the

Loretta meets Ronny (the younger brother), and tries to impose her will on him as he recounts the reason why he never speaks to his brother…he lost his hand in a bread slicer during a conversation with Johnny. As their arguing escalates, the heat between them leads to the bedroom, and as much as the level-headed Loretta tries to end the affair, the two have a deep chemistry which won’t be denied. Ronny invites her to the opera, and she undergoes a wonderful makeover for the occasion. She covers her gray hair, buys new clothes, and seems to find the light that was snuffed out of her life when her first husband died.

When Johnny returns from Italy, where his mother has a miraculous revival from near death, he decides to call off the engagement in deference to his mother. Within moments, his brother steps in and asks for Loretta’s hand in marriage. A precious moment is when the patriarch, Loretta’s grandfather, becomes confused by the quick turn of events and sobs because he doesn’t understand what is going on. The subplots are in harmony with Loretta’s own roller coaster ride with romance. Her father is having his own affair with a gold-digger, as her mother tries to understand why men chase women. Her mother has dinner with a man, but with her feet firmly on the ground, says goodbye at her doorstep. Her aunt and uncle find a fresh breath of romance under the “Bella Luna” that shines as bright as the noonday sun and seems to guide all the lovers.

Highly recommend watching this entertaining film with all of its dry humor and commentary on life and love.

MOONSTRUCK, 1987.jpg

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1987 Movie Review: THE MONSTER SQUAD, 1987


THE MONSTER SQUAD, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by Fred Dekker
Starring: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr
Review by Sarah Evans

SYNOPSIS:

A couple of neighborhood kids set up a club dedicated to everything that has to do with monsters. However, their obsession with monsters turns into real life when Dracula and other legendary monsters return to rule the world. Together, The Monster Squad must device a plan to save humanity in battle between good versus evil.

REVIEW:

Let’s all think back to the days of our childhood, where anything from comic books to chronic nose bleeds automatically got transformed into some sort of club. This was what was evoked from my memory after watching “The Monster Squad” except with a way cool tree house and what ends up being a true purpose for their monster inspired club.

You can’t save the world with a club dedicated to processed meat sandwiches. If you have a coin club, maybe you have a better chance.

In this harmonious blend of comedy, horror and dare I say…family? You might think, “Wait, is this The Goonies?”, but trust me, it’s not. Although, “The Monster Squad” features a similar group of ratty outsider kids, their adventures are on a different path. Sean, the leader of the club and played by Andre Gower, receives a Van Helsing book that his mom found at a garage sale. At that point, everything starts going wrong. Mom and dad hate each other, that stupid Van Helsing book is in German, and suddenly there’s word of monsters creeping the streets. What do they do? Luckily, the creepy German guy down the street is able to translate the books secrets whilst easing their nerves with joy-flavoured pie. At this point they discover that the only thing protecting them from the forces of the undead are an amulet, a discount find of Van Helsing’s secret diary, and a virgin.

The film is played by a number of actors whose existence is unknown, with exception to Michael Faustino starring as one of the youngest Monster Squad members, Eugene. Also pairing with the post Married With Children star was Jason Hervey as E.J. the Bully. If you don’t remember who Jason Hervey is, just remember him as the same furrow browed meat head in The Wonder Years. Regardless of whom these actors are, or what they’re doing now, they all seamlessly come together with such afoul-mouthed twelve year old childhood innocence. Alongside Sean, the leader of the pack, and Eugene the youngster wannabe, are also other great characters that come to their aid. Patrick, his trusty neurotic sidekick is accompanied by Horace aka “Fat Kid” (Brent Chalem), who plays the lovable pudge everyone overestimates. Then there’s Rudy (Ryan Lambert), the squad bad ass who has a knack for artillery weapons and a future in nude photography. Last but not least, there’s poor little Phoebe who desperately wants to be in her brother’s club and struggles to prove that girls know just as much about monsters as boys do. The combination of nervous kids and whiney sisters leads to some pretty hilarious one-liners, not to mention an intricate plan that seems to get executed under twenty-four hours of a gigantic crisis. I guess kids really are little miracles. The best part is seeing all their nerdy qualities coming together like an intricate puzzle and then seeing that puzzle kick ass!

It’s hard to hate a story that has a bunch of outsiders having evil eat pavement but most of all; it’s hard to hate a story that has amazing monsters. We actually get to see the monsters we know and love team up for an incredible comeback, which includes Dracula (Duncan Regehr), The Gillman (Tom Woodruff Jr.), Wolf Man (Carl Thibault), The Mummy (Michael Reid Mackay) and last but not least, Frankenstein (Tom Noonan). If you were to walk into a bar one day, are these not the same characters you would want to see sitting together with a pitcher of beer laughing and Dracula saying “You guys go ahead with the appetizers, I had a truck driver on the way. He was a real juicy one.” Amazing! However, this is not the scenario in the movie but I think it’s safe to say that the most memorable monster in the movie is Frankenstein, who much like Horace, is an underestimated force with his monster friends. Instead he becomes the “cool” slang talking monster and Phoebe’s new playmate.

Although I’ve already hinted at a comparison with this film and “The Goonies”, but for some reason I also feel a connection with “Little Monsters”. Perhaps it could be that familiar event of a monster crossing over to the “good side” and helping prevail over evil. Or maybe it’s the Fred Savage/Jason Hervey connection throwing me off… I mean whatever. Both show a bunch of kids banding together to prove the impossible.

There are several things that highlight this film, so without giving any spoilers, I’ll only hint at a few. Be prepared for a Horace’s hilarious comment regarding Wolf Man’s nether regions and his shining moment in the hour of panic. Also, pay close attention to things going on in the background, especially the kitchen blackboard in Sean’s kitchen. And I beg you to watch the credits, if not out of interest for the crew involved with the film but for what sounds like a last minute soundtrack to the film. Enjoy!

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THE MONSTER SQUAD, 1987.jpg

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1987 Movie Review: THE LOST BOYS, 1987

THE LOST BOYS, MOVIE POSTERTHE LOST BOYS, 1987
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Haim, Jamie Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Hermann and Barnard Hughes
Review by Sean McDonald

SYNOPSIS:

A recent divorcee and her two sons move to a coastal town in California, where they end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires.

REVIEW:

Years before Stephanie Meyer had even an inkling of the teen vampire genre, Joel Schumacher created his own homage to classic vampire lore, setting the action in coastal California. Under the watchful eye of producer Richard Donner – who left the directing reins to focus on Lethal Weapon – the film honed in on the MTV generation and subsequently created one of the most recognised flicks of the 1980s.

From the opening credits, the film is immediately beguiling – as we soar effortlessly over the Santa Carla fairground in orchestration to the theme song, Cry Little Sister. We follow the ever reliable Dianne Wiest and her two sons as they move in with her father in Santa Carla – an area burdened with motorbike gangs and unexplained disappearances (in reference to the film’s title and J.M. Barrie’s fictional characters). One evening at a concert, the oldest son, Michael (played with aplomb by Jason Patric) falls for the endearing Jami Gertz, who hangs around with a group of ‘youthful’ vampires – led by a brash alpha-male, Kiefer Sutherland. Naturally, Michael is ‘initiated’ into the gang and wakes up the next morning, disorientated and sensitive to sunlight…

For the most part, the film concentrates on Patric (with a stylish leather jacket and ray-ban sunglasses) as he tries (and fails) to hide his involuntary transformation into a half-vampire. At the same time, his younger brother (Corey Haim) befriends a cocky pair of vampire-slaying brothers (including Corey Feldman) who offer their expertise and solutions to the problem: a stake through the heart. Refusing to do it, Haim and the brothers settle on an alternative method– identify and kill the head vampire in Santa Carla before Michael succumbs to the thirst. Uh-oh.

The young Patric and Sutherland bring appeal to their roles with the latter, quite literally, chewing on the badboy/antagonist stereotype. The two Coreys, then at the height of their success, handle their parts with swift enthusiasm whilst the Oscar-winning Wiest is criminally underused; though her seemingly minor story arc becomes an important part of the film’s denouement. Heavyweight actor, Barnard Hughes handles his short but eccentric screen time with memorable repercussions and Alex Winter (forever adorned as Bill S. Preston Esq.) shows up as one of Sutherland’s gang members.

Like the original vampire yarns, the film uses plenty of exposition to remind us of the “rules” when it comes to tackling the bloodthirsty undead. The classics such as sunlight, garlic, reflections, etc., are present and implemented to great effect without letting the film fall into satire. The union of horror and comedy also manages to work well: a scene involving Haim singing in a bubble bath while his bloodthirsty brother creeps up the stairs is executed perfectly. Though not as scary or gory as it could have been, Schumacher doesn’t shy away from amping the violence and horror when necessary – take the shocking campfire attack as an undiluted example of the excellent makeup prosthetics.

Albeit, the movie has its share of problems. Jamie Gertz struggles to transcend a manufactured romantic role and the end mano-a-mano showdown comes across as a little camp by today’s standards (unless you’ve seen 2006’s The Covenant). It is also difficult to believe that Dianne Wiest and her family seem to completely overlook the various ‘missing people’ posters that flypaper the streets of the sinister town. However, these faults are minor and like Schumacher’s previous effort, St Elmo’s Fire, the film is effortlessly nostalgic with an amazing soundtrack and eerie score by Thomas Newman (American Beauty).

At the heart of the film, there is no denying its original script and witty dialogue – “As a matter of fact, we’re almost certain that ghouls and werewolves occupy high positions at city hall.” It also offers some innovative visuals such as the dizzying aerial shots, POV camerawork and startling locations (the old hotel hangout and foggy railroad.) The film also sports an array of dreamlike sequences, from Michael’s hazy consumption of the wine and the timeless motorcycle race through the beach. And who can forget the final, if slightly predictable, twist and quotable closing line?

Though not as tongue-in-cheek as Fright Night or as serious as Near Dark, The Lost Boys pulls away as the most memorable with its clever deconstruction of the vampiric mould and adventurous storyline. It just beggars belief that Schumacher would go on to direct Batman and Robin.

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