There are some films that define the era of the ‘80s in cinema. You’ve got dramedies like The Breakfast Club (1985), aviation action in the form of Top Gun (1986), revealing the lack of safety in dream via A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and the twisting of the Peter Pan myth via Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys (1987). A film made famous for its jam-packed soundtrack, the inclusion of the Coreys, and, of course, sexy saxman, Schumacher’s The Lost Boys is now a Halloween staple, passed down from one generation to another like a rite of passage. Timed for release roughly two months after its 35th anniversary, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing The Lost Boys on 4K UHD for the first time, including previously available bonus features and high-dynamic range.
Recovering after divorce, single-mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) moves her two kids, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), to Santa Carla, California, where her father (Barnard Hughes) lives, in hopes of a fresh start. While she finds a new job working at a video store operated by the affable Max (Edward Herrmann) and Sam makes friends with the Frog Brothers, vampire enthusiasts Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander), Michael falls in with a teenage gang run by leader David (Kiefer Sutherland). It’s bad enough that David and his crew travel Santa Carla causing trouble, but Michael comes to realize that this group is far worse than the local community realizes: they are vampires, and now Michael is one of them.
It’s no secret that I’m a fraidy-cat. I have a vivid imagination and typically deal with bouts of hypnagogia (and have since I was little). I have seen some things. Because of this, the idea of watching a horror film as a kid was the furthest thing from my interest. As an adult, especially one who wants to enhance his cinematic education, I must dabble in the horror films of my youth that I wasn’t brave enough for then. Imagine my shock when I found that The Lost Boys is more likely going to jumpstart a migraine due to photosensitivity (getting old sucks; don’t recommend it) than nightmares of any kind. It’s silly, juvenile, and has only one scene that contains any kind of gore (the feeding frenzy scene), and that is series of quick cuts of prosthetic-based violence. Frankly, in the rush to get to the vampiric portions, it skips over a lot of details that would make the film stronger. For instance, why is Max somehow immune to holy water? He tells the kids that by inviting him into their home they’ve been made powerless, but is he saying that all of their weapons lose their impact or is it that by being able to come inside his strength outdoes theirs? Also, why the sex scene between fellow new vampire Star (Jami Gertz) and Michael? Sure, he has the hots for her (because hormones) and she does for him (because script), but he comes to her for help on what’s happening to him and she decides to jump him. Stacked one on top of each other (metaphorically), The Lost Boys is a pendulum swing from one genre into another at any given moment, with things happening so fast as to prevent the audience from dwelling on any particular thing for too long before they question it. Don’t mistake this series of observations for discrediting its fanbase. Lost Boys is a fun film that’s so focused on having a good time, the audience tends to forget about all the rest of the issues. Plus, at the time of its release, it likely felt like it was scratching a particular itch for adolescent adventure that may be rated-R but falls more into the House II: The Second Story (1987) brand of horror and less Hellraiser (1987). Nothing wrong with that!
As far as the restoration itself, there’s no indication of who conducted the restoration work itself, from what, and who (if anyone) supervised or approved it. Impressively, the video is cleaner than one might expect from an ‘80s film. There’s minimal grain, little of the soft lens common from the period, and wonderful color balance. What might be the most impressive thing about Lost Boys is how well the make-up and prosthetics hold-up with the improved picture. In my restoration review for Batman (1989), I noted how you could more clearly see the lines denoting the facial prosthetics on Jack Nicholson’s Joker. None of that is present here, so well is the blending between actor and application. It’s really a credit to the work that even with the improvements to the video presentation the seams remain invisible. There’s no new audio track available on the 4K UHD disc. However, the DTS-HD MA English 5.1 comes through crisp and clear, just as one would hope.
Like the audio, there’s nothing new included related to the bonus features either. Comprised entirely of legacy features, the 4K UHD disc has a feature-length commentary track by Schumacher while the Blu-ray as the commentary, eight featurettes, deleted scenes, and Lou Gramm’s “Lost in the Shadows” music video. As it’s not marketed as an anniversary piece, just as a video upgrade, I’m not altogether surprised that there’s nothing new included, but it would be nice for long-time fans who want more than improved picture to make the leap to the new format.
After years of hearing friends and colleagues discuss The Lost Boys, especially references to sexy sax man, and extoll its virtues, it feels good to cross this one off the List of Shame. It’s by far not the horror show my adolescent-self believed it to be, leaning perhaps too much into the comedy than it should. Heck, outside of the feeding frenzy, I’d be hard-pressed to find the film even slightly disquieting. In my research for this review, I discovered that Richard Donner, producer on this film, was originally supposed to direct the project as a vampiric Goonies (his prior film), but stepped down. Viewed through that lens, Lost Boys feeling at times aimed at kids and a little dull-toothed makes sense. It’s still a good time and one that’ll continue to fit well into the spooky season viewing rotation with this new format.
The Lost Boys Legacy Special Features:
4K UHD Disc
- Commentary by Joel Schumacher
- Commentary by Joel Schumacher
- “The Lost Boys: A Retrospective” (24:00)
- “Inside the Vampire’s Cave: A Director’s Vision” (6:58)
- “Inside the Vampire’s Cave: Comedy vs. Horror” (4:44)
- “Inside the Vampire’s Cave: Fresh Blood-A New Look at Vampires” (4:23)
- “Inside the Vampire’s Cave: The Lost Boys Sequel?” (2:25)
- “Vamping Out: The Undead Creations of Greg Cannon” (14:02)
- “The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: Haimster & Feldog-The Story of the 2 Coreys” (4:30)
- “The Return of Sam and the Frog Brothers: Multi-Angle Video Commentary by Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander” (18:23)
- The Lost Scenes (15:16)
- Lou Gramm “Lost in the Shadows” Music Video (4:35)
- Trailer (1:26)
Available on 4K UHD Blu-ray and digital September 20th, 2022.
For more information, head to Warner Bros. Pictures’s The Lost Boys webpage.