Monday, September 17, 2012

Summer of '87: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys is overflowing with memorable images, from the splashes of smoky red light filling up the frames to its vivid depiction of an emerging punk youth. But one particular sight has stayed with me ever since I watched Joel Schumacher’s film at an entirely too-young age. It occurs during the bonfire feeding roughly halfway through the film. Until this point, violence has only been implied, which lends more potency to visible dismemberment. Amid the orgy of death and futile struggle, a single ephemeral vision: One of the vampires sinks its teeth into a man’s bald head, causing blood to splash out like champagne.
The savage penetration throughout the scene is a raw rebuke of the age-old vampire legend. It deliberately eschews the traditional scenario, which usually sees some variation of a patient, soft-spoken vampire luring his victim into complacency before calmly biting her neck without her ever realizing. Rather, this is about something else. It’s messy. Painful. Unhinged. To see it now through a retrospective lens helps to better grasp how the film’s defining sensibilities elicited such a strong response in 1987. David (Kiefer Sutherland) and his vampire clan didn’t do things the old-fashioned way. “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire,” the film’s rather perfect slogan read. They were here to bring down the old establishment and corrupt your children. And whether or not audiences consciously grasped these themes at the time, they connected with the material.

Click here to read the full post at Slant Magazine's blog The House Next Door.

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