STUDIO: Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• On-set shenanigans
• Audition tapes
It’s kinda like Stand By Me, but from Ace’s perspective.
“I’m glad that Corner Pocket still has a smoking section, but
I’m even gladder that it has a gruff supporting actor section. Right, Ed?”
Shay Aster, Michael Bowen, Ed Lauter, Marc Senter, Dee Wallace
Ray Pye puts Vaseline in his hair and stuffs crushed beer cans in his boots to make himself look taller. He works as a manager for his Mom’s motel business, dealing heroin as a side project. The only thing that separates him from being an average, everyday asshole like most of the ones you know is that he’s a killer. In a public campground on a summer evening, Ray Pye murders a girl for fun and permanently disables another, covering up the crime with the help of his friends. While the local authorities keep an eye on Pye as their main suspect in the slaying, the sociopathic greaser can’t help but ignite a self-destructive and violent chain of events that ultimately shatters his entire environment.
Set in the late ’60s, The Lost tells Ray’s story alongside the stories of his friends, lovers, and victims as his sanity slowly reaches a violent critical mass in a quiet, peaceful suburb.
Kelly’s lazy eye made her a shoe-in for all the best corpse roles.
In the “Nutshell” section, I mentioned that The Lost was set in the ’60s. This is a lie. In fact, we’re not sure when this story takes place, and the cues we’re given are both ambiguous and maybe even intentionally duplicitous; Ray Pye (played to surprising effect by Marc Senter) dresses and acts like a violent, unhinged greaser nightmare throughout much of the film, and we watch him pick his victims at diners and malt shops, but the vehicles, clothing, and technology in the film don’t quite match that particular time period. In Jack Ketchum’s book, Pye’s exploits do take place in the late ’60s, so it’s safe to assume that much of that period’s detail seeped into the film from the source, but I’d like to think that the dissonance was intentional; by fracturing the setting, we’re even more estranged from the proceedings, giving Pye’s activities an even more unsettling and jarring aftertaste.
The Lost is, when stripped to its bare bones, a good example of exploitation horror. We’re given a group of characters, some easy to sympathize with, and some not, and we watch them interact and collide with Pye as he descends into madness. Some of it is brutal and horrific string pulling, and while it doesn’t win any points for that, it’s the fact that The Lost shows so much restraint before careening into an unstopabble bloodbath that makes it so remarkable. For what it is, it works quite well.
dungshavers like myself will become a real asset to the banks.
The film begins on a low note, as Pye encounters a frolicking teenager (Misty Mundae) at a local campground. Mundae’s presence does little to inspire hope that The Lost is anything more than a campy slasher, but her status as a low-budget horror icon gets turned on its head as Pye brutally dispatches her for sport. Pye then mortally wounds Mundae’s friend (Ruby Larocca), who escapes the carnage and flag down a passing vehicle before dying several years later in a hospital. From there, The Lost defies convention and expectation by turning into a half police procedural, half character drama pressure cooker, showing how the desperate and pathetic Pye eeks out a living as a low-level drug dealer while trying to evade increasingly aggressive questioning by skeptical detectives who know that he’s a murderer. The majority of the film, and the entirety of the second act, remains entirely gore-free. It’s a painful, slow-boil caricature of a boy gone wrong.
Viewers might even be tempted to feel sorry for the tragic-yet-brutal Pye as he struggles with women, work, and the pesky cops; there are several moments where our sinister protagonist shows empathy and humanity, which is rare for a film with such a brutal denouement- The Lost might have some uncharacteristically mild drama in its middle act and may not be a typical horror film, but it certainly isn’t for kids.
I can’t be giving you free samples of my shit all day, guy.
Either buy the stuff and leave, or I’ll have my telekinetic girlfriend
who’s standing in the hall behind me hurl her energy ball at your face.
The always great Ed Lauter plays a supporting role as the cradle robbing lover of one of Pye’s eventual targets, and counteracts Misty Mundae’s negative reputation points. Michael Bowen also shows up to win as the lead detective in Pye’s murder case, and provides a strong, gruff counterpoint to Pye’s unstable maniac. Dee Wallace appears for a few seconds, and Megan Henning does good work as one of the lead “victim” girls, although I can’t say that for the other lead victims. Marc Senter’s admirable work makes the performances of many of his friends and victims look weak and pale, and even Senter goes a little over the top at times.
The Lost is button pushing, but it’s smart, well-crafted, and thoughtful button pushing. It isn’t for the squeamish, and might even need a Gaspar Noe-esque warning before the last act of the film, as the restraint of the first half belies the brutality of the last. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a Ketchum fan, or if you like nontraditional horror.