Aug 12, 2014

Cory Haim's Bubble Bath

The Lost Boys (1987) was directed by Joel Schumacher, who is gay, and starred teen idol Corey Haim, who was widely rumored to be gay at the time. The plot, about high schooler Sam Emerson (Corey) discovering that his older brother  Michael (Jason Patric) has been seduced by androgynous vampire David (Kiefer Sutherland), is overloaded with homoromantic same-sex bonds: Sam and and Michael, Michael and David, Sam and the vampire-hunting teen Frog (played by Corey's real-life best friend, Corey Feldman).

There are endless beefcake scenes and vows of same-sex commitment, but only one act of heterosexual intercourse, with Michael's body on display and the woman's hidden from view, instead of the usual scenes of a nude woman atop a fully-clothed man. Surely even the most oblivious heterosexual can find such blatant slippages and subtexts!

But not one of the nearly 200 user reviews on the Internet Movie Database or nearly 500 fans who posted to a Lost Boys message board noticed the beefcake, the lack of attention to girls, or the many homoromantic bonds.

 One fan did ask “Is Sam gay?” and as evidence, pointed out that:
1. He has a poster of contemporary heartthrob Rob Lowe on his bedroom wall
2. He wears a “Born to Shop” T-shirt
3. He takes bubble baths
4. He has a pet dog.
5. He sings an old novelty song with the line “I’m a lonely girl, ain’t got a man.”
That is, he uses gender-transgressive behavior (like owning a dog?) as proof.

But even those broadly-drawn gender-transgressions are lost on most fans. One stated, “I’ve seen that movie probably somewhere around fifty times, and never once stopped to think that [Sam] was supposed to be gay.”  They never stop to think that any fictional character is gay, unless he is Wearing a Sign.

 Fans commenting on the "Is Sam gay?" post enthusiastically pointed out that Sam was not Wearing a Sign, so he must necessarily be taken as heterosexual.

About the beefcake poster: “It was his grandfather’s idea, to give him a manly role model! It has nothing to do with being gay!” (Would Grandpa really consider androgynous prettyboy Rob Lowe a better candidate for displaying machismo than contemporary man-mountains like Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris?)

 About the “Born to Shop” t-shirt: “It was the fashion in 1987! It has nothing to do with being gay!”

Or they bring up the  myth that only adults are gay: "He’s fifteen years old, too young to be gay!”

Or the myth of the Discovery of Girls: “He hasn’t begun to notice girls yet, it doesn’t mean he’s gay!”

Anything they can think of that helps them keep on believing that the world of fiction belongs to heterosexuals only.

See also: Tad Hilgenbrink, Corey Haim for the 2000s.; and Clarence: Gay Characters on Kids' TV.
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