The two-decades-later direct-to-DVD sequel to The Lost Boys is rubbish. Big surprise, eh? Actually, for all its ‘80s rep, The Lost Boys was rubbish in the first place – stuck in that peculiarly Joel Schumachery shallow glitz mode which wore thin even as the film was running and cruelly exposed by the fact that Near Dark came out on the same day in the UK. Actually, so did A Chinese Ghost Story – which makes The Lost Boys only the third best vampire movie release of that week. However, poor as it was and is, the film caught its zeitgeist moment – and there’s something horribly desperate about the way this misses the trick. Like a lot of unambitious DtDVD redos, it’s less a sequel than a stripped-down remake, hampered as much as helped by its connection with the name-brand original: it’s certainly not a pleasure to hear that horrible theme song (‘Cry Little Sister’) in a new arrangement, and casting Kiefer Sutherland’s half-brother as the lead vampire would have been a better idea if Angus Sutherland weren’t the sort of untalented prettyboy who needs to accept gigs like this to get in the business.
The Tribe are a band of extreme sports/surfing vampires led by Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland), who invade the Luna Bay beachside turf of another bloodsucker (Tom Savini in a cameo) who is supposed to be ‘a Santa Clara asshole’ and decapitate him to take over his luxury home (NB: The Lost Boys took place in Santa Clara). New in town are the newly-orphaned Emerson siblings — burned-out surfer Chris (Tad Hilgenbrink) and his younger sister Nicole (Autumn Reeser) – who are rented a hovel by an eccentric aunt (Gabrielle Rose, loosely in the Barnard Hughes role) and fall in with the Tribe. Shane tricks Nicole into drinking vampire blood and part-turning, which prompts Chris to call in surfboard shaper/vampire hunter Edgar Frog (a returning Corey Feldman) to recite most of his old dialogue (though it’s less funny coming from a grown-up). Rather than a hero being tempted by the vampire lifestyle (a theme The Lost Boys bungled by letting the Jason Patric character off too easily), this has Chris infiltrate the vampires by pretending to go along with their eternal life offer only so he can betray them. There’s no suggestion these Emersons are related to the family which featured in The Lost Boys; in a twist buried in the end credits to set up a threequel, Sam Emerson (Corey Haim), now a vampire, shows up to bandy words with former friend Edgar, whose own brother/sidekick has also turned evil (is anyone really waiting the return of Jameson Newlander?).
The Lost Boys had a mystery angle about who the ‘head vampire’ was, but it’s not an issue here – as a no-charisma band of bloodsuckers pass their time playing computer games, doing motorbike stunts in the police station parking lot (but not massacring cops – the wimps), inflicting gory wounds on each other and uploading cam-corder clips to Youtube and generally hanging out. Again, the first film set a low bar – beyond a look, Schumacher’s vampires had no characters to speak of – which this ducks below. Being a Schumacher film made in 1987, The Lost Boys is a veiled gay story with Jamie Gertz as beard – it’s all about Kiefer Sutherland seducing the part-willing Jason Patric; this sets up a similar simmer between Chris, who idolised Shane before he took up night-surfing, and there are near-vestigial plot threads about Chris’s own past (he quit the sport, apparently after injuring a rival who is now one of the vampires – a story idea that goes nowhere) that suggest Shane may have cause to want to befriend or dominate the younger man, but all this is set aside as the film tries to revolve around Reeser’s extremely boring, waste-of-time heroine. One reason The Lost Boys was a bigger box office hit than Near Dark is that it was the Twilight of its day – a teen-friendly action-horror, with pinup style and little in the way of actual gore; this splats blood across the screen as victims are bitten or vampires immolated (as before, each goes out a different way – turning to stone and exploding or puking gallons of blood, for instance) and throws in several top shelf sex scenes to pander to the market, but that makes for a mean-spirited, cynical and fundamentally unlikeable film in which even the sympathetic characters are vacuous sluts no one could possibly identify with.
Directed by P.J. Pesce, who usually comes into series with Part 3 (Sniper 3, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Hangman’s Daughter).
Lost Boys The Thirst (2010)
At the end of Lost Boys: The Tribe, Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) was confronted by his old friend Sam Emerson (Corey Haim), now turned into a vampire … clearly, the franchise-holders intended a Part Three to feature the Two Coreys at each other’s throats, but Haim’s death has scuppered that, so we have to be told Edgar staked his old friend (leaving a copy of Batman # 14 on his grave in a creepy tribute to a lost Corey scene) and what would have been the plot is reworked so the friend-turned-vamp is Edgar’s brother Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander, reprising his role – though his line about Eddie Munster is now about Granpa Munster). It’s not good, but I doubt it would have been any better with Haim and actually the ‘return of the Frog Brothers’ business plays better than the Coreys reunion might have.
It opens in Washington, ‘the other murder capital of the US’, with bloodsucking in the Senate and Alan getting turned … then picks up five years later with vampire-hunter Edgar selling off his comics for cash. Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix), who writes romantic vampire novels, hires Edgar to rescue her little brother Peter (Felix Mosse) from DJ X (Seb Castang), a vampire DJ who has been turning kids en masse at a series of raves around the world (as in the Hammer quickie Beyond the Rave) and is coming to town for a big vampire ceremony. Edgar’s ally is Zoe (Casey B. Dolan), a geek chick who works in the comic book shop and has her own reasons for not liking vampires (spoiler: she’s a werewolf, though this only comes up in the coda), and Alan is still on board even though he’s sporting fangs and stubble. One positive advance over the last sequel is that this doesn’t rehash the plot of The Lost Boys – it’s actually about an inter-vampire feud, since the Alpha Vampire turns out to be (spoiler again) little Peter, who disagrees with the ambitious X (‘you can’t turn all the cattle into cowboys or there’ll be too many cowboys’) and wants to hire Edgar as his personal slayer – though since he bites out the throat of his devoted human disciple Gwen rather than turn her, he doesn’t seem that likely to be a decent employer. After a fight, the Alpha Vamp is killed which – by the rules of The Lost Boys – means all the vampires in the world turn human again, including Alan (this means that not only do his Count Yorga-look fangs go away but suddenly he doesn’t have that hard-guy stubble any more).
Director Dario Piana (The Deaths of Ian Stone) stages a few okay vampire stunts (the girl who jumps out of a jet-plane, in heels, and lands perfectly; a three-way pole-fight) and the script by Hans Rodionoff (Man-Thing) and Evan Charnoff at least pays attention to what’s going on his vampire literature, with Gwen parodying Charlaine Harris (she has a huge emo-goth readership but everyone else hates her books) and Peter talking about the novel I Am Legend and sneering that Edgar should read more books without pictures. Shot in South Africa, this has a British and South African supporting cast and scuppers itself with several truly terrible performances – bogus big bad Castang is an uncharismatic void in a role which calls for magnetic villainy (though Kiefer Sutherland got away with just a mullet and a snarl), and Phoenix and Mosse are so poor (their line-readings are among the worst I’ve ever heard in a professionally-made film) that their promising characters just take up space (Phoenix looks hot in a Lara Croft outfit though) until they are killed off out of our misery. Dolan, however, is quite charming. A fan-pleasing scene tells us what’s going on with all the other folks from The Lost Boys – prompting us to wonder who’s alive but has a career in such poor shape that they could join Feldman and Newlander in a fourth film. Jami Gertz? Jason Patric? Chance Michael Corbitt? That ‘Cry Little Sister’ theme gets another airing.