Monday, November 4, 2013

Movie Analysis (but not really): Lost Boys

I've been watching a bunch of vampire films lately, for a project that Sarah's doing for work. We watched the Korean melodrama Thirst, the cowboy vampire film Near Dark, and this, the height of Joel Schumacher's oeuvre.

I don't remember the last time I saw this film, but I remember liking it; and watching it this time around, I found a lot to enjoy:

  • the theme of teenagers as monsters--that then gets subverted in the third act with the pillar of the community being the head vampire; 
  • the fearless vampire killers getting their vampire lore from new comic books, not dusty old tomes in libraries (another example of youth culture being positive.

But most all, Lost Boys does a great job with its weird, slightly off-kilter settings:

There's the whole town of Santa Carla, which is a sun-drenched sea-side California small town with a strong hippie and punk rock vibes. But instead of a paradise of fun--even with its all-time carnival and video store and comic book store--the whole place is curdled. And this notion is gotten across quickly, mostly through images of the town played under the credits.

Then there's the individual locations, like grandpa's house, which is this big, rustic house full of dead things and dangerous objects. That is, if you had a condo with an axe, it might look out of place. But in grandpa's place, we could find just about anything. This can be used for plot convenience, for scares, or--as in the case of the constantly appearing pieces of taxidermy--for laughs.

The sea-side carnival isn't very original, but the vampires' den is a nice touch: it's a luxury resort that has fallen into a crack in the earth during a big earthquake. So the teen vampires are living it up in a place that was for adults only, which nicely ties in with the theme--look out, teenagers are overturning all of our values and the world we built!--and also gives them a fun new place to run around in, full of gothic touches: fountain, fallen chandeliers, ruins. We're not in some Transylvanian castle, but this is as close as California gets.

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