Saturday, March 4, 2017

Superhero Media: The Lost Boys

I fucking love this film. Yes, it's almost pure 1980s camp and glam from start to finish, but it also never aspires to be anything grander than campy vampire fun. In fact, it's pretty damn arguable that The Lost Boys is the best example of campy vampire fun to have ever hit the big screen (Fright Night being the main rival to this title in my mind). Little meta-film elements like the career trajectory of Kiefer Sutherland or the life of self-parody that Corey Feldman has fallen into have tarnished The Lost Boys somewhat in a broader popular culture sense, but, to my mind, nothing can truly diminish the visceral thrills of a vampire being pushed into a bathtub of holy water by a dog or the impact of the final line of the film. Its big, loud, gaudy, more than a little camp and a hell of a lot of fun, what more could you want? One reason I love The Lost Boys is that it usurps the Romantic/Byronic Vampire trope, in a way which few films have done, and certainly few films as good as this one. 

You know what else is awesome about The Lost Boys? The soundtrack. Flexing my music nerd credentials, hearing music from Echo & The Bunnymen, Roger Daltry, Lou Gramm and INXS is pretty freaking awesome, as well as a wonderfully counter-cultural scene in which David and his vampire cronies ambush and tear apart a group of bikers blasting Areosmith. Take that Hair Metal. :D My god this is clever when it wants to be. The scene where Sam criticizes the Frog Brother's organisation of Superman comics to gain acceptance is a loving wink to geek culture and the absurdity of the film's own premise. It's glossy, it looks good, Joel Schumacher is a brilliant visual director and it shows when he gets to do the film the way he wants; yes, Batman & Robin is a train wreck, but at no point does it look bad, every detail is superbly realised. Now take that passion for visual direction and apply it to a fun horror romp filled with iconic actors and a subversive soundtrack. What's not to love? 

I know that more than a few of my readers have kids; get them onto The Lost Boys. It is an underappreciated classic that people never seem to remember fondly. Is there fertile ground for supers gaming to be had? Hell yes! In the climax, Michael embraces his burgeoning Vampire powers for the first time to battle David, knowing that he and Star may not survive when their curse is removed. Those are some decent stakes to break out your new superpowers on, much better than I've seen done in more than a few comics and a couple of Supers con-games I've had the misfortune of playing. If I ever get around to finishing that Modern Horror skirmish game I'm working on, you can bet "Not-" versions of Michael, Daniel and the Frog Brothers will feature somewhere. 

"Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You'll never grow old, Michael, and you'll never die. But you must feed!" 

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