A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Lost Boys is a 1987 horror movie mixed with some campy comedy about vampires wreaking havoc on a California beach town. There are some gory and bloody deaths, with stakes through hearts, electrocutions, and skin melting from holy water and garlic, with blood spraying, spurting, and even gushing through the plumbing. There are also two dog attacks, one in which a woman narrowly avoids getting bitten, and a teen sustains injuries to his hand. There are moments of peril, including one in which a teen succumbs to peer pressure and hangs from a rod underneath a bridge as a train rolls overhead, causing him to lose his grip and fall into the foggy unknown. There's one gross-out scene in which a character about to eat Chinese food hallucinates maggots instead of fried rice and worms instead of noodles. Teens smoke cigarettes and drink beer. Profanity includes "s--t" and "a--hole." Essentially, this is a very 1980s take on vampires, with lots of punky haircuts, goth music, and "the Coreys" (Corey Haim and Corey Feldman) providing most of the comic relief through absurd dialogue at just the right moments to temper the horror.
What's the story?
In THE LOST BOYS, the Emerson family has just moved to Santa Carla, self-titled murder capital of the world, and already oldest son Michael (Jason Patric) has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Out one night, he meets Star (Jami Gertz), whom he follows and who introduces him to David (Kiefer Sutherland). David is the leader of a gang of vampires, and, after hanging out, Michael unwittingly joins their clan. Meanwhile, David's brother, Sam (Corey Haim), befriends the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), a pair of young vampire hunters. When David finds out what's going on, he and the young kids embark on a mission to destroy the head vampire and return their lives to normal. Dianne Wiest also stars as Michael and Sam's mother.
Is it any good?
The Lost Boys is a fun film to watch and is certainly one of the better vampire films to come out in the 1980s. Although he might not have been trying to, Kiefer vamps it up well and is enjoyable to watch. The film works a lot better as camp than as a serious vampire film; however, parents should be warned that there are some scary moments, and younger or more sensitive kids may be frightened.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about peer pressure. Why did Michael go along with the pack? Even though he later regrets it, what could he have done (if anything) to keep himself from falling into their trap?
How can you tell this movie is a product of the '80s? How would the movie be different had it been set in the 1950s or the 2010s?
How is violence and peril conveyed in The Lost Boys? Did it seem necessary for the story, or did it seem gratuitous?
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