Directed By: Joel Schumacher
Written By: Janice Fischer, James Jeremias, and Jeffrey Boam
In this age of vampire rage it’s almost too much to even bear seeing any vampire movie again, but this is the vampire movie. This movie made vampires cool twenty years before it became the trendy thing to do. Screw all the Twilights and True Bloods, Jack Bauer was the vampire in this movie. By today’s standards this film is far and away ahead of its time. It both exploited the comic book world and made vampires cool which are both so big in our current culture. This movie gets a bit too goofy at times but it’s cool enough to compensate for all that. The music and the style of the time are captured in the film making it a portrait of the era in the late 80s. The tone of this movie is all over the place because it tried to fuse comedy and horror together but it’s a fun movie and sometimes that it all that matters when it comes to evaluating a film.
In 1987 there was every reason to believe the young cast in this movie all had bright futures ahead of them. Arguably some of them did but none really reached the potential people saw in them during the late 80s. The most successful is without a doubt Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland. That’s his actual name by the way. If I remember right his dad, Donald Sutherland, chose to name his son after six of his best friends so Kiefer’s legal name is actually that long. I am a big fan of Kiefer because he played one of the greatest characters ever, Jack Bauer. However, there was a reason Kiefer landed on a TV drama at a time when it was considered an act of desperation in a film star’s career. Kiefer has had some memorable roles over the years but his career was spinning out of control in the years preceding his part as Jack Bauer. Yet faced with adversity he took that role and made it something special. Kiefer is one of the big reasons 24 was such a success and I for one look forward to the return of the series next year. As it goes with his role here there is an interesting factoid that I was unaware of till just now. His character David doesn’t die. All of the other vampires explode or disintegrate when they are killed but he does not when impaled on the deer antlers. Apparently his character was meant to survive and play a part in a sequel that was never made. In true 80’s fashion is was to be titled The Lost Girls; go figure right? It’s too bad the sequel wasn’t picked up. Although it probably would have been a disaster anyway I would have liked to see what more they could have done with the David character. Kiefer made for a cool vampire and it would have been cool to see more of him.
It’s Jason Patric I have in mind when I think that people probably expected big things from the young cast of this movie. He must have come across as the type of young actor who had a promising future in front of him but it never happened. I don’t know why but I know his track record doesn’t do anything to impress. Unless you were really taken with Speed 2, when for some reason it’s a problem that a boat can’t slow down with the enormity of the ocean to cruise through. Jason Patric fit the part in this movie well but his character’s name is said relentlessly to the point of being annoying. There aren’t enough drugs in the world to account for the annoying amount of uncalled for laughter coming from these hipster vamps, and peppered all throughout their “lol-ing” is the name “Michael” said over and over, and over and over again. It’s not Jason Patric’s fault, but it’s an annoying part of the film I always think of when he comes up in conversation.
When I was a kid I was quite taken with Jami Gertz in the role of Star. That wild hair and hippy style really did it for me back then. I was always a bit confused about the little kid who was with her in the movie. Was he her brother or son? I never knew before but having read a bit about the movie I found out that the vampires just snatched this kid up at random to be her companion. At one point in the movie you can see his image on a milk carton as a missing child. Dianne Wiest plays the other female lead in this movie and I think she really brings the film down. I have never really seen her play more than the aloof and naive mother and I’m just not a big fan of that role. It’s a necessary role in some films and I suppose she does it as well as anybody. She plays a similar part in both Edward Scissorhands and in one of my personal favorites, The Birdcage.
I feel compelled to mention Corey Haim and Corey Feldman here but I can’t figure out why. These two had their moment in the sun around the time this movie came out and they have held onto this franchise hardheartedly as it continued long after their significance passed. Feldman is one of those great child actors that just didn’t take his success to the next level as he grew up. I know he is still out there doing things now but I’m not sure what. He has continued his role of Edgar Frog in a couple of long since sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst. I haven’t seen either one of those films but if any reader has feel free to share some thoughts on them. I know Corey Haim was supposed to be in at least one of those two but wasn’t able to after his untimely death a few years ago. Haim struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life and it went the way these things often do with him dying at the young age of 38. These two guys became a pair in the 80s but like so many things from that decade they just didn’t transition with the times. Of the two I have always liked Feldman better because the guy was just such a great character in so many films that I love. I thought his character in this movie was a bit too campy and ridiculous but I’m thinking more of The Goonies when it comes to what endears me to him as a child actor. Speaking of guys who didn’t fully make it out of the 80s I’d like to point out the vampire version of Bill S Preston Esquire is in this film. Alex Winter plays the vampire that says the least and gets staked first. I mention him specifically because I have heard talk of a third adventure for Bill and Ted coming to the big screen. I have my doubts that it will ever actually happen but during this day and age, when anything that can be perceived to have vaguely significant name recognition is made, anything is possible.
Joel Schumacher was the director that destroyed the Batman franchise. An unforgivable act and even though this movie came out long before he was put behind the camera for the third Batman film it’s something that still needs to be considered. In truth he did nothing in this film to offer any saving grace if you ask me. It’s a cool movie but the whole tone is so up and down. I think it is an odd idea to make a film that qualifies for both the horror and comedy genres. It happens more often than not but I see these two genres being counteractive to one another and think it’s just a ridiculous idea. It has to be one or the other and can’t simply be a combination of both. A film can be set in the horror genre and intended only to be funny, like the perfectly done Shaun of the Dead, but that isn’t what they did in this film. I think there are several specific scenes in this movie that show they were actually trying to be scary and I feel like the comedy wasn’t the purpose of the film, just part of it. I have never found this movie to be either funny or scary but liked it despite that. I watched it at a young age and thought it was a really cool movie. I liked the idea of a vampire being something more than a monster and more about the opportunity to be forever young and party for an eternity. This idea may have been introduced before this movie for all I know but it was the first I had seen of it. This film has survived as a cult classic and I think that is by and large due to the idea of vampires who “sleep all day, party all night.”
I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m sick of vampires. I’ve been happy to see most of this unreasonable cult phenomenon shift focus toward zombies but it is only a matter of time before that begins to get annoying too. I think plenty of people would suggest we have already reached that point and I couldn’t argue that we haven’t. While there has been a shift toward zombies lately it hasn’t really slowed down the vampires enough. There seems to still be a significant market for the livelier of the undead but I think enough is enough. I think it went way too far a long time ago. I can stomach True Blood to an extent, mainly because of Anna Paquin’s fondness for nude scenes, but I draw a line when it came to Twilight. To start with, it’s a series that comes from teen reading and that’s lame enough. I did see the first film because I was unaware of what it was when I rented it. Needless to say I thought it was beyond ridiculous. Someone answer me this, why would an eternal creature want to spend its days going through high school over and over again? High school was totally lame no matter what crowd you were in and the idea of a vampire trying to blend in there is just stupid. Not only that, but when did it become OK for vampires to go about during the day? They are creatures of the night; it’s like one of the most important principles of vampires. It was just all so stupid, but who am I to argue with what made someone a millionaire. I have plenty of other thoughts and criticisms when it comes to Tweenlight but I’ll hold back in the event of diehard fans hating on what I have said.
If you can stomach more of what has become the unbearable norm these days then take a trip back to the 80s and check out this movie. It may have an odd tone to it but I think it’s a cool take on vampires, and one that was done long before they became too overdone in our society. This is a fun movie and I think it is worth your time to see it.
This movie almost always reminds me of my step-dad. My mom didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to watch this movie but he helped talk her into it. I remember having nightmares about maggots in my food for weeks. Still, it scared the crap out of me when I was younger, and may have been one of the very first vampire movies or stories even that I was introduced to.
Are ready for another MONTAGE? This one could be really interesting if they hadn’t needed to put every single character in the movie on this poster. I think the use of a black and white posterized looking image on the stark red of the background was really great idea considering their lives are revolved around blood. I actually like the typography. I think it’s iconic, at least for me for this time period. Not an entirely missed poster, but dammit WHY must they always include everyone on the poster?
NEXT MOVIE: Love Actually (2003)