First impressions count. That’s what they all say. Whether it’s first dates, job interviews or the first time in the prison yard (or so we hear). But leaving a lasting impression? That’s what really matters. Those last lines have the power to cement or save what you’ve just seen; they can turn it all on it’s head and invite a re-evaluation; they can be a punch to the gut or a farewell kiss.
Joel Schumacher’s iconic 80s horror comedy makes it clear that strange things are afoot in Santa Carla from the second that the Emerson family roll into town. There are mall goths aplenty, posters of missing children plastered over walls, window and lamp posts as well as an excessively oily man gyrating with a saxophone. Add to that an unimaginative cover of The Doors’ ‘People Are Strange’ by INXS playing in the background, and you start to get a sneaky suspicion that something’s not quite right.
The Emersons, along with the viewer, soon become embroiled in the secrecy of Santa Carla: Sam (Corey Haim) through his association with comic store proprietors/wannabe Van Helsings, the Frog Brothers, and Michael (Jason Patrick) who himself gets peer-pressured into becoming a goddamn shit-sucking vampire. All this whilst trying to keep it mum from actual mum Lucy (Dianne Wiest) and their taxidermist Lothario grandpa (Barnard Hughes).
Of course, none of this stays secret for long and all concerned get their hands dirty during the climactic carnage: most emphatically and decisively, Grandpa himself. With the house half-destroyed and the undead now properly dead, he trudges to the fridge with a seemingly heavy heart, and cracks open a frosty one;
“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.”
No laugh. No acknowledgement. Just a matter of fact and a fade to black alongside the knowledge that he hadn’t warned his nearest and dearest that they’re neighbours with the bloodsucking Brady Bunch. Turns out people are strange.
As last lines are so important, we’ll leave them to you. Which lines linger with you? Let us know in the comments below.