The Lost Boys is a 1987 American teen horror film starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, Alex Winter, Jamison Newlander, and Barnard Hughes.
The film is about two Arizona brothers who move to California and end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires. The title is a reference to the Lost Boys in J. M. Barrie's stories about Peter Pan and Neverland, who, like the vampires, never grow up.
Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) and his younger brother, Sam (Corey Haim), move with their recently divorced mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest), to the beach community of Santa Carla, California. The family moves in with Lucy's father (Barnard Hughes), a cantankerous and eccentric old man who lives on the outskirts of town and enjoys taxidermy as a hobby.
Michael and Sam begin hanging out on the Boardwalk, which is plastered with flyers of missing people. While Lucy gets a job at a local video store run by a conservative man named Max (Edward Herrmann), Michael becomes fascinated by Star (Jami Gertz), a beautiful young woman he spots at the Boardwalk one night and who is in a relationship with David (Kiefer Sutherland), the mysterious leader of a local gang. Meanwhile, in the local comic book store, Sam meets brothers Edgar and Alan Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), a pair of self-proclaimed vampire hunters, who warn him that Santa Carla has been infiltrated by vampires and give him horror comics to teach him about the threat. Michael finally talks to Star and is approached by David, who goads Michael into following them by motorcycle down the beach until they reach a dangerous cliff, which Michael almost goes over. At the gang's headquarters, a sunken luxury hotel beneath the cliff, David initiates Michael into the group, having him drink from a bottle of wine. Star warns Michael not to drink, telling him it's blood, but Michael ignores her advice. Later on, David and the others, including Michael, head to the train tracks where they hang off the edge over a foggy gorge below and all fall down into the gorge; Michael loses his grip and falls down with them.
The next day, Michael develops a thirst for blood and impulsively tries to attack Sam. Sam's dog, Nanook, retaliates, pushing Michael away from Sam and biting him in the hand. Sam realizes that Michael is turning into a vampire by his brother's reflection in the mirror being transparent. A terrified Sam flees to his room with Michael trying to talk to him about the situation. After Michael retreats to his room, he begins to develop supernatural powers. He realizes he is turning into a vampire, and asks Star for help, but has sex with her shortly afterwards. From comic books, Sam discovers that, since Michael has not killed anyone, he is a "half-vampire" and his condition can be reversed upon the death of the "head vampire." The next day, Sam and the Frog brothers conclude that Max is the head vampire, and test this theory whilst he is dating Lucy. However, Max passes every test and appears to be human.
In an attempt to force him into killing, David takes Michael to stalk a group of beachgoers, and instigates a feeding frenzy. Horrified by the sight, Michael escapes and returns home to Sam. Star arrives, and reveals herself as a half-vampire who is looking to be cured. It emerges that David had intended for Michael to be Star's first kill, sealing her fate as a vampire. The next day, a weakening Michael leads Sam and the Frog brothers to the gang's lair. They impale one of the vampires, Marko, with a stake, awakening David and the two others, but the boys escape, rescuing Star and Laddie, a half-vampire child and Star's brother.
That evening while Lucy is on a date with Max and the grandfather is out of the house, the teens arm themselves with holy water filled water guns, a longbow, and stakes, and board themselves up from the attacking vampires. Night falls and David and the gang attack the house. The Frog brothers and Nanook manage to kill one of the vampires by pushing him in a bathtub filled with garlic and holy water, dissolving him to the bone. Sam is attacked by Dwayne, another vampire, and shoots an arrow from his longbow into Dwayne which goes through his heart and into the stereo behind him, electrocuting him and causing parts of his body to explode. Michael is then attacked by David, forcing him to use his vampire powers. He overpowers David and impales him on a set of antlers. However, Michael, Star, and Laddie do not transform back to normal with David's death as they had hoped. Lucy and Max return home and Max is revealed to be the head vampire. He informs the boys that to invite a vampire into one's house renders one powerless, explaining why their earlier summation had been incorrect. Max's objective had been to get Lucy to be a "mother" for his "lost boys." As he prepares to transform her, he is killed when Grandpa crashes his jeep through the wall of the house, impaling Max on a wooden fence post and causing him to explode. Michael, Star, and Laddie then return to normal.
The film ends with Grandpa casually retrieving a drink from the refrigerator, seemingly oblivious to the carnage around him. He then declares, "One thing about living in Santa Carla - I never could stomach...all the damn vampires."
- Jason Patric as Michael Emerson
- Corey Haim as Sam Emerson
- Kiefer Sutherland as David (Lost Boys)
- Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog
- Jamison Newlander as Alan Frog
- Jami Gertz as Star
- Edward Herrmann as Max
- Barnard Hughes as Grandpa
- Dianne West as Lucy Emerson
- Brooke McCarter as Paul
- Billy Wirth as Dwayne
- Alex Winter as Marko
- Chance Michael Corbitt as Laddie
- Alexander Bacon Chapman as Greg
- Nori Morgan as Shelly
- Kelly Jo Minter as Maria
- Tim Cappello as Saxophone Player
The majority of the film was shot in the city of Santa Cruz, California, and in the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains, although the name of the fictional town is Santa Carla. The amusement park scenes were filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The same park appeared in Brotherhood of Justice (also starring Kiefer Sutherland). The Boardwalk also was seen in the Dirty Harry sequel Sudden Impact, Harold and Maude, and Dangerous Minds. The inside of the cave and house were filmed on Stages 12 and 15 at Warner Brothers.
The first screenplay written by Janice Fischer and James Jeremias, was about "a bunch of Goonies-type5th-6th grade kid vampires", with the Frog Brothers as "chubby 8-year-old Cub Scouts", and Star appearing as a boy instead of a love interest. The original inspiration came from James Jeremias, who caught upon the notion that Peter Pan could fly, visited Wendy and her brothers at night, and never grew old. The simple notion that Peter Pan was a vampire was the genesis for the story. In the first draft of the script, the character of David—later played by Kiefer Sutherland—was originally named Peter, and other characters also had names from the Peter Pan story. In the final draft, many name changes were made, but originally the two brothers were Michael and John (which was later changed to Sam) and the mother's name was Wendy. The most obvious nod to the Pan story is the dog, Nanook, inspired by the character Nana the dog. The Grandfather character was never a part of the original story but later created in the draft by Jeffrey Boam, who was hired to do the final rewrite. The Frog Brothers, Edgar and Alan, are named after the Gothic author, Edgar Allan Poe. Executive producer Richard Donner originally intended to direct the movie himself, but as production languished, he moved on to Lethal Weapon (1987)—and eventually hired Joel Schumacher, crediting his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner for the idea. Joel Schumacher hated the material and averred that he would only sign on if he could change the characters to teenagers, believing this would be sexier and more interesting.
The Lost Boys grossed over $32 million. Its tagline was: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire."
Critical reception was generally positive. Roger Ebert gave the movie two-and-a-half out of four stars, praising the cinematography and "a cast that's good right down the line," but ultimately describing Lost Boys as a triumph of style over substance and "an ambitious entertainment that starts out well but ends up selling its soul." Caryn James of The New York Times called Dianne Wiest's character a "dopey mom" and Barnard Hughes's character "a caricature of a feisty old Grandpa." She found the film more of a comedy than a horror and the finale "funny". Elaine Showalter comments that "the film brilliantly portrays vampirism as a metaphor for the kind of mythic male bonding that resists growing up, commitment, especially marriage." On Rotten Tomatoes, the film maintains a rating of 72%. with the critical consensus "Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars." On Metacritic it has a rating of 63/100. It won a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film in 1987.