Punk rock vampires. This is the film that launched the Coreys (though, both Haim and Feldman were established independently) and helped cement Keifer Sutherland into public consciousness (both he and Feldman were in Stand by Me a year before).
Opening with a quick introduction to Keifer and his buddies, there is a hint of ominous as they harass people having fun at a beach side amusement park. Kicked out by a security guard who finds himself under attack upon the park closing down. We are then introduced to Sam and Michael, whose mother is moving them all to Santa Carla California to start a new life with their Grandpa. Grandpa is revealed to be very quirky. Sam laments there being no TV, but then his Grandpa starts laying down the rules mentions the TV Guide. Sam asks if there is a TV, only to be told, “I just like the TV Guide. You read the TV Guide…you don’t need a TV.”
The family explores the boardwalk amusement area, Sam discovers the Frog Brothers and their parents comic book store. They start to push a vampire comic on him, which Sam initially rejects. Meanwhile, big brother Michael has become infatuated with a beautiful free spirit named Star. All while their mother gets a job at a local video store.
Star turns out to be associated with the punks from earlier…and Michael finds himself drawn into the world of David and his vampire friends. As Michael starts to change, Sam works to save him (with the help of the Frog Brothers). Sam and the Brothers embarrass themselves when they go to prove their mother’s new boyfriend is a vampire (he passes all the tests).
The film ends with a battle royal of Michael and Sam standing against David and his boys leading to a couple of nice twists. The film is visually lush and colorful. There is terrific uses of reds, especially that add a real punch.
The vampire lore sticks pretty close to the typical movie vampire mythology. They fly, drink blood, can mesmerize people, hate garlic and so on. This is not where the film excels though. They bring nothing original to the myths, but they do bring a fun flair. The film is full of humor (Plenty of it from Barnard Hughes as Grandpa). David (Sutherland) is menacing and yet also little more than a petulant trickster child. Feldman and Jamison Newlander are great fun as the Frog Brothers, self styled vampire hunters. Sutherland’s brood truly love and embrace being vampires which helps make this film’s approach really work.
This is not one of the great horror classics, but it is a terrifically fun vampire movie with a killer soundtrack to boot.