Lost Boys: The Thirst
There is nothing unusual in Hollywood about a studio coming up with a sequel to a successful flick. Typically the sequel happens fairly soon after the original so as to utilize the public interest that was generated by the initial movie. Two or three years between the original and sequel are about average for the industry. Occasionally more time passes but this occurs mostly with flicks that have achieved the status of cult classic. In this scenario it takes several years longer than normal for the film to be seen by the studio as being a success. One example of this phenomenon is found in the 1987 vampire movie ‘The Lost Boys’. The initial sequel; ‘The Lost Boys: The Tribe’ which was given a direct to video release in 2008, twenty one years behind the original. Now, a mere two years later ‘Lost Boys’ hits the trilogy mark with another right to DVD release of ‘The Lost Boys: The Thirst’. The first flick has been a cult classic for awhile featuring a pair of actors that became staples of the eighties; the Cories, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. Besides then the movie sported some notable mainstream actors including Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes and Edward Herrmann. In a fashion typical of this type of movie some young actors were just starting their careers here; Jason Patric, Jami Gertz and a very young Kiefer Sutherland. The original flick was the grandfather of the angst ridden teen age vampire fad that is sweeping literature, film and television. Long before Edward flashed his fangs at Bella or Bill had a craving for True Blood the Frog Brothers were busy dispatching the undead ‘fangers’. This does exemplify a corollary to the film sequel; if a current tread proves to be extremely lucrative go through the cult classic archives to dig up something similar. With ‘Lost Boys: The Thirst’ an old school aspect of vampires overshadows much of the teen romance aspect; vampires infiltrating the seat of human power and government. After all the characters have aged nearly a quarter of a century, well at least the human characters have. While it was fun to revisit the Frog boys again this flick does manifest the curse of the sequel and has reached the point of diminishing returns in regard to quality versus camp value.
The direction was handled by Dario Piana who previously had a couple of Italian thrillers to his name. It had to be a formidable challenge for such a relatively new director to take on a franchise initiated by a film maker with the credits and talent of Joel Schumacher. The use of the original characters has been diluted to the point that although Piana makes what appears to be an honest effort he was unable to re-capture the enthusiasm and guilty pleasure enjoyment that Schumacher provided. Compounding this to a degree is the writing from a pair of script writers also near the start of their careers. Evan Charnov has a prior made for TV flick and his co-author Hans Rodionoff worked on the screenplays for a number of low budget thrillers including the first sequel in this series, ‘The Lost Boys: The Tribe’. At least that afforded him some familiarity with the characters and experience in telling a portion of the franchise’s story. The overall feel presented here is the film has some reasonably well conceived themes and presents a few interesting variations on the standard tropes of the vampire genre. The main trouble is in the execution. The movie has the feel of a self parody with the perchance for taking itself a bit too seriously. The general cadence of the flick is disjointed almost amateurish in staging. While the film is a shadow of the original it can offer a fun afternoon accompanying a few friends, a pizza and a couple of six packs. Like most guilty pleasures you have to go more by how many laughs, intentional or unintentional it can muster not on technical proficiency.
After a title sequence that looks like an interpretation of a Dexter crime scene by Jackson Pollock the action moves into a vampire raid by the Frog Brothers that leaves Allan (Jamison Newlander) bitten and Edgar (Corey Feldman) bitter and despondent. One aspect of vampire hunting that is rarely covered is the vocation does pay well at all. Bill collectors are reposing everything he owns including his broken down trailer. Desperate to raise quick cash he tries to sell his beloved comic book with the exception of the rarest. That issue has sentimental value going back to when he first met his best friend Sam Emerson (Corey Haim). It seems hopeless until Edgar is approached by Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix) who wants him to rescue her brother who fell in to a nest of vampires. She is famous as an authoress with a series of best selling teen vampire novels the first of which is about to become a big budget movie. It turns out that a famous club icon, DJ-X (Seb Castang) who is actually a vampire on a deadly mission; they are using raves to distribute a new drug called ‘The Thirst’ which is made from the blood of the Alpha vampire. The plan is to turn these club goers into an army of the undead.
The flick does have a touch of tongue in cheek humor and little inside jokes. For example Edgar refers to ‘all reality shows are staged’ when Feldman had such a series on ‘E!’ There are also a few cuts featuring scenes from the original movie in an attempt to infuse the film with some degree of continuity. While that was fun it was quickly offset by the deep grunting that stands in for Edgar’s voice. Hopefully it was just trying to project an appropriate persona for Edgar. Feldman portrays him well enough for this flick as a disenchanted, middle aged man who spent his entire life heroically killing vampires with nothing to show for it. There is a certain pathos that comes across here that does actually work. In all it is a guilty pleasure and intended to appeal only to diehard fans.