After a rough divorce, a mom carts her teen sons off to Santa Carla, California to live with their taxidermist grandfather. Unfortunately, Santa Carla is known as the “Murder Capital of the World.” People are going missing and no one knows why. But when older brother Michael (Jason Patric) falls in with the wrong crowd, his younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) is tasked with saving him from the clutches of a gang of motorcycle-riding vampires.
When Joel Schumacher took over directing The Lost Boys (1987) from Richard Donner, he took it from a vampire-themed Goonies rip-off to a 1980s horror classic. Despite now being 35-years-old, The Lost Boys is still a favorite among horror fans of all types, and for good reason. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite vampire movie.
The Cast and Crew
1. The Lost Boys was screenwriters Janice Fischer and James Jeremias’s first film. The script was purchased for $400,000.
2. The original version of the script, written while Richard Donner was tasked with directing, had a younger cast to match the feel of The Goonies (1985). When Joel Shumacher took over as director, the characters were aged-up. At that point, screenwriter Jeffrey Boam took over to alter the script.
3. Jason Patric, who plays Michael, didn’t originally want to be in a vampire movie. He turned the role down several times until Joel Schumacher finally promised lots of creative freedom for the role.
4. Jami Gertz can thank Jason Patric for her role as Star. Schumacher envisioned Star as a waifish blond, but Patric was insistent that Gertz would be perfect for the role. They’d previously starred together in Solarbabies (1986).
5. Kiefer Sutherland was reluctant to join the cast. But when he heard INXS and Jimmy Barnes would be on the soundtrack, he decided to be a part of The Lost Boys. They made some of his favorite music.
Making The Lost Boys
6. The title is a reference to the Lost Boys in J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan books. Just like the vampires in The Lost Boys never get older, Barrie’s Lost Boys never grow up.
7. After an accident while doing a wheelie on his motorcycle, Kiefer Sutherland ended up with a broken wrist and an inconvenient cast. The costume department fitted him with gloves to hide his injury on-camera.
8. Santa Carla’s moniker as “Murder Capital of the World” was based on reality. Three separate killers, John Linley Frazier, Herbert Mullin and Edmund Kemper, murdered 28 people in Santa Cruz, California in the span of 30 months from 1970 to 1973.
9. The theme song, “Cry Little Sister” written by Gerard McMahon, was created specifically for the soundtrack.
10. The Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan, and named after famous American horror author and poet, Edgar Allan Poe.
11. Corey Feldman was actually fired from the film during shooting after he’d arrived on set while coming down from cocaine. He apologized the next day and Joel Schumacher decided to let him come back.
12. While Kiefer Sutherland’s David had the most lines of all of the teen vampires, he had the fewest lines of the rest of the main cast.
13. Greg Cannom, who created the foam latex vampire prosthetics for the film, said this about creating a cast of Kiefer Sutherland’s face:
I did the lifecast with his eyes open, which I learned from Dick Smith. Don’t do that at home! I would never do it now. It’s too easy to find yourself in a lawsuit and the alginate isn’t as good as it used to be. But I got it down really good at the time.Greg Cannom
14. When David’s hand sears in a stream of light in the vampire cave, he tears up. That tear wasn’t in the script and was instead because Kiefer Sutherland’s contacts were irritating his eyes. They decided to keep the show in the film.
15. Star (Jami Gertz) is the only vampire of the cast (in her case, a half-vampire), who we never get to see in the vampire form.
16. Did you notice how shiny the vampires’ blood was? That’s because it was filled with glitter.
17. The Lost Boys is the first piece of media to use the term “vamp out” for when a vampire shows themselves or attacks someone. This would later become a common phrase on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.
18. While it’s thanks in large part to the whispers in the darkness during the train dodging scene, “Michael” was one of the most used words in the script. In total, characters said Michael’s name about 118 times.
19. The train bridge scene was filmed on the Iron Horse Trailhead trestle bridge 40 miles north of Los Angeles off Interstate 5 on the Magic Mountain Parkway. There’s now a pedestrian walkway so fans can experience the bridge themselves.
20. The posters found throughout the movie weren’t random. Each had their own meaning:
- The Doors poster in the vampire lair: The Doors released the original song “People are Strange.”
- Echo and the Bunnymen poster in Sam’s room: The band that covered “People are Strange” for the movie.
- Rob Lowe on Sam’s closet door: Joel Schumacher had just directed him in St. Elmo’s Fire (1985).
21. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 unfortunately destroyed several landmarks from the film. The original comic book shop and the stage where the band plays near the beginning of the movie no longer exist.
22. The original signed copy of the Vampires Everywhere! comic book, created just for the movie, is kept by the owner of Atlantis Fantasyworld in Santa Cruz. Although the original location of the comic book shop–where the Frog brothers kept watch over Santa Carla–is now gone, its new location still has memorabilia from the movie.
23. Corey Haim said on Larry King Live in 2007 that working on The Lost Boys was “one of the greatest personal times in my life.”
24. By the ’90s, Corey Haim (Sam) and Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog) were collectively dubbed “The Coreys” because of the various films they starred in together. The Lost Boys was the very first movie in which they costarred.
25. The music for The Lost Boys helped Joel Schumacher get a job. Andrew Lloyd Weber chose Schumacher for The Phantom of the Opera (2004) because he was so impressed.
Release and Reception
26. The Lost Boys had a meager budget of $8.5 million. It grossed $32.2 million at the box office, making it a commercial success.
27. Every summer, The Lost Boys is shown on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as part of a free summer movie series.
28. Because of it’s longstanding success, it spawned two direct-to-DVD sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) and Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010).
29. Kiefer Sutherland’s brother, Angus Sutherland, starred in the sequel, The Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008).
30. There was originally supposed to be a sequel called The Lost Girls. In it, David would still be alive, which is why his body doesn’t disappear into dust when he’s impaled on deer antlers at the end of The Lost Boys. Unfortunately, The Lost Girls was never made.
31. A sequel comic book came out in 2016, published by DC Comics. It’s set in the ’80s and follows Sam and the Frog brothers as they keep Star safe from a coven of female vampires.
32. A novelization of the film was released in the same year the movie hit theaters. It was written by Craig Shaw Gardner and featured expanded scenes showing Michael’s job as a trash collector and more about the rival gang, the Surf Nazis.
33. The Lost Boys currently has a Rotten Tomato rating of 75% and an audience score of 85%.
34. A new Lost Boys movie was announced in 2021, this time with director Jonathan Entwistle and writer Randy McKinnon. It’s currently being described as a “reimagining” of the original 1987 film, and not a sequel.