Ah… 1987. Whereas 1981 gave us two seminal werewolf movies (An American Werewolf In London and The Howling) 1987 gave us two very distinct vampire films in The Lost Boys and Near Dark. Both films remain a part of the cultural conversation to this day (at least in our little horrific corner of the world) but they couldn’t be more different. Lost Boys is a glossy, campy romp with a truly genial (if dysfunctional) family at its center. Near Dark is a stark, poetic western that never once utters the word “vampire.”
Both films had commercial potential, but Lost Boys utterly crushed Near Dark at the box office. Joel Schumacher’s bloodsucking blockbuster was the first of the two to be released (July 31st, 1987) and by the time Kathryn Bigelow’s quieter, more disturbing film came along – the market had had enough. At least that’s the conventional wisdom, part of me thinks that Near Dark never really had a chance at being a hit, regardless of The Lost Boys. It was simply to dry and dour, perhaps too elegant even, for a mainstream 80’s breakthrough.
The trailers for these films tell roughly the same story – gloss vs. grit. I really dig both films, but its easy to see why audiences were swayed to check out Lost Boys – even if I prefer the trailer for Near Dark.