Joel Schumacher’s 1987 film inspired many bands and even had influences on iconic vampire shows, such as Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Now the CW is putting together a new series re-telling the story of the Frog Brothers, Michael and Star, and the leather-clad vampires. With the Lost Boys remake on the way, it’s time to reminisce about one of the most memorable vampire movies of the eighties.
Lost Boys came from the Peter Pan legend, but when Schumacher joined the project he aged up the characters to their teen years. It’s hard to believe that Michael and the other Lost Boys are eighteen years old in this movie. The film was the first of its kind; the network “sincerely believed the two genres [horror and comedy] couldn’t work together.”
Ironically, Schumacher says “Gotta’ have the beautiful blonde with the great [form] screaming in horror movie. Tradition.” Once again sparking Whedon’s revolt against said tradition with Buffy. Now a “tradition” that will hopefully never appear in the Lost Boys remake, especially given the rumor that the Frog Brothers will instead be the Frog Sisters.
Whether your part of the cult following or interested to see what the modern adaptation will do with a story that fits squarely into eighties tradition, the Lost Boys is a reboot to watch.
“Sleep all day. Party all night. It’s fun to be a vampire.”
Here are 20 Hidden Things Fans Completely Missed In Lost Boys.
20 A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
Horror has its legends throughout history that have championed the genre in the literary and now into the media of today. Among such names as Mary Shelley and H.P. Lovecraft is the legendary poet and storyteller Edgar Allen Poe. With the groundbreaking Lost Boys come the two junior hunters: the Frog brothers, Edgar and Allen. Their names pay homage to the legendary horror writer and poet Edgar Allen Poe. He is also accredited to being a part of, if not the creator of the detective genre, which is the brother’s primary function in the movie.
19 EASTER EGGS AND BUNNYMEN
The movie leaves Easter eggs of the soundtrack throughout the movie: there’s a poster of Jim Morrison who recorded the original People are Strange with The Doors. And when Star and Laddie are being carried to Sam’s room there’s a poster of Echo and the Bunnymen who recorded the version used in the movie. Schumacher says he “felt that the Lost Boys would be big Doors fans… To me, had the perfect combination of nihilism – and poetry.” One of the reasons the movie became such a success is because of its soundtrack, many high profile bands, such as INXS, contributed to the music for a movie that the studio wasn’t sure would work at all.
18 A MERRY GO ROUND OF FORESHADOWING
Like many movies of the era, Lost Boys loves foreshadowing. It is used constantly throughout the film, the most significant instance being the merry-go-round. The merry-go-round scene is a foreshadowing of the Lost Boy’s ends: first Marko, then Paul, Dwayne, and David. However, David was not destroyed in any vampire-specific way and likely survived his supposed ‘demise,’ meant to reprise his role in the never-made sequel, The Lost Girls. It was also suggested in the comic mini-series that he made the vampire Shane from Lost Boys: The Tribe. This is also the most subtle of all foreshadowing used in the film, which is usually so direct it’s a little on the nose.
17 NOT MUCH TO EAT IN THE DESERT
The merry-go-round sequence, aside from being extremely spooky, is the most pivotal of all foreshadowing that occurs throughout the movie. All the characters with the Lost Boys on the merry-go-round are the ones the vampires picked off throughout the film. First, the security guard that broke up the fight, then the blonde and her boyfriend in the car and finally the rest of gang that tussled with the vampires (not the smartest move). The last scene, set to a dusty, desert backdrop and an orange haze (the same as their eyes), involved the iconic biting of person and it was the first time we actually see the Lost Boys as vampires.
16 THE SOUNDS OF THE END
Edgar also foreshadows the particulars of the downfalls of the vampires. “No two vamps [perish] the same way, some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode.” Marko is staked while sleeping and screams, and Paul dissolves in a holy water bathtub causing the plumbing to implode. Both Dwayne and Max blow up, one in an electric “demise by stereo,” the other after a sizeable stake to the heart straight into the fireplace. David is quiet. He lies, skewered by antlers, seemingly deceased. It never occurs to our young hunters that antlers are never mentioned to be a method of vampire destruction.
15 SANTA WHERE?
Santa Carla doesn’t actually exist. For Americans it’s probably easier to tell the “[crime] capital of the world” in the movie is actually Santa Cruz, but for others who might not recognize the landmarks, it’s a bit of a surprise. At the time the town, being a family tourist location wanted to avoid being associated with the crime, already reeling from the history of a few serial criminals in the seventies. Specifically, given the “interesting and unusual people” that were part of “Boardwalk life,” Santa Cruz “Didn’t want to be known for teenage [crime].” These days they embrace their vampiric horror history and are proud to be the location of the new horror flick, Us.
14 MICHAEL MICHAEL MICHAEL!
There are certain things that only happen in eighties movies and one of them is a constant, almost nauseating bout of name repetition. Egging someone on by repeating their name occasionally occurs in modern movies during drinking games, but is never found in the same frequency as Lost Boys. “Michael” or “Mike” is said over one hundred times in the movie. Most of these occur in the cave scene where Michael begins his transition into being a vampire. He is roused by his name being chanted after being told to drink “som,e,” which turned out to be David’s blood. Somehow he didn’t notice and shortly after he dropped from a cliff in a strange slow-motion moment, waking up disheveled in his bed.
13 I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE
Schumacher pays tribute to his 1985 success in the movie St. Elmo’s Fire with a “shameless” poster of Rob Lowe. The movie was a coming of age film about some recent graduates of Georgetown University (Washington D.C.). Lowe starred next to other actors, such as Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy and Judd Nelson. He included the poster in Sam’s room, who was meant to be someone a little too into the current fads; a “fashion reject.” Schumacher enjoyed leaving Easter eggs in Lost Boys from his other movies. The poster was another provocative teenage male symbol.
12 AHHH… BUDGETING AT ITS FINEST
The film was small so they “didn’t have a lot of time and money to make the movie so one of the choices made was to really not show the vampires as vampires or that they could fly till the very end of the film.” The budget meant they “couldn’t afford those visual effects.” To save finances they “did everything in the film in camera so it’s really happening as you see it…” This worked out to be quite effective, making the vampire reveal later in the film and with eighties visual effects, using just the camera made it far more believable and effective. “Many times what you don’t see is scarier than what you do see and we were banking on that to sort of get you through this and create a mystery.”
11 JUST A COUPLE GREEN SCREENS
There are only two green screen shots in the movie. With the budget so low these only last a couple seconds each and both occur in the climactic final fight scene. The first is when Sam is pulled into the air by vampire Dwayne. This only occurs for a moment and the reveal after constant camera-only flight shots would have played well for the audience in theatres. The second is the long-awaited moment when David and Michael fly at each other to do battle. The green screen is only used briefly, but it’s a moment fans have been waiting for since the beach bike race. In a modern context, these effects look silly but were quite the accomplishment at the time. It’ll be worth seeing how the CW’s reboot handles the flight scenes.
10 WAIT, IS THAT ME?!
After the drive-in scene with Michael, his mother (Lucy) and brother (Sam), we move to the Boardwalk. This is filmed in Santa Cruz and features many shots showing the people who live there, especially the teenagers. Instead of actors or extras, Lost Boys features real, average kids on the street. Movies now rarely feature shots like these, usually blocking off entire city blocks to fill with their extras so they get the shots they want. It’s hard to imagine walking into a cinema in Santa Cruz and watching the opening shots on the supposed “Santa Carla” Boardwalk, only to see yourself clad in punk boots and black lipstick, taking a stroll in the sun.
9 CHAINS AND SAWS
A subtle case of foreshadowing to the final vampire battle is when the two boys arrive at their grandfather’s home. Michael says, “This is a pretty cool place.” To which Sam replies, “For the Chain Saw Massacre.” They mention the film again upon finding their grandfather’s taxidermy room. The inspiration for the referenced movie has a similar feel to the Lost Boys. The villains taking young men and digging up bodies, the deceased ‘rising up.’
This 1974 movie was inspired by two criminals: Elmer Wayne Henley, and “the Butcher of Plainfield,” Ed Gein. In Lost Boys, it turns out that the entire plot only happened because the head vampire was ‘crushing’ on the mother, Lucy.
8 POPULATION PROBLEMS
It isn’t until the final scene where the audience realizes that all along the Grandfather knew about Santa Carla’s vampires. In fact, at the time of the film’s initial release, many audience members had the grandfather pegged for the “head vamp.” He suggests, “If all the [bodies] buried around here were to stand up all at once we’d have one [heck] of a population problem.” At the time, vampires (in an era not crazed with the vampire mythology) hadn’t been revealed as the monsters, but this gives the audience a little clue. Some vampire mythology suggests that humans need to have vampire blood in their system, be buried and resurrected, then drink human blood, to complete the transition.
7 JUST LIKE PETER PAN
Sam and Michael’s mother, Lucy, turned out to be the pivotal point of the entire story. The head vampire, Max, takes an interest in her and seeks to establish a romantic relationship, creating a happy little vampire family. The audience gets a small clue as to this plot point when Lucy meets Max. Right beforehand she finds a little boy calling for his “mom” right before the vampire David and Max appear on screen at the video store. She asks the boy, “Are you lost?” Right afterward she meets Max, the ‘father’ of the Lost Boys. He begins courting her, much like Michael’s attempt to woo Star. The leader (Pan) loses his mortal love (Wendy), who favors her human family over the “Lost Boys.”
6 THANK YOU MTV!
A lot of the images in Lost Boys were combined and are very hallucinogenic and substance-induced in their effect, particularly in the ‘Michael drinking blood’ scene in the lair. According to Schumacher, MTV “music videos educated a whole new generation to surreal images and non-sequitur storytelling. A lot of things we did in this movie would have seemed too odd to people before MTV… and that gave us a lot of license to play with things.” The effects of Michael’s transition from human to “half-vampire” play out as if he’d taken something or had a rather rowdy night out with the boys, instead of a transformation into one of the children of the night.
5 HUNTERS ON FOUR LEGS
Sam and Michael’s dog is named “Nanook.” Nanook of the North is a feature-length documentary from 1922 about a family living in harsh environments. They have husky puppies and are “always seen with smiles on their faces, even when they’re eating raw meat and their cheeks are caked in blood.” The smiles and bloodied cheeks act as another allusion to vampirism, similar to the gang-feeding scene.
Nanook is also in Inuit mythology as “the master of bears,” deciding if “hunters deserved success in finding and hunting bears and punished violations of taboos.” The dog Nanook is the first of his family to realize Michael is a vampire and is particularly close to Sam, who later joins the Frog Brothers as a vampire hunter.
4 EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN
Max is meant to be a surprise bad-guy at the end; he is presented as seemingly at risk and in danger as the normal guy before that. Like Sam, he also has a dog, named Thorn. Max appears to be the ‘rose.’ He’s a nice guy, potential love interest and, likely, a delicate, red-blooded victim. However, he has fangs of his own (the ‘thorn’). The dog’s name acts as a clue to his identity. He’s also revealed to be a “Hound of [The Underworld]” that protects its vampire master during the daytime. This was the last puzzle piece for Sam, who figured out the entire plot halfway through the movie.
3 THOSE OCEAN EYES
In the same scene, Michael shows his new vampire presence for the first time, almost attacking Sam, his eyes are glazed over. He looks like a man possessed. His irises, usually a famous piercing blue, have dulled to a stormy grey and his pupils have faded to mimicking that same effect. Whether this was a costume decision or an effect achieved through lighting, the end result works to show Michael’s change, even without the full vampire make-up. It isn’t until he is taken to a hunt with the Lost Boys that he actually has real vampire eyes, which appear orange.
2 THE NEW STOKER
A bat-styled kite is aimed at Max, further framing him to be a victim, which acts as a little kudos to the fact that the myth of vampires flying originally came from bats. The myth is associated with the legend Vlad (Dracula) The Impaler (ruler of Walachia who would impale his victims) who would become the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s most famous work (Dracula, 1897). Vampirism and bats actually became associated around the European settlement of the Americas when explorers discovered Desmodus Rotundus, a bat that actually drank blood and was given the official term ‘Vampire Bat’ in 1810. It’s a traditional vampire trait, but one that’s fading out in the era of the vampire craze.
1 I DIDN’T FILM WHAT?
Small budgets are hard. It’s one thing to film with fewer resources than you’d like, it’s another to realize you forgot to film an entire scene. The vampires leaving their lair to attack Michael, Sam, and the Frog brothers in the film was never shot; it’s re-used footage.
Schumacher took a shot of some prosthetic feet that he came up with during editing. Then he re-used footage from the sleeping vampire scene, the Boardwalk and then rewound the fly-in scene. While it doesn’t make any sense that the vampires would fly out in reverse, along with the tides and waves, it strangely works and fans were none the wiser.