Terrible 2’s Reviews: Lost Boys – The Tribe
*Some people may say that most films lose their way by a third sequel, but that isn’t always the case. For every “Wrath of Khan” or “Toy Story 2,” there’s a dozen ‘number 2’ films that were made, that could not uphold the energy and enthusiasm of the first film. This review section, aims to talk about these “Terrible 2’s”*
We all have our guilty pleasure films, and in terms of this, I’d say The Lost Boys fits into that category for me. Joel Schumacher’s 1987 film took the concept of vampires, and spun it into a modern-day story about peer pressure, and family.
After Lucy Emerson (Dianne Wiest) separates from her husband, she moves her sons Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) to the seaside town of Santa Carla, to live with Lucy’s eccentric father (Barnard Hughes). However, when Michael attempts to fit in with a gang of biker boys (led by Kiefer Sutherland) down by the local Boardwalk, he soon finds himself in league with a group of vampires, and finds himself starting to become one.
Director Joel Schumacher can sometimes go over the top in some cases, but there are some great moments in Lost Boys, where he manages to create atmosphere and scenery within the small budget of his production. If there are any big special effects shots, he saves those for certain moments.
That isn’t to say that he ignores the family aspect of the film. The film manages to make us care about its siblings, as well as put a spin on peer pressure, and fitting in after moving to a new town. It was also one of the first films to have both Corey Haim, AND Corey Feldman in the same picture.
For years after the film was made, a small group of people pleaded and begged for more (even though the film wrapped itself up nicely). Rumors ran rampant for many years that the next step up from Lost Boys, were Lost Girls. Talk swirled about scripts being peddled around Hollywood in the 1990’s, and at one point, Joel Schumacher was involved (one has to wonder if the Batman and Robin debacle of 1997 hurt his street-cred enough to have noone take him seriously on that).
In the end, nothing would come of those rumors, and it seemed that another film from the 1980’s would be spared an unnecessary sequel.
Given how a number of studios had cashed in on cheaply-made direct-to-video sequels (such as Universal Pictures’ myriad American Pie films), Warner Brothers wanted to get in on some of this action, and launched their DTV division, Warner Premiere.
One script that had made its way to the company’s desks, was titled The Tribe, and involved surfers that were actually werewolves. The script was originally rejected for seeming too close to the story of Lost Boys, but after some thought, it was felt that the script could be altered to becoming a sequel of sorts. And so, the surfing werewolves, became surfing vampires.
And thus, Lost Boys: The Tribe, came to be.
After the death of their parents, brother and sister Chris (Tad Hilgenbrink, on the left) and Nicole (Autumn Reeser, in the center) Emerson, move to the seaside town of Luna Beach, to stay with their eccentric Aunt (Gabrielle Rose, on the right). Chris was once a pro surfer, who dropped out of the competition.
While roaming around town, Chris is surprised to meet another former pro surfer, Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland). He invites Chris to a surf party at his place nearby. Chris eventually goes, after Nicole begs him to take her along. However, once at the party, Shane entices Nicole to drink from a flask. A few hours later, Nicole begins to act strangely.
For those who have seen the original Lost Boys, you might have been thinking to yourself in reading those last paragraphs: “Hey, some of those story beats sound familiar.” And, in a good 85% of the film, that’s because they largely are!
– Broken family moving to a new locale by the ocean
– Crazy older family member providing lodgings
– A head vampire played by a Sutherland (true story: Angus (right) is Kiefer’s (left) little half-brother!)
– Family member falls in with vampire crowd, and tricked into drinking blood
– Frog brother(s) wants to kill new vampires, but is told not to
– Crazy motorcycle stunts
– Nighttime beach party leading to vampire bloodbath
– The song Cry Little Sister is played
Also, to prove that it’s more ‘mature’ than the original film, The Tribe contains plenty of profanity, and some nudity. As well, the level of gore is upped in numerous scenes. I guess that was one thing that we can thank Schumacher for regarding the first film: he worked within his budgetary limits, and made an entertaining film. This one just comes off as a bunch of young punks wanting to act cool and hip. Then again, most sequels tend to have this thought that they need to be bigger and badder than the original.
Tad Hilgenbrink’s character of Chris just seems to be, “there” most of the time. In fact, it was hard for me to focus on him as a character, without constantly thinking, “he looks like James Marsden’s younger brother!”
Autumn Reeser’s Nicole is meant to be the ‘Michael’ of our film, but her line reading and performance didn’t instill me with much hope. Probably the most cringe-worthy moment is when she realizes she’s a half-vampire, after almost biting a guy. She gives an embarrassing shriek/cry, before babblingly telling her brother, “how could I have drank his blood? I’m a vegetarian!”
The film also seems to want to play as ‘dark and mysterious,’ but it soon ends up becoming ridiculous. For example, remember how Chris and Nicole’s last name is Emerson?
Emerson was also the last name of the first film’s family, so that makes us wonder what the deal is with this family in The Tribe. Are they the children of Michael and his girlfriend Star (Jamie Gertz) from the first film, or possibly the children of Sam Emerson, and some other girl? Or…could this film be taking place in an alternate dimension, and this story is to that dimension, what the first Lost Boys is to ours?
Well, I’ll just spill the beans right now: it’s never explained.
Almost any bad sequel has to have at least one returning cast member from the original. Surely, there’s always someone down on their acting luck enough to accept a paycheck…and that honor, falls on Corey Feldman.
The dynamic duo of “The Frog Brothers” has now been reduced to one: Edgar Frog. No longer hanging out in comic book shops, Edgar now is a surfboard shaper, which leads to his becoming involved with Chris and his family problems. It seems that Edgar Frog really MUST have a frog in his throat, as Feldman’s lines all come out in a deep growl. Along with his surfboard work, Edgar is still vampire-obsessed, and still seems to produce vampire/PSA comic-books to those he feels needs to read them.
And speaking of Feldman in another sense, the film poses a most mind-numbing conundrum. When it seems that her niece and nephew may not have plans one evening, Auntie propose a most brilliant alternative:
Some Dunkin Donuts, and a night of watching The Goonies. I kid you not, that is an actual screenshot from this film!
And, it does beg the question: does that mean Corey Feldman also exists in this world, and he also resembles Edgar Frog? Ponder it, won’t you?
The film even had multiple “codas” that were meant to play after a few moments of the end credits. These would mean nothing, unless you were a die-hard Lost Boys fan.
The coda used for the final cut, featured Edgar Frog meeting someone on a deserted beach at night. It turns out to be Sam Emerson (Corey Haim, above), who we see has become a vampire since the first film (how/why/whuh is never explained). The scene then ends with a few words exchanged between the two, before they both charge at each other…with the scene cutting to black, leaving us to decide who lived, and who died.
On the DVD Extras included with the film, there are two alternate endings that give some hints as to just what (possibly) happened to Edgar’s brother, Alan.
Both of the extra endings feature Sam coming to Edgar as well. However, they are both cut almost exactly the same, except in one, Haim’s character is a normal human, and in the other, he’s a vampire himself.
In these alternate endings, Sam has come to warn Edgar that his brother Alan is also coming for him. There was apparently something that happened between the two films, that ended up causing Alan to become a vampire, and going away.
During the sequences, we see a modded up Sports Car with darkened windows, streaking down a highway. Inside, we see it’s being driven by the vampiric Alan Frog, with an unnamed woman in the passenger seat. It should be noted that since these scenes of Alan having become a vampire were not included in the final print, that Alan may still be alive somewhere in the film universe, though that’s left to our imaginations.
The two alternate endings dealing with the eventual return of Alan Frog, probably had a lot of people going, “why couldn’t The Tribe have been about that storyline!?”
After all, it does seem odd that for a sequel, we just get a copycatting rehash of the first film.
The Tribe was savaged online by many, and needless to say, there were plenty of morons who were hopeful that a sequel made 20 years after the previous film would be a hit.
Even so, its $5 million budget was quickly made back on the home video market, which led Warner Premiere to consider another Lost Boys film.
This resulted in the 2010 DTV release of Lost Boys: The Thirst. Unlike The Tribe (or the eventual return of Alan Frog outlined in the cut scenes), the story’s focus moves from Chris and Nicole, and features Edgar Frog (now with a girlfriend!?), and Alan Frog (normal, with none of that alternate Tribe ending info). A famous vampire novelist has found out that her brother has been kidnapped by some actual vampires, and requests Edgar’s services to save him. There are plenty of other ridiculous plotpoints, but like I stated a few sentences above, how does someone like Edgar Frog, with that gravelly voice and single-minded determination about killing vampires…actually get a girlfriend!?…oh right, this is the movies.
Word is this third film did next-to-nothing to redeem the series after The Tribe. However, the final nail in the coffin, came with the eventual shuttering of the Warner Premiere side of Warner Brothers. Corey Feldman claimed in a few interviews over the last few years, that he and Jamie Newlander were more than willing to do more with the Frog Brothers, but was willing to accept that those characters are finished.
If you have fond memories of The Lost Boys, and don’t want to ruin them, then stay clear of these terrible direct-to-video films. Only Joel Schumacher’s touch could make campy-horror about family and vampires, watchable.