Thanks to a perfect cast and soundtrack, “The Lost Boys” remains one of the most influential and iconic vampire films — still relevant 30 years later.
Thanks to “Twilight” and “The Vampire Diaries”, teen vamps now seem more cuddly than terrifying…but it hasn’t always been that way.
The Lost Boys is my favorite vampire movie. It has been since I first saw it in the theater in 1987. I’ve owned it on VHS, DVD, and now, Blu-ray and Digital. I recently revisited it with my my son and girlfriend, both of whom had never seen the movie.
Teen vampires are extremely common now. They inhabit YA novels, movies, and our televisions. Unlike recent teen trends where vampires sparkle in the sunshine or wear magic rings that let them walk in daylight, the vampires in The Lost Boys are brutal killers while still enjoying their eternal youth. There is no brooding over their lives.
As their leader David (Kiefer Sutherland) says, “You won’t ever grow old…and you’ll never die, but you must feed.”
Lucy (Dianne Wiest) moves to Santa Carla, California with her two boys Michael and Sam (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) to live with her dad (Barnard Hughes) after a messy divorce. While Lucy tries to rebuild their lives and begins to date her boss (Edward Herrmann), Michael and Sam begin to adjust to their new surroundings.
Sam runs into the Frog Brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) who try to warn him about the nightlife in Santa Carla. Michael falls for Star (Jami Gertz) and gets involved with a local gang led by David, who unbeknownst to Michael, are vampires intent on him joining them.
The Lost Boys is a quintessential 80s film. From the setting to the costumes to the music to the pairing of the two Coreys, it is a product of that decade. However, the movie also holds up really well against modern horror films and is a fantastic take on vampire lore.
While in the original concept, the vampires were supposed to be even younger (reference to Peter Pan), the director aged them to teens with model good looks and is probably responsible for most of the YA series. Joss Whedon counts the film as an influence when he created Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The casting is perfection.
Kiefer Sutherland exudes both charm and a darkness that makes his David one of my favorite vampires in any movie. The two Coreys show their natural chemistry that linked them until Haim’s death in 2010. Oscar winner Dianne Wiest is phenomenal as the boys struggling mom, and Barnard Hughes is delightful as her dad, a curmudgeonly old fart who provides loads of comic relief.
The iconic soundtrack was a staple in my car for most of my young adult life. “Cry Little Sister” by Gerard McMann, Echo and the Bunnymen’s cover of “People Are Strange”, INXS, Roger Daltrey, Lou Gramm — every song is a perfect fit for the movie and great for a road trip.
Short of the original Bela Lugosi film and maybe 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Lost Boys is, in my opinion, one of the most influential vampire films in cinematic history.
It’s one of those movies that I find myself drawn back to again and again.