Every week Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a horror movie worth checking out. Today: Destroy all vampire movie sequels!
The two recent direct-to-DVD sequels to The Lost Boys are the very definition of being careful what you wish for.
For years, fans of Joel Schumacher’s 1987 horror comedy hoped and prayed for a sequel. Several attempts almost made it into development during the ‘90s and finally came to fruition in 2008. Lost Boys: The Tribe was released straight-to-DVD and fans of the original film finally realized that sometimes you just can’t go back home again.
This month’s second sequel, Lost Boys: The Thirst, attempted to reassure audiences that magic could recaptured under the restraints of a home video budget and the inherent silliness of aged actors reprising roles from their youth. Corey Feldman, who had previously appeared in the second film, was a producer on The Thirst and took center stage alongside original film co-star and fellow Frog brother Jamison Newlander.
With a promising trailer released earlier this year, things were beginning to look up for a franchise that is beloved by fans of horror camp and ‘80s fashion alike. Well, The Thirst, unfortunately, turned out to be more of the same — a stale rehashing of a series that was past its prime before cameras even began rolling on the first sequel. With an emphasis on all the wrong parts of the original Lost Boys, The Thirst is an embarrassing sequel but a slightly above average straight-to-DVD vampire film.
Feldman stars as Edgar Frog, a washed up vampire hunter who has hit the lowest point of his career. Edgar’s relationship with his brother Alan (Newlander) is in tatters after Alan was transformed into a creature of the night during a botched mission five years previous. A vampire conspiracy has apparently drained Edgar of all his financial resources — threatening him with eviction from the trailer he lives alone in. He’s out of shape, out of practice and sounds like he’s developed the same type of throat cancer Christian Bale’s Batman is afflicted with.
It’s at this point in his downward spiral that Gwen Lieber, a Stephanie Meyer proxy played by Tanit Phoenix, approaches Edgar. Lieber is the hugely successful author of a series of teen vampire romance novels who has found herself pulled into the world of the undead when her younger brother is kidnapped by DJ X (Seb Castang), an insufferably hip vampire rave master.
While the vampires of The Lost Boys were on the fringe of society, cast off as much due to their fashion choices and punk-rock attitudes as their need to drink blood, the vampires in The Thirst are fashionable hipsters that dress like Lady Gaga and travel the world putting on raves for disenfranchised youth. It’s at these raves where DJ X and his team of vampire bodyguards distribute vials of vampire blood that pose as a designer drug. DJ X has plans to build a vampire army large enough to take on the world — but that’s not if Edgar Frog has anything to say about it.
The Thirst is very much Edgar’s film. While Newlander is an integral part of the film’s plot, his time on camera is limited to what pretty much amounts to an extended cameo. Frequent flashbacks to the original film paint Edgar as a hunter haunted by his past — a past that includes the slaying of his former best friend-turned-vampire, Sam Emmerson (played by Corey Haim in the original film). Feldman is even given a romantic love triangle with Gwen Lieber and Zoe, a comic book store owner played by Casey B. Dolan.
The movie was filmed in South Africa — explaining the weirdly off American accents most of the cast is sporting. While the casts’ accent doesn’t hurt their performances too much, it sure doesn’t help them. The Thirst is a low-budget film and the performances by the cast of movie do little to hide that fact.
While the story for The Thirst is a little fun, like a mid-‘90s made-for-television USA Network movie, this is an action film. And there’s plenty of it, albeit clumsily choreographed and poorly directed. The humor may not be firing on all cylinders but at least it’s there. The vampires, while awfully generic in their appearance and motivation, are just as bloody and violent as you may hope.
In other words, all the ingredients are there for a fun sequel to The Lost Boys except for one — chemistry.
The Lost Boys worked so well primarily due to the great chemistry between Feldman, Haim and Newlander. With Haim not available for the filming there is something missing in the film. A little Frog goes a long way and the straight-faced Frog Brothers extreme approach to vampire slaying needs a slightly silly polish to take some of the self-serious edge off. If another sequel is made, I hope the filmmakers find a new cast member to join the ensemble — somebody that can work as a nice balance to the Frog Brothers’ particular form of comedy.
The Thirst is an awfully bland film hurt by its association to the ‘80s horror comedy classic. If it had been released as a stand-alone film devoid of any tie to another movie it could have been looked upon slightly more favorably but as it is the movie fails to stand out in a sea of similar straight-to-DVD sequels to beloved films being released by money-hungry studios.
That said, I might be willing to watch another entry in the Frog Brothers’ story — specifically a SyFy Channel television show. I’d love to see the Frog Brothers take on other monsters (a possibility the ending for The Thirst sets up nicely).
But please, for the love of god, give “Cry Little Sister” a rest. I realize that it’s a popular song tied intrinsically to the original movie but how many cover versions of the original do I need to hear?
Robert Saucedo is an avid movie watcher with seriously poor sleeping habits. The Mikey from Life cereal of film fans, Robert will watch just about anything — good, bad or ugly. He has written about film for newspapers, radio and online for the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on his sanity — of that you can be sure. Follow him on Twitter at @robsaucedo2500.