Rob’s review published on Letterboxd:
(Note: knocked off a half a star on rewatch. But I stand by the Like.)
As someone who lived through the 80s, I'll tell you this: you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a jacked-up, oiled steroid monster playing a saxophone. They spread faster than herpes back in those days; we called them "Beefed Clarence Clemons's", and there was one on every corner. We paid for songs by throwing those sticky octopi that crawled down the wall at them, and they would play El Debarge songs in gratitude, which was the style at the time. And then we would all comb out our mullets and freebase Vidal Sassoon hair mousse, which was the style at the time.
This isn't a great movie, but it's one of THOSE movies, that came out when you were sixteen, and had a soundtrack that was all over the radio. Which is all probably all Esperanto if you're younger than 38, but it mattered once upon a time.
This was the first movie I saw that showed a comic book store in it. And while, in retrospect, it was a place where Corey Feldman dorked up the joint and was a joke to the locals, it made a difference to me as the only adolescent still reading the damn things. Of course, had I known what the popular perception of the Frog Brothers would wind up as, I'd have chucked my copies of The Dark Knight Returns and read something decent like Nobokov or Mapplethorpe, but that's not the point right now.
Sure, this movie loses a lot of it's power when you see it 30 years later and realize that Kiefer would stay in a state of arrested development and still be hanging out on the boardwalk, rocking a mullet and a Michael Jackson leather jacket, hitting on passers-by to the response of, "Gobble it, fashion relic" and slowly starving to death, but suspension of disbelief is important, and either way that state of affairs hasn't killed Corey Feldman.
And say what you want, but this flick has great some production design. The family's house looks like something out of Texas Chainsaw, while the boardwalk is empty 80s spectacle's idea of fake cool... but it's all built on the mouldering ruins of the old town from the heyday of the monster movie, with disintegrating hotels and attractions. Everything is old on top of new, with the classic and Gothic just beside the modern. This is a great looking movie, even though it makes Ferris Bueller look like a timeless men's fashion classic.
On a totally unrelated note, if MY brother turned out to be a vampire, I would drag him onto the front lawn and set him on fire with no remorse. Of course, I would do the same if he said, "vampire", or if he turned out to be Corey Feldman, so maybe don't treat me like potential Watcher material.
The final attack on the house is pretty well paced and escalates in a reasonable, linear fashion. The final battle between Michael and David, with Michael embracing his dark powers to battle evil on its own terms, is so damn 80s Reaganite might-makes-right it might as well have been written by Pat Buchanan, but whatever, it's pretty damn cool to watch.
Of course, in the end it's the old hippie taking out the yuppie video store entrepreneur, so idealism wins in the end, but it doesn't make Batman Forever any fucking better. Whatever. I had fun. And I love this movie unironically, while recognizing it's not really that good.
tl;dr: Remember that vampire-related plumbing damage is not covered by most homeowner's insurance, and be responsible: don't forget to spay or neuter your Beefed Clarence Clemons.