The Lost Boys

For other uses, see Lost Boys (disambiguation).
The Lost Boys

Theatrical release poster by John Alvin.
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Produced by Harvey Bernhard
Screenplay by Janice Fischer
James Jeremias
Jeffrey Boam
Story by
  • Janice Fischer
  • James Jeremias
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Michael Chapman
Edited by Robert Brown
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • July 31, 1987 (1987-07-31)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8.5 million
Box office $32.2 million

The Lost Boys is a 1987 American horror comedy 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 young 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.

The film was followed by two direct to video sequels, Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst.


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 man named Max (Edward Herrmann), Michael becomes fascinated by Star (Jami Gertz), a young woman he spots at the Boardwalk one night and who is in a relationship with David (Kiefer Sutherland), the 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. 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 beach goers, 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 companion.

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 manages to overpower 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 assumption had been incorrect. Max's objective had been to get Lucy to be a mother for his lost boys. As Max pulls Lucy to him, preparing to transform her, he is killed when Grandpa crashes his jeep through the wall of the house and impales Max on a wooden fence post, 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."



The majority of the film was shot in Santa Cruz, California, including the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains and Pogonip open space preserve. Originally, the script called for Santa Cruz to be the name of the fictional town where the "lost boys" hunted their prey. But the Santa Cruz city council strongly objected to the town being portrayed as the "murder capital of the world" and refused to grant filming permits unless the production company change the scripted city name. Ironically, it was Santa Cruz's true crime history which attracted the producers to the beach town in the first place. In the late 1970's, Santa Cruz gained an unpopular reputation as "Murdersville, USA" and as being "the Murder Capital of the World" after three infamous serial killers(Kemper, Mullin and Carpenter, aka the Trailside Killer) were found to have hunted victims in the area. The producers, however, relented and the fictional town of "Santa Carla" replaced "Santa Cruz" in the film.

During production, the director filmed the amusement park scenes at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the concert scenes on the main stretch of beach running parallel with the Boardwalk. But, this wasn't the first film to have done so. The Beach Boardwalk was, for a time in the late 70's and 80's, a coveted filming location for many movies including "Tilt" with Brooke Shields, the third Dirty Harry sequel Sudden Impact with Clint Eastwood, Sweet Liberty" with Alan Alda," Dangerous Minds with Michelle Pfeifer and the B-movie cult classic, "Killer Clowns from Outer Space." Even Huey Lewis and the News got into the act filming the Boardwalk and It's Beach for their music video, "If This Is it," at the dawn of MTV videos.

The first screenplay written by Janice Fischer and James Jeremias, was about "a bunch of Goonies-type 5th-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). Richard Franklin was going to direct but fell out with Donner[1] who eventually hired Joel Schumacher,[2] 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.[2]

Schumacher later remembered his experience making the film:

We really didn't know what we were doing then! (laughs) We made it up as we went along. The studio was incredibly patient and supportive considering they'd never heard of Kiefer Sutherland, or Jason Patric, or Jamie Gertz, or Corey Haim... it was another big chance taken by a studio. We were very lucky. A lot of people at the studio didn't think you could mix horror and humor.[2]


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."[3]

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."[4] 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".[5] 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."[6]

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. The film has since developed a cult following.

The mythographer A. Asbjørn Jøn has commented on the way that the influence of The Lost Boys has helped shift popular culture depictions of vampires since its release.[7]


As was the case for many of Warner Brothers' films at the time, Craig Shaw Gardner was given a copy of the script and asked to write a short novel to accompany the film's release. It was released in paperback by Berkley Publishing and is 220 pages long. It includes several scenes later dropped from the film such as Michael working as a trash collector for money to buy his leather jacket. It expands the roles of the opposing gang, the Surf Nazis, who were seen as nameless victims of the vampires in the film. It includes several tidbits of vampire lore, such as not being able to cross running water and salt sticking to their forms.


Kiefer Sutherland's character David is impaled on a pair of antlers but does not explode or dissolve in any way. He was intended to not be dead, which would be picked up in a sequel, The Lost Girls. Scripts for this and other sequels circulated, and the original film's director, Joel Schumacher, made several attempts at a sequel during the 1990s.

David makes a reappearance in the 2008 comic book series, Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs, which serves as a sequel to the first film and a prequel to Lost Boys: The Tribe, and explains that the antlers missed David's heart.

A direct-to-DVD sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe, was released more than 21 years after the release of the original film. Corey Feldman returned as Edgar Frog, with a cameo by Corey Haim as Sam Emerson. Kiefer Sutherland's half-brother Angus Sutherland played the lead vampire.

In March 2009, MTV reported that work had begun on a third film entitled Lost Boys: The Thirst, with Feldman serving as an executive producer in addition to playing Edgar Frog, and Newlander returning as Alan Frog.[8] Haim, who was not slated to be part of the cast, died in March 2010. The film was released on DVD on October 12, 2010.

In July 2016, Vertigo stated for a release of a miniseries comics starting on October 12, 2016 where Michael, Sam and the Frog Brothers must protect Star from her sisters, the Blood Belles.[9]

TV series

The CW and Rob Thomas are developing a Lost Boys TV series that will be set over 70 years, each season chronicling a decade starting with season 1 set in 1967 in San Francisco during the summer of love.[10]


The Lost Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released July 31, 1987
October 25, 1990 (CD release)
Genre Soundtrack
Length 41:14
Label Atlantic[11]/WEA
Professional ratings
Review scores

Thomas Newman wrote the original score as an eerie blend of orchestra and organ arrangements, while the music soundtrack contains a number of notable songs and several covers, including "Good Times", a duet between INXS and former Cold Chisel lead singer Jimmy Barnes which reached No. 2 on the Australian charts in early 1987. This cover version of a 1960s Australian hit by the Easybeats was originally recorded to promote the Australian Made tour of Australia in early 1987, headlined by INXS and Barnes.

Tim Cappello's cover of The Call's "I Still Believe" was featured in the film as well as on the soundtrack. Cappello makes a small cameo appearance in the movie playing the song at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, with his saxophone and bodybuilder muscles on display.

The soundtrack also features a cover version of The Doors' song "People are Strange" by Echo & the Bunnymen. The song as featured in the movie is an alternate, shortened version with a slightly different music arrangement.

Lou Gramm, lead singer of Foreigner, also recorded "Lost in the Shadows" for the soundtrack, along with a video which featured clips from the film.[13]

The theme song, "Cry Little Sister", was originally recorded by Gerard McMahon (under his pseudonym Gerard McMann) for the soundtrack, and later re-released on his album "G Tom Mac" in 2000. In the film's sequel, "Cry Little Sister" was covered by a Seattle-based rock band, Aiden.[14]

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Good Times" by INXS and Jimmy Barnes – 3:49 (The Easybeats)
  2. "Lost in the Shadows (The Lost Boys)" by Lou Gramm – 6:17
  3. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Roger Daltrey – 6:09 (Elton John/Bernie Taupin)
  4. "Laying Down the Law" by INXS and Jimmy Barnes – 4:24
  5. "People Are Strange" by Echo & the Bunnymen – 3:36 (The Doors)
  6. "Cry Little Sister (Theme from The Lost Boys)" by Gerard McMann – 4:46
  7. "Power Play" by Eddie & the Tide – 3:57
  8. "I Still Believe" by Tim Cappello – 3:42 (The Call)
  9. "Beauty Has Her Way" by Mummy Calls – 3:56
  10. "To the Shock of Miss Louise" by Thomas Newman – 1:21

The soundtrack was first released on LP and cassette in 1987 by Atlantic Records, then CD in 1990.

See also


  2. 1 2 3 Simon, Alex (February 1999). "Joel Schumacher: Safe In The Dark". Venice Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  3. Kaufman, Gil (2010-03-10). "Corey Haim's 'The Lost Boys' Was The Original Teen Vampire Flick". Retrieved 2010-05-09.
  4. "The Lost Boys". Chicago Sun-Times.
  5. James, Caryn (July 31, 1987). "Film: 'The Lost Boys'". The New York Times.
  6. Showalter, Elaine. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Virago Press, 1995, p. 183.
  7. Jøn, A. Asbjørn (2001). "From Nosteratu to Von Carstein: shifts in the portrayal of vampires". Australian Folklore: A Yearly Journal of Folklore Studies. University of New England (16): 97–106. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  8. "MTV Movies Blog » 'Lost Boys' Threequel On The Way, Corey Feldman To Return". 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  9. Prudom, Laura (July 15, 2016). "'The Lost Boys' Sequel Comic in the Works from Vertigo (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  10. Andreeva, Nellie (August 18, 2016). "'The Lost Boys' TV Series Based On Movie In Works At The CW With Rob Thomas". Deadline.
  11. 1 2 Harris, Mark H. (August 18, 2005). "The Cut-Out Bin #2: Soundtrack, Lost Boys (1987)". PopMatters.
  12. "The Lost Boys - Original Soundtrack". Allmusic.
  13. 80s Music Channel: Lost in the Shadows
  14. 80s Music Channel: Cry Little Sister
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