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THE LOST BOYS (1987)

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Starring Keifer Sutherland and Jason Patric

Before he was directing crap like "Batman & Robin," Joel Schumacher was making kick-ass movies like "The Lost Boys," a  vampire film released the same year as "Near Dark." This film is similar in many respects, although it adds elements of "E.T." into the mix. In "The Lost Boys," only children really believe vampires exist, so they are the only ones left to fight them.

The movie was shot in Santa Cruz, Calif.. The bohemian town doubles for the fictional beach community of Santa Carla, a town where children frequently turn up missing. A single parent family has just arrived in town. Dianne Wiest plays the Mom, with Patric as the older son who starts hanging out with the wrong crowd: a group of so-called "lost boys" who are really just vampires led by a charismatic bloodsucker (Sutherland). Egged on by a beautiful "lost girl," he tries to fit in. Sutherland initiates him into their order by feeding him blood from a wine bottle. But Patric must first kill someone before he becomes a full-fledged child of the night.

The heroes of the film turn out to be the Frog Brothers (one of whom is played by a young Corey Feldman, fresh off his first role in "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter"). The Frogs run a comic book store and base their vampire-hunting knowledge on what they've read in comic books. They team up with Patric's younger brother to take out the vampire cult.  Like many of the vampire films that would follow it, "The Lost Boys" is an analogy for drug addiction. A single-parent home makes children easy prey for the disease. Once it settles in, the mother finds it impossible to communicate with her son. What remains of the family unit has to fight off the evil.

"The Lost Boys" was just another example of how excellent the 1980s were, and it helped continue the resurrection of the vampire sub-genre that began with 1985's "Fright Night." The result is a dynamite, suspenseful, well-produced movie that helped redefine the vampire genre. It even made the cover of Fangoria! This was the first movie where squirt guns filled with holy water were used to fight the undeadand it was one of the first horror movies to use lots of pop music in the score, not that that was necessarily a good thing.

A lot of careers were propelled by this hit flick, including those of director Schumacher and actors Patric, Corey Feldman, Sutherland and Wiest.

Schumacher followed it up with another slick horror film, "Flatliners."

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