(Originally published in November 2012)
A movie completely trapped in the 1980s, but it is great entertainment!
When a mother and her two sons move to California the eldest son Michael becomes fascinated by a group of bikers and the girl in their midst, while his younger brother meets two strange boys who are convinced a coven of vampires are the cause behind their town’s missing children.
There is a strong sense after watching this film that it inspired the look and feel of Joss Whedon’s television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the most obvious being the near identical vampire makeup. The Joel Schumacher film (yes he did good work before he made Batman and Robin!) has a lot of comedic beats, especially around the young Sam and the two vampire hunting boys; reminds me of 1985s The Goonies. A young Kiefer Sutherland plays an excellent vampire though, adding to the film some intensity and ferocity.
It takes a bit of time to get going perhaps; made more so nowadays with the heaps of 1980s pop culture references that gush from the dialogue. It is a film of two halves for the most part; we have Michael’s torn romance with Star, which gets him involved with the biker gang, and the goofy antics of children hunting vampires. Stick through it though, because the film’s final act is great fun as these elements of horror and comedy crash together! “No two vampires are alike” it is explained when talking about how vampires die. How true!
An iconic 1980s film for sure, but in terms of a teenage vampire film, this one is done right! Sometimes a comedic edge is needed to make these stories more accessible.