The Lost Boys Turns 30: 80s Punk Rock Vampires Need A Comeback

Before vampires became mopey, self-hating, glowing pedophiles, director Joel Schumacher let loose The Lost Boys. The vampire story is a rare one by today’s standards. It oozes 80s punk rock aesthetic and attitudes. The monsters are monsters with little sympathy afforded to most of them. The Lost Boys is a raw horror story with a dose of comedy and plenty of attitude. It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination. But The Lost Boys is the very definition of a cult classic. It’s endlessly quotable, features a pitch-perfect cast, and a great soundtrack. The Lost Boys earned every bit of its cult status.

A Look Back At The Lost Boys 30 Years Later

If you’re reading this and have never watched The Lost Boys then do yourself a favor and finish this article, click on a few more articles, then watch the movie. 🙂

The Lost Boys is the story of two brothers from Arizona, Sam (Corey Haim) and Mike (Jason Patric) who move out to a small fictional town in California by the name of Santa Clara with their recently divorced mother. Immediately, the city strikes Mike as weird when he sees “Murder Capital of the World” scribbled on the back of a billboard. As Sam and Mike explore their new surroundings, Mike is mesmerized by Star (Jamie Gertz), a beautiful young woman. Soon after, Mike meets Star’s controlling boyfriend David (Keifer Sutherland) who leads a small gang of hooligans. David, the hooligans, and Star turn out to be vampires.

In any other movie, this scene wouldn’t be memorable. However, in The Lost Boys, the moment is elevated to unforgettable status.

After a dark prologue featuring David as a mysterious, brooding man in black, The Lost Boys moves into a family-friendly ride with Mike, Sam, and mom Lucy (Dianne Wiest). However, the moment Mike sees an ominous message scrawled on the back of the billboard, the film cements its tone. A cover of The Doors’ “People Are Strange” by Echo and the Bunnymen kicks in for a minute of establishing this weird little town. And the sequence flows into the start of Mike’s journey with Star.

Mike sees the alluring Star at an outdoor concert. Schumacher interlaces shots of head banging crowds all listening to a band doing a cover of “I Still Believe” by The Calls. In any other movie, this scene wouldn’t be memorable. However, in The Lost Boys, the moment is elevated to unforgettable status. The lead singer of the band is a sweaty, shirtless body builder pretending to play the saxophone. Bulging sweet bombs for arms pump out towards the crowd while “Sexy Sax Man,” as he’s come to be known, gyrates and roars “I STILL BELIEVE!”

Soon after falling for Star, Mike meets David played with a luscious badassery by Sutherland. In every look and grin from Sutherland, there is a depth that spirals down into a monster. Unlike Louis from Interview with a Vampire or Edward Cullen or Angel, David LOVES being a vampire. Buffy fans won’t be surprised to learn that Whedon acknowledged Sutherland’s character as inspiration for Spike years later.

Fun Fact: Whedon credits The Lost Boys with a lot, including the vampires morphing from man to monster.

The main plot thread of The Lost Boys is David’s attempts to sire Mike and lure him to the dark side. However, Sam plays the counter, trying to retain his brother’s humanity. Haim’s Sam is helped by Edgar and Allen Frog, two serious geeks who know all about the vampires behind Santa Clara. Edgar Frog, played by Corey Feldman, marks the first pairing of the Coreys on film. Feldman channeled every 80s action star into a gruff kid that takes himself too seriously but for all the right reasons. Jamison Newlander as Allen Frog doesn’t say much but accentuates everything Feldman does with sneers, nods, and crossed arms.

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For two acts the film plays like the love child of Near Dark and Goonies, and there is a reason for that. Initially, the script for The Lost Boys was designed to be a sort of Goonies with vampires. Sutherland’s David, dripping with a delicious syrup of nefarious was supposed to be a pre-teen. Schumacher changed all that when he was brought in to direct. The American director added the darker elements and used the low budget to his advantage when he conceived of the unsettling “first-person” flying instead of consistently showing the people themselves flying around.

On the downside, sure, the movie’s plot is razor thin. The ending sequence and “twist” are the weakest parts. It’s perhaps the one section of the film where the disparity between pre-teen adventure comedy and stylized horror movie collide instead of compliment. However, it doesn’t matter because of the strengths of the movie, like many Schumacher films, are the director’s sense of style and Sutherland’s David which is angsty villainy at its best.

Happy 30th birthday to The Lost Boys. Like the immortal beings in the film, the movie has aged well.

Ruben Diaz
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.