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The Lost Boys Review

Punk certainly seems to have influenced many of the costume, design and attitude choices found within The Lost Boys. Permed, greasy hair with thick black gloves and a coat oddly similar to the one I own. It seems Keifer Sutherland has infiltrated my fashion style without me noticing. Still, style is one effort The Lost Boys engages with frequently, not just with costumes, but its appearance and ability to engage with tension and horror. That is the effective nature of director Joel Schumacher, who crafts the boardwalk-stalking vampirism with an incredibly ominous skill. He utilises soundtrack and light, picking apart the beachside resort lifestyle and the tourism that comes with it. 

Case in point, Santa Clara becomes a cesspit not just for vampires, but vagrants and criminals looking to make quick cash. “Any jobs around here?” one extra asks, to which the reply is, “nothing legal”. With only a quick spark in the background, Schumacher has stated what he thinks of this location and why his leading characters, including Dianne Wiest as Lucy Emmerson, have reason to fear for their safety. A sleepy, scum-induced state in the daytime, but at night, it is a concert-heavy party town. There is no in-between, and both states are equally horrid. But the Emmerson family is forgiving, not seeing the danger, only seeing a natural rebellion. But this groups rebellion is not sincere, it is a rebellion for the sake of living free and long, rather than to achieve something. 

Sutherland embodies that well. He is the leader of this vicious, free-wheeling pack. He exudes charisma, confidence and cocky jokes. It is a burly, horrid nature and one of the typical school bully. That is where he is so effective. Somehow coaxing Michael (Jason Patric) into his gang by employing tricks upon him, nothing dangerous at first, but swapping his rice for maggots with the flicker of the light is a rather solid and effective way of showing the devious nature David (Sutherland) brings to the screen. It is caught in the extreme-close ups, how villainous Sutherland appears in these close-ups is due, in part, to the bags under his eyes, the hair that has been shot white. His charm and villainy conspire with one another, and they are both convincing yet alienating. He toes the line between horrible and charismatic, which makes him such a great antagonist. Paired with some thoughtful direction from Schumacher, it is hard not to be carried away on the wave of terror this band of vampires provides.  

Something is chilling about the lifestyle of those in California or the sunnier, beach-oriented cities across the globe. Not quite as thrilling as Seaham or Whitby, but each with their own culture and creed. Perhaps they would be more efficient if the sun shined with a greater frequency. Still, the sun is the least of the problems posed by the vampire gang parading through the pier. The Lost Boys is a fantastic pocket of the late 1980s and is also the launchpad for so many of the actors we have come to admire and love. Sutherland, Alex Winter and Jason Patric all manage to make a name for themselves here, and although they are not hitting the heights they were once at, it is remarkable to see how long they were up there. It all stemmed from this, and the horrors of Santa Cruz.  

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Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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