BEYOND FRIGHT – “CULT” PICK: THE BOYS NEXT DOOR


As I’ve been wanting to inject more posts and articles about “cult” titles into Icons Of Fright, I finally got around to watching one earlier this afternoon that I’d heard of but never seen; it’s something that I think fans of this site and horror in general might want to seek out and experience for themselves – Penelope Spheeris’ 1985 flick THE BOYS NEXT DOOR.

The movie opens up with a montage of photos and voice-overs discussing various serial killers of the last few decades; how people can’t make sense of the crimes that these young unassuming men commit. How it’s difficult to comprehend the actions of seemingly good “boys next door”. And then we’re introduced to Roy (Maxwell Caulfield) and Bo (Charlie Sheen). They’re two prankster teens who have just graduated high school and have no real motivation or drive for their future. Roy however has a problem. Deep within him is an explainable and ever-growing rage. Plain and simple, he just wants to hurt people. So with nothing to do, the boys embark on a trip to Los Angeles to blow off a little steam as the summer begins and instead descend into madness as they inevitably go on a random murdering spree.

Watching their steady decline may be difficult for some viewers. It plays like a teenager’s version of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, but with this strange punk rock sensibility to it, no doubt thanks to director  Penelope Spheeris who helmed THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION documentaries, SUBURBIA, DUDES and later blockbuster comedies like WAYNE’S WORLD and BLACK SHEEP!?!  Also of note are the screenwriters, Glen Morgan and James Wong. The duo would later go on to write for THE X-FILES, but are more notable to genre fans as the writer/directors of FINAL DESTINATION, the WILLARD remake and the BLACK XMAS remake.

And of course, you have tremendous performances from a very young Charlie Sheen (no introduction needed) and Maxwell Caulfield (GREASE 2, WAXWORK II: LOST IN TIME). It’s an interesting slice of “cult” cinema from the mid-80’s that’s earned it’s reputation as a “cult” film. Anchor Bay released the flick on DVD, but for those of you with Netflix Instant accounts, it’s currently streaming on there. Check out the trailer below.