“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach… all the damn vampires.”
Long before Stephanie Meyer unleashed the Twilight book series to a teen audience thirsty for vampire tales, movie audiences were introduced to the sleepy coastal town of Santa Carla. It was within this community that teen heartthrobs and fanged villains waged war against one another in the beloved 1987 horror film, The Lost Boys.
Two brothers, Michael and Sam (Jason Patric and Corey Haim, respectively) relocate with their mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest,) to Santa Carla to live with her cranky father. It becomes immediately clear to both teens that this is no ordinary town, with citizens randomly disappearing and a gang of teenage biker thugs roaming the streets. As they settle in to their new surroundings, Lucy gets a job at the local video store located in the heart of town, the boardwalk, while her sons meet some of the strange locals.
Michael sets his amorous sights on a mysterious girl named Star, whose loyalties seem to lie with the local band of thugs. Led by the charismatic David (Kiefer Sutherland), the gang quickly sizes up the newcomer and baits him into a motorcycle race that ominously leads to the edge of a cliff. After Michael narrowly escapes meeting his untimely demise, he attacks David, who says he was merely testing Michael’s bravery. To show there are no hard feelings, David then invites Michael to the group’s hidden hideaway, where he undergoes a somewhat harrowing initiation ceremony. Meanwhile, younger brother Sam has made friends with two local teens, Edgar and Alan Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander, respectively) who read comics by day and hunt vampires by night. They immediately become suspicious of Sam’s older brother and warn the sibling that he must be killed. Sam, not quite up to driving a stake through his big bro, decides there must be a better solution.
The solution, of course, is to kill the head vampire, and that would appear to be Mom’s boss and new boyfriend, Max (Edward Hermann). Head vampires are crafty creatures, however, and certainly don’t go down without a fight. Still, if Sam wants to save his brother, his mom, and perhaps the entire town of Santa Carla, he is going to have to emerge victorious in this pending showdown.
Dark and edgy, and with a cast of actors that read like the front page of Teen Beat magazine, The Lost Boys was an instant hit at the box office, raking in over $30 million. Two decades after the original film, a sequel was released, Lost Boys: The Tribe. The 2008 film reunited many members from the original cast, including both Coreys, Newlander, and Angus Sutherland (Keifer’s brother) stepping in as the new head vampire. A third sequel, Lost Boys: The Thirst was released direct-to-DVD in 2010.
While Twilight may have cornered the current vampire market, the genre owes much of its revival to The Lost Boys. Without this film’s success, we might never have seen a green light given to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nor ever heard the names, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.
If The Lost Boys has a special place in your heart as one of the beloved scary flicks from your childhood, we welcome all of your memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this classic vampire film that helped to resurrect an entire genre.