Written by: Tom Sanford V, CC2K Contributor
The original Lost Boys is the epitome of popcorn cinema. It’s action-packed, it’s funny and it boasts a pitch-perfect cast. For my generation (and hopefully the next), it’s also one of the first late-night horror experiences that kids could use to fool parental censorship radars. What parent wouldn’t approve of a movie with Jason Patric, Keifer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, Corey Haim and Diane Wiest? It’s a Trojan Horse of cheesy yet believably entertaining horror shocks and laughs. Unfortunately, it was also directed by Joel Schumacher of Batman and Robin infamy, and his name alone drives away many potential fans – and that’s a shame, because Schumacher also helmed classics like The Incredible Shrinking Woman and Falling Down. Schumacher has some good movies in him, and The Lost Boys is one of them. Skipping it can be considered a tragic mistake.
That brings us to the script for its much belated sequel.
While it takes time to get used to the cheese of this vampire name brand in a modern cinematic world of far too serious, epic summer blockbusters (unless you’re one of the aforementioned children), once the hump is jumped, there’s much fun to be had. I was lucky enough to attend a theatrical screening of the first film having been too young to see it on its’ original release, and it was the most fun I’d had at a theater in a long time. A pile of skeptic friends were also converted into temporary fans, although they may refuse to admit it. The sooner one accepts the ridiculousness of the situation and the sampling of then-current eighties pop culture, the sooner they will realize the film goes beyond that and takes everything epic and exciting about a blockbuster and melds it into a loose, acceptably bizarre trip.
So, what does this all mean? With a quiet, enthusiastic flair, for the past year and a half, word of a sequel to the film has slowly but surely grown into a reality, with a DVD release date set for July 29th. With Corey Feldman, Jamison Newlander, and Corey Haim, all the most beloved characters making a return, it should be a given to anticipate a continuation of the harmless fun of the original with Lost Boys: The Tribe being released. Each screenshot, trailer, and interview with Feldman has simply made me froth at the mouth more, anticipating this film almost as much as The Dark Knight. In my impatience, I managed to get my grubby paws on a copy of a script written in the early nineties as a direct sequel to the original film. Titled simply Lost Boys II and sometimes referred to amongst the fan grapevine as “The Lost Girls,” the script was written by Jeffrey Boam, screenwriter of the original, and was intended to be directed by Schumacher. Certain careers took a turn for the worse while directors moved on among other things, and the film’s development fell from grace and never came to fruition. Despite the positive that we are getting a sequel after all this time, it is unfortunate that this script didn’t come around.
Taking place not long after the original film, Sam Emerson is in summer school. With his brother and mother away for the time being, he is left to live with his Grandpa and deal with his eccentric activities and attitudes. Boring to a teenager, of course, but before he knows it, he is enthralled with a gorgeous new girl in class named Vanessa. Enter the Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan, interrupting class and asking Sam for help. They sense big things on the horizon, and they are right, as always. From here, we’re introduced to Vanessa’s younger sister, Sarah, who has a massive crush on Sam despite his constant neglect, and they are all thrust together into a massive vampiric adventure. Hi-jinks and adventure ensues as they crash posh parties built on the Frog’s skepticism of…well, everyone.
While many of the jokes and sight gags from the first film are simply rehashed here, they feel fun and fresh. Sarah and Vanessa’s parents play minor roles, as do the elitists of Santa Carla (including the mayor, Al Card. Get it? Get it?!) The eccentricity of these folks, while faceless simply because they have no actors or actresses attached to them, never quite reach the level of believability that the absent Dianne Wiest’s did. This is certainly because it’s in script form, but it seems less realistic. A strange statement to make in regard to such a movie, but the relatability isn’t as easy with most of the supporting characters. The crew of vampire cronies (which we can also group the new, blank character of Vanessa into) are without personality as well, although they host a few nice one-liners.
Speaking of vampires, Kiefer Sutherland’s David makes a return. Why I mention it only briefly is because it is more of a cameo than what it was in the original. While he is naturally the head vampire, he only does things like enter a room and leave. This works in favor of the silly logistics of his return, and since he barely talks other than to be a one dimensional, angry creature of the night, it’s acceptable. As far as the other returning characters go, the roles were definitely written with Feldman, Haim, and Newlander in mind. They speak as expected, and it works best of all. Part of the reason underrated sequels like Ghostbusters II work is because the characters look, feel, and speak exactly the same, and everything is natural. This, of course, has to do with the actors, and the big three of this franchise could have fit right in with what was written for them. Without spoiling too much just incase something made its’ way into the upcoming sequel (because some of this has made its’ way into the Reign of Frogs comic series), a new high five chant and a meeting with a local priest are just a couple comedic highlights in a script rich with franchise specific jokes spread out between its’ stars.
Based on this script, the sequel would have been business as usual, beginning, ending, and moving just as you’d expect, but the fun of Lost Boys is just that. Somehow, surviving amongst a small California town full of vampires is the norm, and the main cast is just developing in another event to become more accepting of this, or, more like Sam’s Grandpa. The chemistry bleeds from the scripts pages, and not only is it an easy read, it’s actually entertaining. The “popcorn” aspects would have remained front and center, and the snowballing ridiculousness of it all remains amongst the tone. It would have been a true sequel to the original film. This does not denote from what we will receive come July 29th, however. This film would have been entertaining, exciting, and fast paced.
The strange thing, but not necessarily a bad thing, is that The Tribe seems to be more serious than this script when speculated upon by its’ trailer. We have had very little exposure to what it will entail, with only a couple of almost identical trailers and a brief plot synopsis. It looks as if the split Frog brothers and the absent-for-now Sam Emerson are a portrayal of the harsh reality of growing up in a land of accepted vampires. Exciting as that is, it hasn’t given as much indication of humor as one would expect. This script would have simply added to that adolescent period that the Frog’s were well along in and that Sam was beginning to enter in the first film. They are strong enough characters with strong enough actors behind them to carry their own movie.
It’s unfortunate that this script was never developed, because it absolutely and successfully would have portrayed the strengths of the Lost Boys characters. In a perfect world, The Tribe would have followed this film many years later, a sort of reinvention of the franchise. It isn’t a complete bummer that the film was never made with that film coming up, but it’s a shame with what this film could have been. A forgotten script that slipped under the radar is rarely this good. In the meantime, it looks like “the stakes” for the quality of straight to DVD films have been raised, and I will be picking the new film up in hopes of a fun revisit to characters who were unfortunately left behind in the early 90’s.
The official site for The Lost Boys: The Tribe is over at Warner Bros.