Drug problems had already effectively cost Haim the career he had been building but now, tragically, if they have not cost him his life they were likely a contributing factor. However, that is all that bears saying as it is my policy with these pieces to not dwell too much on the details of how we lost the entertainer we admired but to try and preserve their memory and Haim in a very short span left quite a mark on the film industry with the parts he played.
His debut was in Firstborn where he played Terri Garr’s son. He is the son of a divorced woman who starts seeing a man named Sam, Peter Wellet, who always seems to be trying a get rich quick scheme but is, in fact, engaged in illegal activities. It is a purely dramatic role in which he is quite strong indeed.
Corey Haim was the actor who brought the character of Marty Coslaw to life on celluloid – Coslaw being the protagonist of King’s short werewolf novel Cycle of the Werewolf, which was called Silver Bullet as a film. It stands not only as one of his most impressive performances but also one of King’s better cinematic adaptations. Later on that same year he appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Murphy’s Romance with Sally Field and James Garner.
1986 brought one of his signature roles as the lovestruck nerd Lucas, few could adequately play both sides of the social spectrum and be convincing on either side. Haim did so with an ease that belied his years.
In 1987 he appeared in the now classic vampire film The Lost Boys and was one of the reasons for its success and it was truly his breakout role. He recently participated in a straight-to-video sequel in the mid-90s and on most of the work he did find was either on TV or straight-to-video projects.
In 1988 he starred in another horror vehicle The Watchers and one of the better known teen movies of the era License to Drive.
By 1989 his private life had been making such headlines that he tried to address them in the video Me, Myself and I. Prayer of the Rollerboys was pretty much Haim’s last hurrah as most had come to know him. Things were never quite the same after that either in his life or his career. Haim made several comeback attempts none of which obviously got him back to where he was previously. As a young screenwriter to aid my visualization of a film I’d frequently find actors to play roles if it suits them; at a time I was writing a character, an adult character fitting his age, with Haim in mind.
One could be cynical and scoff at yet another actor dying young after battling addiction for a bulk of his days but this was a person who lost their life far too soon and before we forget this story and bury it along with all the other unfortunate early losses Hollywood suffered recently with Heath Ledger, Brad Renfro and previously and shockingly with River Phoenix these incidents ought not be forgotten but should serve as a reminder because the only thing worse in this world than wasting away one’s talent is wasting away one’s life.