Penelope Spheeris hit big with Decline of the Western Civilization, then Suburbia, then my personal favorite Boys Next Door. Not to be confused with the J-Lo vehicle Boy Next Door, Boys Next Door was made in 1985 a told the exploits of a couple of thrill killers played by Charlie Sheen and Maxwell Caulfield. Overlooked upon release its garnered a large following over the years especially in the horror market.
After a fantastic opening showcasing serial killers in America we meet Roy (Caulfield) and Bo (Sheen) are a pair of lower working class high school kids, who are essentially outcasts in there school. There pretty volatile, and out there. In the beginning Bo is laying on the road while Roy draws a chalk outline around his body leaving road flairs around him as a prank. Neither did well in school and on the night of graduation realize they will be spending the rest of their lives working at the local factory. They decide to have one last crazy weekend and take the $200.00 that Bo got as a graduation present and drive to Los Angeles.
Things are just bad from the get go. Both Bo and Roy are angry, violent, miserable human beings. They have no real redeeming qualities. When angered by an attendant as they stop for gas and believe he is trying to short change him. Roy violently beats him to death while Bo robs the store. They speed off, but don’t stop there. They proceed to pass there time throwing bottles at old lady’s, flinging a young girl off their car, murder a few people, and in a truly disturbing scene Bo picks up a lady and while he is having sex with her Roy calmly walks in a murders her.
This is a great film, and one of the best things about it is how you are never given any reason to feel sorry or sympathize with these character. They are evil, plain and simple and possess no redeeming qualities. And that’s really what helps to move this film in the right direction. These are two scumbags and they are played to perfection by Sheen and Caulfield. Caulfield in particular is simply chilling as Roy. Just a psychopath in every sense of the word. He will snap and kill you in the blink of an eye. All he wants to do is “Go Caveman” for a day and he does. Sheen is the quieter of the two, but he’s no better. Sometimes you think he may be feeling remorse or regret but he never truly does. Spheeris did a masterful job conveying all of this.
And Severin has done a masterful job transferring this. I have the old DVD and this is like watching an entirely new film. The picture is astounding. The film looks and sounds almost new. The outside scene, of which there are many look amazing. The scene where the two are driving down the boulevard at night looks especially amazing as the lights and sounds just come alive. The audio is fantastic as well and sounds great in surround sound. And as Severin is becoming know for, its got a great amount of special features
Audio Commentary with Director Penelope Spheeris and Actor Maxwell Caulfield
Blind Rage: Interview with Stephen Thrower, Author of Nightmare USA
Both Sides of the Law: Interview with Actors Maxwell Caulfield and Christopher McDonald
Give Us Your Money: Interviews with Street Band Performers Texacala Jones and Tequila Mockingbird
Caveman Day: Cinemaniacs Interview with Director Penelope Spheeris and Actor Maxwell Caulfield
Tales from the End Zone: Interview with Actor Kenneth Cortland
The Psychotronic Tourist – The Boys Next Door
Alternate Opening Title Sequence & Extended Scenes (Silent)
This film is an overlooked gem and it really should be viewed by more than just the horror crowd. Fans of drama and suspense will love this one as well. It’s a great look at a pair of killers in the making and conveyed perfectly by not only Sheen and Caulfield, but by Penelope Spheeris as well. I highly recommend you pick this one up right away. First time ever on Blu-ray and worth the wait.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!