By now you probably already know that actor Corey Haim died at the age of 38 Wednesday morning in Burbank, CA of an apparent drug overdose. The news broke early this morning and was one of the top Google and Twitter trends of the day. As a long time fan of this young actor, it took a few hours to reflect back on what Corey Haim meant not only to me, but to a generation of film fans such as yourself.
Haim’s death marked the end of an up and down acting career that saw the child star go from the walls of young girls rooms in the 1980s to a recovering drug addict, reality TV star in the 2000s. But for anyone in their late 20s to early 30s, Haim was the man. Literally. He was the go-to personification of the smart, spunky loser kid with nothing going for him who ended up triumphing in the end. He was the Hollywood every-geek. More after the jump:
If you grew up when movies such as Lucas, License to Drive, The Lost Boys and Dream a Little Dream were popular, Haim was someone who young kids looked up to. His frequent collaborator Corey Feldman might have experienced more success as a solo actor (Stand By Me, The Goonies), but Haim was always the more accessible performer. You either loved him or hated him because he constantly got the storybook ending we all wanted.
Though most people remember The Lost Boys as a bad ass vampire movie, they tend to forget that Haim’s character, Sam, was a comic book geek. Early in the movie there are scenes of him in the comic book shop talking about Batman, Superman and his rare comic book collection. And though License to Drive is mostly remembered for being the Heather Graham coming out party as the gorgeous Mercedes Lane, it was Haim’s character, Les, who did the unthinkable. He basically stalks her to get a date and ends up her boyfriend. And, of course, who could forget Haim’s first starring role in Lucas where the littlest guy gets the shot at being the big football star?
Everyone related to those characters in some way. Whether you subscribe to the stereotype geeky image he usually portrayed, Haim was a young, impressionable filmgoers’ best friend because, in him, we all saw a little piece of ourselves.
It was definitely sad to see Haim’s slow, almost expected, downward spiral into a world of drugs as he got older, ultimately culminating in his tragic performance in the reality series The Two Coreys and his ill begotten cameo in Lost Boys: The Tribe. But as a film fan, and certainly as a Haim fan, I choose to remember Corey as the punk kid that he was many years ago and quotes such as “An innocent girl, a harmless drive, what could possibly go wrong?” and “Death by stereo!”
In the end, Haim did die by stereo. It was just the maddening stereo that a young actor might experience in the wild and wacky world of Hollywood. But Corey Haim also died with enough great work in his past for geeks like you and me to remember him for a long, long time.
Now excuse me while I go steal my grandpa’s Caddy and kill me some vampires.