“Now you know what we are. Now you know what you are. You’ll never grow old, Michael. And you’ll never die. But you must feed” – Kiefer Sutherland, The Lost Boys (1987)
At the peak of my teen angst phase, the stars aligned and introduced me to The Lost Boys. Well, actually it was my parents who introduced it to me…but still, it was clearly meant to be. After experiencing the balm for my savage 16-year-old soul that was The Lost Boys, I began watching it over and over again. When I turned 17, it was the first R-rated movie I ever bought. After securing that DVD, it has accompanied me through every move (including temporary living situations) over the past 10 years. I am watching that same DVD as I write this post.
Before I break down what I love about this glorious film, allow me to (thoroughly) introduce the story. The movie opens on a sweeping nighttime shot of the ocean and beach in (fictional) Santa Carla, California. The first major action happens on a carousel in the boardwalk carnival, where a lot of subsequent scenes take place throughout the film. We are introduced to an infamous group of young men with motorcyclist leathers and long, styled hair. They are immediately shown to not be welcome by most of the Santa Carla residents. Soon after, when the boardwalk closes for the night, it is implied that the group has even darker secrets.
We then meet the family that star in the film: Michael (Jason Patric), his younger brother, Sam (Corey Haim), and their mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest). Following her divorce, Lucy is moving herself and her sons from Phoenix, Arizona to Santa Carla to live with her eccentric father. Michael and Sam want to know more about Santa Carla’s reputation as the “murder capital of the world,” but they are unsatisfied with what the locals will share with them.
In an attempt to adjust to their new surroundings, Michael and Sam visit the boardwalk at night. There, Sam meets Edgar and Alan Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), two teen brothers who run their parents’ comic book store. In addition to their regular jobs, they are also amateur monster hunters. That same night, Michael sees Star (Jami Gertz) for the first time. Determined to get to know her, Michael joins Star and her friends (who happen to be the troublemakers from the opening scene) the next night for a motorcycle ride on the beach. Their leader, David (Kiefer Sutherland) makes his status clear from the moment they meet and spends their time together tormenting and manipulating Michael. The group (consisting of David, Star, Paul, Dwayne, Marko, and child Laddie) bring Michael to their underground hangout. Just when Michael thinks he has David’s games figured out (and no doubt in an effort to impress Star), Michael ends up drinking David’s blood.
The night is far from over for the group. Michael wakes up at home the next afternoon to a phone call from his mother asking him to stay home that night with his brother so she can go on a date. Michael grudgingly agrees. Home alone, Michael and Sam notice some distressing changes to Michael’s demeanor and physical self. Sam, who has begun reading horror comics, recognizes the signs of what Michael now undoubtedly is: a vampire. Sam enlists the help of the Frog Brothers, who advise Sam to kill his brother immediately; Sam refuses.
Michael returns to the group’s hideout to get some answers. Star, who is the only one willing to help Michael, is also in need of his help to free her and Laddie from the Lost Boys. Meanwhile, Sam tries to learn everything he can from the Frog Brothers. He learns that the “head vampire” must be killed to end all other effects of vampirism on those in their lineage. While Sam and the Frog Brothers investigate and try to put an end to the curse haunting Santa Carla, Michael continues to fight against the new forces within himself and those responsible for making him what he has become.
I love this movie so much as a whole, but there are also unique parts to it that make it such a classic. I have written about it a little bit already, so I will try not to repeat myself. The cinematography, soundtrack, production design, and characters are some of the many carefully-tuned elements that make The Lost Boys a great film overall. The movie is so wonderfully 80s with a perfect balance of horror elements that it sparked my lifelong love of 80s horror and horror comedies. Furthermore, this movie made me appreciate the art of filmmaking in general. The final fight scene in the red-lit taxidermy room lives rent-free in my head every single day. That entire scene is perfection. I have tried to find even one film comparable to the towering awesomeness that is The Lost Boys, and I have yet to find it.
Also, there’s this guy. So.
Like many of my favorite horror movies, I have so many memories associated with The Lost Boys. It has brought some much-needed distraction and entertainment when I need it, even now. It is a film I have shared with so many important people in my life. Its visual and story elements inspire me when I create my own stories and content. Its artistic takes on horror themes paired with perfectly-timed humor has helped me realize my voice in my own creative expression. Some films leave an indelible imprint on those who stumble upon them. The Lost Boys is that movie for me.
Until next time,