This Month In… July (1987)

Priceless sci-fi capers, maligned blockbuster sequels & a cybernetic icon with violence to burn. VHS Revival brings you all the retro movie news from July ’87.

July 2

Teen movies were ten to the penny during the 1980s, and, more specifically, teen movies set in Chicago, a city which benefited from the kind of cinematic boom that challenged the more universally recognised states of New York and California for a brief period. Much of Chicago’s unexpected surge can be attributed to the hugely popular John Hughes. Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club were all set in the Chicago suburbs, making ‘The Windy City’ the cathartic epicentre for middle-class kids toiling with MTV growing pains. 

Writer/Director Chris Columbus, who would later collaborate with Hughes on yet another Chicago-based kids movie in 1990‘s Home Alone, cut his directing teeth in the very same city. Columbus would sift through hundreds of scripts before deciding on David Simkins’ teen adventure comedy Adventures in Babysitting aka Night on the Town as his first project behind the camera, the scale of which the rookie director felt comfortable with. 

Described by Roger Ebert as “a cross between Risky Business and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, Adventures in Babysitting stars The Karate Kid‘s Elisabeth Shue as stood-up teenager Chris, whose babysitting duties are plunged into jeopardy after her best friend calls from a downtown bus station with a desperate plea for help (it’s amazing how much danger lurks within the confines of a Chicago bus station, and even more incredible that most of the usual suspects hone-in on one girl, even if she does blubber neurotically at anything or anyone who resides outside of her suburban bubble).

During their big city odyssey, Chris and her peewee companions are confronted by thugs, escape a chop shop, run into a hitman and, in the movie’s most entertaining scene, wind up on stage in a blues bar, where Chris’ innocuous statement that she’s merely a babysitter in the wrong place at the wrong time quickly becomes her very own musical lament.

Adventures in Babysitting was criticised for its heavy-handed racial stereotyping. Almost all of the crooks and city dwellers are black, representing the danger that awaits white, middle-class kids on the other side of the tracks. This makes for a somewhat uneven film which treads a precarious line between fantasy and realism that rarely engages on a human level, though the movie does have its moments, the majority of which motivated by Shue’s spirited performance.

A reworked ad campaign contributed to a healthy box office return for Columbus’ directorial debut, Adventures in Babysitting managing a domestic gross of $34,400,000 ― a godsend for Shue after her debut headliner film Link bombed a year earlier due to conflicting studio expectations. The film was later adapted as a TV show for CBS, though a severe lack of interest meant that the pilot remained unsold.

Riding infinitely higher in the comedy adventure stakes in July was Joe Dante’s Spielbergian sci-fi romp Innerspace. Beginning as a Fantastic Voyage derivative penned by Chip Proser, the script was later optioned by Rain Man producer and Warner Brothers executive Peter Gruber, who was initially turned down by Dante in the same year that the director released the widely successful and hugely controversial Christmas movie Gremlins, a film that would contribute to the founding if the PG-13 certificate in the US, though a rewrite from The Dead Zone‘s Jeffrey Boam, who had just finished a series of uncredited rewrites for Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon, was enough to change Dante’s mind.

As Dante would explain in an interview with cinemaretro. “When I was first offered [Innerspace], the script had no comedy at all. I didn’t think it worked that way so I went off and did something else. When I came back, they had a new writer and he approached it as comedy from the concept of what would happen if we shrank Dean Martin down and injected him inside Jerry Lewis.”

Innerspace is the tale of two polar opposites plunged into co-dependency after miniaturised naval aviator Lt. Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) is accidentally injected into the body of manic hypochondriac Jack Putter (Martin Short), who quickly becomes the target of criminals looking to cash-in on the newfound technology. Quaid is a bundle of fun as cynical hero Pendleton, a Han Solo variation looking to win back the affections of Meg Ryan’s Lydia Maxwell. Quaid and Short’s odd couple chemistry is key to the movie’s sense of heart, its comic aspirations boosted by a stellar supporting cast that includes 80s stalwart Vernon Welles and Robert Picardo, who mostly ad-libbed for his show-stealing turn as unlikely ladies man ‘The Cowboy’.

Innerspace would receive positive reviews, particularly for its Academy Award winning visual effects, which cleverly navigate the internal physiology of Short’s Putter in a way that is still mind-boggling almost a quarter of a century on. Though the movie’s theatrical run proved underwhelming for a movie attached to Spielberg’s name ($25,900,000 in the US and Canada), it more than made up for it the following year, managing a whopping $42,000,000 in international rentals. 

A product of Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, Dante would say of the legendary filmmaker’s input, “The atmosphere at Amblin was pretty free. The thing Steven would do is protect you from the studio and sometimes from the other producers. It was a very filmmaker-friendly atmosphere over there. You got all the best equipment and all the best people and all the toys you wanted to play with. Plus you had somebody on your side who was also a filmmaker and they knew exactly what you were talking about when you had a problem.”  

July 10

July 10 would mark the release of a low-budget horror classic. Originally intended as a sequel to Herschell Gordon Lewis’ heavily censored 1963 splatter film Blood Feast, a movie condemned to the list of 72 banned movies dubbed the ‘Video Nasties‘, irreverent trash director Jackie Kong’s Blood Diner, made on a shoestring budget of $330,000, would instead become a loose remake as production progressed, and was promptly banned in several Canadian provinces for its graphic themes.

Blood Diner is that age-old story of a pair of dimwitted brothers manipulated into resurrecting the ancient Lumerian goddess Sheetar after first resurrecting their serial killer uncle and communicating with his brain, which they naturally keep in a mason jar. In order to do this, the brothers must first create a female Frankenstein’s monster from the body parts of immoral women, and open a diner as a front for attracting victims.

Receiving a limited release from the now-defunct Lightning Pictures, a Vestron subsidiary that lasted only two years, Blood Diner would fail to break even with a paltry $163,890 domestically, though it would later find a cult following on home video and remains a favourite among hardcore horror fans and connoisseurs of 80s schlock. 

Kong has since become an advocate for gender equality in horror, making a point to hire women in key positions for her various productions. In an interview with Morbidly Beautiful, Kong would touch on her experiences as a female indie director in a male-dominated industry, “I outdid the boys with Blood Diner, but instead of giving me opportunities in the industry, people thought I was a guy. Nobody knew what to make of me. The film played worldwide, dubbed in 5 languages, yet it would be a shock when distributors would meet me.”

Brat Pack favourite Ally Sheedy, renown for her iconic turn as introvert-come-prom-queen-princess Allison Reynolds in John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club, took something of a career misstep in July 87, playing the lead in Amy Holden Jones’ long-forgotten fantasy comedy Maid to Order.

Co-starring National Lampoon‘s Beverly D’Angelo as a fairy godmother tasked with preventing Sheedy’s spoiled rich kid, Jessie Montgomery, from throwing her life away, the film is a throwback to the good-natured social comedies of the 1930s, Montgomery magically transformed from a millionaire socialite into a jobless prole in the hope that she’ll discover the true value of life. 

Cutting her teeth as an assistant on Scorsese’s Taxi Driver after contacting the director via letter (Scorsese had previously judged an amateur competition won by the budding filmmaker), director Jones would later turn down the chance to edit Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial in favour of directing quasi-feminist slasher The Slumber Party Massacre, and would later find success as a producer, though the critically middling Maid to Order would put her directing career on the shelf for close to a decade.

Sheedy initially had high hopes for Maid to Order following her first major lead role in John Badham’s hugely successful sleeper hit Short Circuit, but a paltry box office return of $9,868,000 would prove devastating to her acting career going forward, her subsequent lead in Martin Davidson’s drama Heart of Dixie bombing spectacularly, the film recouping a paltry $1,097,333 from an estimated budget of $8,000,000.

Sheedy first realised she was in trouble following an apathetic audience reaction at a pre-release screening at the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles, a concern shared by her mother, who told Ally that she was “better than the script” midway through the movie. Janet Maslin of The New York Times was at least impressed with Sheedy’s performance, noting that her “petulant manner and her air of faint distaste for her surroundings are just right for this role. And she shows herself to be an able physical comedienne.”

It goes to show the importance of a good agent.

July’s lowbrow fix came in the form of Joe Roth’s Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise. The sequel to Jeff Kanew’s ‘slobs vs snobs’ teen comedy Revenge of the Nerds, the film featured much of the original movie’s cast, including Miracle Mile‘s Anthony Edwards, and would provide an early starring role for Ally McBeal’s Courtney Thorne-Smith.

One actress who refused to return for the sequel was Julia Montgomery, who was uncomfortable with the fact that her character, Betty, was caught cheating on Robert Carradine’s Lewis, feeling that such a development betrayed the integrity of the character and standing firm even after Roth offered to have the scene in question rewritten. Edwards was also reluctant to return for the sequel for fear of being typecast in silly comedies, though contractual obligations determined otherwise. The script was instead adapted to allow his character Gilbert Lowell a much smaller role.

Revenge of the Nerds II, which would parody Poltergeist II: The Other Side with the line “We’re back!” in one of its trailers, was slammed by audiences and critics alike for its puerile tone, skinny characterisation and general lack of humour. The Washington Post’s Hal Hinton would describe the movie as, “the closest thing to a comedy desert I’ve ever seen. I’m talking no laughs. Nada. (Okay, one laugh, when one of the nerds — Booger — shows up wearing a T-shirt with ‘Who Farted?’ on the front. But if that’s the peak of your comedy pyramid, you’re in big trouble.)” 

Roger Ebert was similarly damning, writing, “National Lampoon’s Animal House succeeded in creating unforgettable characters. Nerds II just has a bunch of guys schlepping around wishing somebody had written some dialogue for them.”

Despite its critical lambasting, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise proved a considerable box office success, more than tripling its production outlay with a domestic box office gross of $22,642,033 and an international gross of $30,100,000. 

Proving even more of a critical failure in a week crammed with abject stinkers was Roger Young’s romantic action comedy The Squeeze, a movie which ended his brief silver screen career after his hugely promising crime drama Lassiter. Praised by critics following its 1984 release, Lassiter was enough to attract an all-star cast for the director’s second theatrical foray, but even the likes of Michael Keaton, Rae Dawn Chong, Joe Pantoliano and Danny Aiello failed to save this one from the creative quagmire.

Originally produced as Skip Tracer, a working title that refers to someone who tracks down delinquent bill payers, The Squeeze was headlined by Keaton as a debt-ridden sculpture artist who is pursued by Chong’s debt collector until the two fall in love and hatch a get-rich-quick plan to rig the New York state lottery. How? By manipulating those little numbered balls with electromagnetics. Good luck with that one.

The movie was plagued with production problems, including a ballooning budget that almost doubled, but the worst incident involved the onset death of veteran stuntman Victor Magnotta, who tragically drowned following an accident which involved a car that careened off the New Jersey pier and plunged into the Hudson River.

Magnotta was supposed to drive the vehicle off the end of the peer, precipitating a ‘flat-splash’ and gradual sinking, but the car had been stripped of all excess weight, including the gas tank, a decision taken to swerve environmental laws prohibiting fuel leakage in the river. For reasons that were undisclosed, the vehicle’s glass windshield was replaced with Plexiglas, and when Magnotta’s now front-heavy stunt car ‘nosed-over’ and hit the water head-on, the windshield came out, wrapping the plastic strip around him. Safety divers reacted instantly but by the time they freed Magnotta he was already dead. Incredibly, the stunt was still used in the film.

Described by Roger Ebert as “the most completely forgettable movie since Mannequin,” The Squeeze tanked at the box office, suffering a dismal loss of $20,228,951.

July 17

On the subject of creative misfires, they don’t get more high-profile than Joseph Sargent’s horror sequel Jaws: The Revenge, a film which has the ignominious distinction of being arguably Michael Caine’s most anaemic turn, something the actor would all but confirm when asked his opinion of the movie, famously stating, “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” I’m sure it is, Michael.

Co-starring a returning Lorraine Garry as Brody matriarch Ellen, the wife of then Universal Studios CEO Sidney Sheinberg, the movie centres on a now widowed Ellen’s emotional struggles after her son, having taken over his deceased father’s position at the local police department, is killed by a great white shark, forcing her to flee and stay with her other son, now a marine biologist (surely she could have talked him out of that one).

As well as being rather bland, Jaws: The Revenge is notable for its abject silliness. The word Revenge refers to the shark, which manages to follow the Brody family all the way from Martha’s Vineyard to the Bahamas in only a couple of days. It’s purpose? To wreak vengeance on the family of the man who once killed its ancestor (I know sharks have an incredible sense of smell, but really?) Ellen, who is adamant that the shark’s ingenious plan is real, even attributes her husband’s death from a heart attack to his fear of the ‘king of the ocean’, and yet professional help is never sought.

Since MCA/Universal were experiencing something of a difficult period prior to filming, Jaws: The Revenge was seen as an opportunity to promote the new Jaws ride at Universal Studios, which tells you everything you need to know about the film’s aspirations. Director Sargent would claim that the movie’s ludicrous premise was born “out of a little bit of desperation to find something fresh to do with the shark. We thought that maybe if we take a mystical point of view, and go for a little bit of … magic, we might be able to find something interesting enough to sit through.”

The original theatrical ending for Jaws: The Revenge was famously changed following widespread disapproval from moviegoers, meaning that an alternate ending was shot for international and subsequent home media releases. Because of this, Caine was unable to receive his Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Woody Allen’s comedy drama Hannah and Her Sisters. No wonder he was so bitter!

Despite the particularity nasty bite that was Jaws: The Revenge, July would pick up considerably on the 17th with the release of Paul Verhoeven’s ultra-violent sci-fi satire Robocop, a movie that would run into problems with the MPPA and BBFC at a time when horror movie censorship had placed unprecedented restrictions on violent content. Most troubling was the movie’s ‘overt concentration on pain’ during a scene in which Peter Weller’s Alex Murphy, who would become the law enforcement poster boy for the surreptitious Omni Consumer Products, is mutilated by a series of shotgun blasts at the hands of underworld scourge Clarence J. Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith) and his godless cronies.

Initially dismissed by art house European director Verhoeven, the filmmaker would have a change of heart after his wife fished the script out of the trash and highlighted its potential. Inspired by a poster for Ridley Scott’s smash Phillip K. Dick adaptation Blade Runner, the screenplay was penned by future Starship Troopers collaborator Edward Neumeier and music video director Michael Miner, who would elaborate on the latter’s rough draft for a feature titled SuperCop about a seriously wounded cop who becomes a donor for an experimental cybernetic law enforcement officer.

Robocop action

Set in a dystopian future Detroit, Robocop touched a number of relevant themes prevalent in the Reagan 80s, including media propaganda, gentrification, corporate oppression, corruption and privatisation, with a moral core that explores ideas of identity and the will of human nature.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rutger Hauer and Michael Ironside were all considered for the role until producers were forced to go with a skinnier actor who could fit into Rob Bottin’s beautiful, yet cumbersome costume. Weller was also chosen for aesthetic reasons, namely his lower face, which Verhoeven believed could portray the necessary pathos required, something that was only confirmed when Robert Burke replaced the actor for the much maligned sequel Robocop 3.

Critics reviewed Robocop in mostly glowing terms, though Feminist Susan Faludi dismissed Verhoeven’s Hollywood debut as one of “an endless stream of war and action movies” in which “women are reduced to mute and incidental characters or banished altogether,” though author Author Rene Denfeld disagreed with Faludi’s observations, describing Robocop’s female partner Officer Anne Lewis as an “independent and smart police officer.” Audiences were similarly enthused, Robocop managing a domestic gross of $53,400,000 on a budget of just $13,000,000.

July 24

La la la la la la la Bamba!

Actually, it’s Para bailar La Bamba, but as a 5-year-old back in 1987 it was very much the former. I recall dancing and spinning around my living room to Los Lobos’ upbeat cover of the classic Mexican folk song. I hadn’t seen the movie, but the song was everywhere. For a short while it was even the anthem of my school playground.

The movie is not always so joyous; in fact, it can be rather sad and deeply affecting — a biography of Chicago rock ‘n’ roll star Ritchie Valens, most famous for his own cover of La Bamba, who tragically died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper on Feburary 3, 1959. The accident was a big blow to American music, a fact underscored by Don McClean’s 1971 smash hit American Pie. The line “the day the music died” was a dedication to their memory.

La Bamba is also warm and bursting with sentiment. Starring Lou Diamond Phillips as the tragic star, the film explores themes of jealousy and discrimination involving Valens’ half-brother Bob (Esai Morales) and the American father of high school sweetheart Donna (Danielle von Zerneck) who would become the inspiration for the musician’s song of the same name. The movie also stars Joe Pantoliano as Del-Fi Records honcho Bob Keane, guitarist Marshall Crenshaw as the inimitable Buddy Holly, Stephen Lee as The Big Bopper, Howard Huntsberry as soul legend Jackie Wilson and Stray Cats singer-songwriter Brian Setzer as Eddie Cochran.

Phillips would earn unanimous plaudits for his turn as Valens, doing such a convincing job that Valens’ real-life family became extremely fond of the actor, so much that his sister drove to the set during the scene where Valens boards the fateful plane and cried in his arms, begging him not to get on — ironic, since Phillips mistakenly assumed that he was auditioning for a film about Franki Valli and initially felt he wasn’t right for the role. La Bamba did fantastic numbers for such a low-key film, grossing a cool $54,200,000 on a budget of approximately $6,500,000.

It may be hard to believe, but Jaws: The Revenge wasn’t the biggest high-profile flop of July 1987. That award goes the disastrous Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which not only tanked at the box office, but also heavily contributed to renegade production company Cannon’s monumental late-80s downfall.

Purchased from former soft porn peddlers Dennis Friedland and Chris Dewey, Cannon Films would become the exploitation brainchild of Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, who would quickly tap into the burgeoning home video market, taking bottom-rung scripts and delivering fast food entertainment by the bucket load, but the duo who would affectionately become known as Golan-Globus harboured bigger aspirations.

After buying the rights to the Death Wish series and hiring the likes of Chuck Norris, the pair would reach out to international superstar Sylvester Stallone, who for a hefty price would temporarily raise their stock, leading to bigger budget ventures such as the universally panned He-Man adaptation Masters of the Universe, a film which attempted to tap into the popularity of the Star Wars franchise and failed miserably. That same year, the two would purchase the rights to the Superman franchise, with a bargain-basement effort that masqueraded as big-budget extravaganza, a move that put the series on the shelf until Superman Returns almost TWENTY YEARS later. Put succinctly, it was like kryptonite to the character.

Starring a returning Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman, the fourth instalment of the hit DC Comics adaptation centres on Superman’s mission to rid the world of nuclear weapons at the height of Cold War paranoia. As well as its gaudy (even then) special effects — the result of a budget that was cut by an incredible $15,000,000 as Cannon’s cavalier business model continued to crumble, the film is notable for its equally gaudy villain Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), a character actually voiced by Hackman in one of a plethora of cheap movies that tarnishes a movie that has inevitably gained cult status in the years since its release.

Superman IV is infamous for its penny-pinching locations. Since Cannon had offices in the UK, the not-so-spectacular London borough of Milton Keynes was dressed up, rather unconvincingly, as the grandest city of them all, New York. Just imagine Reeve ambling around in his cape on a rainy English afternoon. It beggars belief.

Critics were understandably ruthless in their appraisals, particularly The Washington Post’s Desson Howe, who described the film as being, “More sluggish than a funeral barge, cheaper than a sale at Kmart, it’s a nerd, it’s a shame, it’s Superman IV.” Others were critical of the movie’s bargain-basement special effects. As Janet Maslin of The New York Times would explain, “the Superman flying sequences, which were spectacular in the first film, look chintzy in this one, and the special effects are perfunctory, too. (Superman repairs some damage to the Great Wall of China with a single brief glance.) The cinematography is so sloppy that Superman’s turquoise suit is sometimes green.” Yeesh!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace managed a miserable $36,700,000, the lowest in the original series by some margin, even adjusted for inflation. It was the death knell for Golan-Globus and their grand ambitions of conquering Hollywood.

July 31

Bond fans are notoriously picky when it comes to the actors who portray one of cinema’s best loved characters. For years Sean Connery enthusiasts derided Roger Moore’s silken take on Ian Fleming’s irrepressible super spy, and every time a new successor is named, eyebrows are raised, something that speaks to the preciousness of the character in the eyes of multiple generations.

Of all the stars to have taken the mantle, Welsh thespian Timothy Dalton was the most maligned. Dalton, who had previously turned down the role, slipped into the tuxedo at a tricky time for the series both creatively and commercially, and with the action genre having evolved as a whole, 007 was no longer the absolute pinnacle of cinematic glamour.

Dalton was also considered too cold for a role that had long-since become synonymous with humour. As Roger Ebert would say of the actor’s July 87 debut The Living Daylights, “[Dalton’s] a strong actor, he holds the screen well, he’s good in the serious scenes, but he never quite seems to understand that it’s all a joke.” Two years later he would have something of a change of heart, writing of Dalton’s turn in his second and final outing Licence to Kill, “He makes an effective Bond — lacking Sean Connery’s grace and humor, and Roger Moore’s suave self-mockery, but with a lean tension and a toughness that is possibly more contemporary.”

‘Contemporary’ is a word that has since become synonymous with Dalton’s hard-nosed portrayal. He’s my second favourite Bond after Moore, and given more instalments he may well have ranked a place higher. Dalton is still finding his feet in The Living Daylights, and the stigma of the AIDS epidemic would temporarily curb the character’s world famous libido, but if anyone comes close to author Fleming’s Bond, it’s Dalton.

The Living Daylights is still a fantastic movie, and Dalton is arguably the best pure actor to wield the Walther PPK. Sent on a mission to investigate a KGB policy to kill all enemy spies, Bond falls for Maryam D’Abo’s Russian cellist, the girlfriend of KGB officer General Georgi Koskov, putting his philandering aside for an almost fatherly romance that shows the character’s rarely seen tender side.

Co-starring Jeroen Krabbé as Koskov and a wonderfully OTT Joe Don Baker as a self-styled American arms dealer with more than a passing resemblance to corrupt Ronald Reagan stooge Oliver North, the film was principally shot in Vienna, Austria, with scenes set in Gibraltar, The United Kingdom and Morocco.

Despite initial reservations about Dalton’s suitability for the role, fans flocked to theatres in their droves for Bond’s 15th outing, The Living Daylights raking in $191,200,000 worldwide, though US figures were much less flattering, a return of $51,200,000 making it one of the poorest performing entries domestically when adjusted for inflation. Going up against such blockbuster franchise sequels as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters II, Dalton’s Licence to Kill would fare even worse two years later with a domestic gross of only $34,700,000, making it the worst performing entry of the entire series, a grave injustice in anyone’s book.

The vampire movie was revolutionised during the 1980s, a decade which took a genre with Gothic roots and updated it for modern audiences. Following on from George A. Romero’s deeply troubling 1978 classic Martin, Tony Scott’s hyper-stylish The Hunger would kick things off, Tom Holland’s loving send-up Fright Night, Kathryn Bigelow’s violent, neo-western Near Dark and Richard Wenk’s neon-drenched Vamp all putting their inimitable stamp on the genre among others, but arguably the most cherished is Joel Schumacher’s Brat Pack laden comedy horror The Lost Boys.

Set in the fictional California town of Santa Carla, the film stars Jason Patric as a new-to-the-neighbourhood teenager recruited by a gang of vampires, putting him at loggerheads with younger brother Sam (Corey Haim), who recruits the help of local comic book dweebs The Frog Brothers, the three of them almost biting off more than they can chew with their precocious vampire-slaying exploits.

The wonderful Kiefer Sutherland would put in yet another iconic 80s turn as lead vampire David, a character who left a generation of kids reaching for the pillow in a movie that strikes a unique balance between horror and comedy. The Lost Boys was also the first of many 80s teen films to star both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman.

The Lost Boys cast

Originally devised as a Goonies-esque adventure featuring 5th grade vampires, with love interest Star (Jami Gertz) written as a boy and The Frog Brothers modelled on chubby, 8-year-old boy scouts, Schumacher would instead opt for a hip, MTV aesthetic that appealed to older kids, remodelling a screenplay that was originally based on the idea of Peter Pan as a vampire. So displeased with the original draft was the late director that he refused to sign on until the concept was tailored to his specifications.

The Lost Boys is unique for its sense of style, an aesthetic achieved by 80s practical effects stalwart Greg Cannom, who ousted industry peer Steve Johnson after nailing Schumacher’s distinct vision. “There was another makeup they were waiting on too, from Steve Johnson, which was very elaborate,” Cannom would recall. “It was so cool, but it was very monstrous and not really what Joel was looking for. For The Lost Boys, Joel wanted something a little more sleek and simple.” 

The Lost Boys is also notable for a soundtrack that includes 80s favourites INXS and Echo and the Bunnymen, as well as a rather peculiar, musclebound sax player lathered in so much body oil it’s positively frightening, an image that defines the term ‘horror comedy’ almost as well as the film itself.

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