Vampire Cult-Classic The Lost Boys Turns 30 Today!
Thirty years ago today director Joel Schumacher (The Phantom of the Opera, Phone Booth, 8MM) gave us a fresh take on a beloved monster in his stylish cult-classic, The Lost Boys.
We know about vampires.
They are the undying monarchs of the nocturnal realms suspended between the twilight-hue of mortal imagination and taboo desires. They defy the revered laws of the grave and stand in the veil of eternal night beckoning us to draw nigh to their cold embrace. They are the vampire, the nosferatu, children of darkness and seeds of destruction. They are our death and we can’t help but love them.
Vampire lore has been explored in countless films, and has proven to be just as immortal as the creatures themselves. From the earliest days of the haunting era of silent cinema the Vampire has cast its living shadow over audiences and cunningly bewitched every new generation.
Added to the enormous lore of the Vampire is Joel Schumacher’s generation-defining hit The Lost Boys.
Schumacher did something only a true visionary can pull off – redefine a classic icon for a new era.
At its heart the movie is a story of two brothers – Michael (Jason Patrick) and Sam (Corey Haim) – who must deal with the trials of resettling to a new area that is now called home. Moving is never easy and neither is fitting in. It isn’t long before Michael is swept away by the beauty of Star (Jami Gertz) a local girl with a bewitching spark he can’t ignore. Through her, Michael soon meets David (Kiefer Sutherland) and his hip coven of vampires. Yup, not only does it suck to be the new kid, but what if the town you just moved to was infested by the undead? Well, personally I’d love it, but I’m a freak.
Meanwhile, Sam befriends the legendary Frog Brothers – the very group all of us 80’s brats aspired to be. Who didn’t want to be friends with Corey Haim and Corey Feldman while spending all day long at local comic book stores, planning how to save the world from vampires? Fighting monsters with your best friends would have been a dream come true! This movie knew how to relate to all of us.
Even while writing that basic synopsis of the movie it strikes me why the film still works. The older kids could easily relate to the teenage angst Michael was facing. You know, stuff like how to impress a pretty girl, how not to look like a dork in front of the cool crowd, and that overwhelming need to fit in and stop being the new kid. Also the basic trials of accidentally getting wrapped up with the wrong crowd – and not on purpose either.
Michael isn’t a bad kid. He was looking out for his little brother. He was not really that much of a jerk at home to his mom, and sure, he just wanted to make friends. Unfortunately the crowd he befriends just happen to be Hell-spawned vampires. An honest mistake any of us could have made.
Sam spoke to the younger kids in us – the natural face of innocence – who always suspected there were monsters out there in the shadows. Monsters who threatened to upset our family and ruin the stability of our happy-go-lucky lives. The Lost Boys pits both brothers against some very real and identifiable issues we’re all very familiar with.
The movie became an instant classic among fans both young and old. It’s a film that is intimately relatable on nearly every level – and that’s part of its immortal charm. It deals with some very difficult real-life challenges. Moving to a new area. Fitting into a new social group. Single parenting. Peer pressure. Things you and I have to put up with – and not typically the sort of setting you might first consider for a horror movie.
Speaking of unlikely settings, The Lost Boys is filmed around coastal areas of sunny California – Heck, even my backyard is practically in the movie. This film takes its vampires out of the gothic mausoleums we’re so used to and sees them boldly stomping around the Santa Cruz Boardwalk under the silver cast of the risen moon.
That’s right, this is the essential MTV vampire sensation that enchanted my generation. In the glory days of Rock n Roll, punk fashion, video arcades and biker gangs, David and his coven of undead blood-suckers slipped in among society and became one of us.
It made David’s brood of vampires a little more disturbing too. They were just kids, older kids sure, but still they were kids like us. Nothing about them on the outside made us suspect anything out of the ordinary, and what an ingenious idea for a monster. The monster that is more related to our humanity is the very monster you should be most afraid of.
That’s the kind of monster you could be sharing a beer with. Or your bed with. He’s the next-door murderer that you don’t suspect. You’ve been to his barbecues, or as Michael did, had some Chinese noodles and rice with him.
David is the face of modern-day monsters. He’s the one that walks beside us and takes us out before we’re ever the wiser.
Stylish, sexy, and relatable – The Lost Boys still holds up thirty years later. We applaud you.