Although he's come under fire several times in his career, director Joel Schumacher's "The Lost Boys" does still hold a great deal of cult appeal. The 1987 picture is a slickly shot horror/comedy, starring Jason Patric as Michael, a new kid in a California town, accompanied by his mother (Dianne Wiest) and younger brother (Corey Haim). His mother meets a new guy (Edward Herrmann) and Michael meets what appears to be a nice woman (Jamie Gertz).
However, Michael soon finds himself with the wrong crowd, realizing that he's stumbled onto the town's little secret: a rather nasty problem with vampires. After unknowingly befriending their leader (Keifer Sutherland), Michael slowly finds himself turning into a bloodsucker himself, with only his little brother aware of how to go about saving him. Accompanied by two comic-reading brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), they go about offing the head of the vamps and turning Michael back into his old self.
The picture is very silly at times, relying on rather old-fashioned scenes of zipping the camera into people's faces and dragging them off-screen during the vampire attacks. "Boys" does have a slick appearance, thanks to flashy scope cinematography by Michael Chapman. However, while the picture does look great, it needs quite achieves the dimly-lit creeps that this kind of film needs to be more effective.
The cast is generally good, with some performances better than others. Jason Patric offers a compelling, rather Val Kilmer-esque performance as Michael. Sutherland is also very good and enjoyably menacing as the vampire leader. Gertz does manage some decent moments in a rather limited role, as do other supporting players, such as Alex Winter ("Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"). On a down note, the Coreys (Haim and Feldman) are rather irritating, and Diane Wiest, despite being fantastic actress, seems sort of out-of-place here.
Overall, "Lost Boys" remains decent fun, if nothing to get too worked-up over. I can see why it continues to be cult fare, and while it does seem a little dated at this point, it does have some things going for it, such as a couple of the lead performances.
VIDEO: "The Lost Boys" is presented here in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen on a dual-layered disc. The majority of the supplemental features are on the second disc, allowing the film to have the maximum breathing room. Although I didn't see the original DVD release, I'd be willing to bet that this largely very good presentation is an improvement. Sharpness and detail are often terrific, with the picture maintaining a very pleasing level of definition throughout the majority. A few wide shots here-and-there appeared slightly softer than the remainder, but otherwise, the film remained crisp and clear.
Some limited compression artifacts do appear at times, mainly in some of the more low-light sequences. Edge enhancement, however, is not noticed - aside from a brief trace or two. The print seemed to be in superb condition - a little bit of grain is occasionally visible and a speck or two appeared once or twice, but otherwise, the film looked very clean.
SOUND: "The Lost Boys" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The repurposing of the audio is generally successful, if nothing particularly remarkable. Surrounds aren't used a whole lot, with the rear speakers mainly coming in during some scenes late in the game. Otherwise, the audio remains very pleasant, coming from the front speakers. The score remains crisp and clear, while dialogue seemed well-recorded.
EXTRAS: Director Joel Schumacher provides an audio commentary. Relaxed and rather funny at times, Schumacher offers a fine discussion of what he tried to portray in his take on vampires, working with the young actors and his take on the development and production process for the film. A good mixture of informal chat about what happened on-set and some more technical details.
The second disc starts off with a Retrospective featurette that runs just under 24 minutes. The piece includes interview footage with Joel Schumacher, producer Richard Donner and members of the cast, including Kiefer Sutherland. Schumacher does most of the talking, chatting about the process of trying to cast the various roles in the film and how the project started off as a much different take on the story. Later in the documentary, we hear more about costume design, production design and locations.
A second, multi-part documentary does go into further detail about the production, but of the most interest will likely be the last part, where the cast/crew discuss what potential there is for a sequel. We also get a documentary on the make-up effects, a follow-up interview with the Coreys (and also multi-angle commentary w/the Coreys and Jamison Newlander for about 18 minutes of footage), 15 minutes of deleted footage, a photo gallery, the film's theatrical trailer and a Lou Gramm music video.
Final Thoughts: "Lost Boys" is a fairly entertaining take on the vampire film, with fine performances from the leads. Fans of the cult horror film will delight in this new DVD, which offers a lot of supplemental material and fine audio/video quality for the film itself. Recommended for fans.
The Film ** 1/2