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The Lost Boys is a 1987 American horror film directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Corey Haim, Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, Alex Winter, Jamison Newlander, and Barnard Hughes.

The Lost Boys
Lost boys.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byJoel Schumacher
Produced byHarvey Bernhard
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Janice Fischer
  • James Jeremias
Music byThomas Newman
CinematographyMichael Chapman
Edited byRobert Brown
Warner Bros.
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 31, 1987 (1987-07-31)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8.5 million
Box office$32.2 million

The film is about two brothers who move to California to a fictional beach town called "Santa Carla", 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. Most of the film was shot in Santa Cruz, California.

The film was a critical and commercial success. It has spawned a franchise with two sequels (Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst), two comic book series and a future television series.


Brothers Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) Emerson travel with their recently divorced mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) to the (fictional) small beach town of "Santa Carla", California, to live with her eccentric father, referred to simply as Grandpa (Barnard Hughes). Michael and Sam begin hanging out at the boardwalk, which is plastered with flyers of missing people, while Lucy gets a job at a video store run by a local bachelor, Max (Ed Herrmann). Michael becomes fascinated by Star (Jami Gertz), a young woman he spots on the boardwalk, though she seems to be in a relationship with the mysterious David (Kiefer Sutherland), the leader of a young biker gang. In the local comic book store, Sam meets brothers Edgar (Corey Feldman) and Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander), a pair of self-proclaimed vampire hunters, who give him horror comics to teach him about the threat they claim has infiltrated the town.

Michael finally talks to Star and is approached by David, who goads him into following them by motorcycle along the beach until they reach a dangerous cliff, which Michael almost goes over. At the gang's hangout, a sunken luxury hotel beneath the cliff, David initiates Michael into the group. Star warns Michael not to drink from an offered bottle, telling him it's blood, but Michael ignores her advice. Later on, David and the others, including Michael, head to a railroad bridge where they hang off the edge over a foggy gorge; one by one they fall, Michael falling after them.

Michael wakes up at home the next day unaware of how he got there. His eyes are sensitive to sunlight and he develops a sudden thirst for blood, which leads him to impulsively attack Sam. Sam's dog, Nanook, retaliates, and Sam realizes that Michael is turning into a vampire by his brother's semi-transparent reflection. Sam is initially terrified of his brother but Michael convinces him that he is not yet a vampire and that he desperately needs his help. Michael begins to develop supernatural powers and asks Star for help, but has sex with her shortly afterwards. Sam deduces 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. Sam and the Frog brothers test whether Max is the head vampire during a date with Lucy, but Max passes every test and the boys decide to focus on David.

To provoke him into killing, David takes Michael to stalk a group of beach goers, and instigates a feeding frenzy. Horrified, 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, barricading themselves in the house. When night falls, David's gang attack the house. The Frog brothers and Nanook manage to kill Paul by pushing him into a bathtub filled with garlic and holy water, dissolving him to the bone. Sam is attacked by Dwayne, another vampire, and shoots an arrow 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 as they had hoped. Lucy then returns home with Max, who is revealed to be the head vampire. He informs the boys that to invite a vampire into one's house renders one powerless over said vampire, leaving them unable to exploit any weaknesses that the vampire has while there, explaining why their earlier assumption appeared to be incorrect. Max reveals he had instructed David to turn Sam and Michael into vampires so that Lucy couldn't refuse to be transformed herself, as his 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.

Amongst this carnage and debris, Grandpa casually retrieves a drink from the refrigerator, and declares: "One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires."




The film's title is a reference to the characters featured in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan stories, who — like vampires — never grow old.[1] According to Day, the central theme of The Lost Boys, "organised around loose allusions to Peter Pan", is the tension surrounding the Emerson family and the world of contemporary adolescence.[2] The film was originally set to be directed by Richard Donner and the screenplay, written by Janice Fischer and James Jeremias, was modelled on Donner's recent hit The Goonies (1985).[3] In this way the film was envisioned as more of a juvenile vampire adventure with 13 or 14 year old vampires, while the Frog brothers were "chubby 8 year-old Cub Scouts" and the character of Star was a young boy.[4][3] When Donner committed to other projects, Joel Schumacher was approached to direct the film. He insisted on making the film sexier and more adult, bringing on screenwriter Jeffrey Boam to retool the script and raise the ages of the characters.[5]


Director Joel Schumacher said he had "one of the greatest [casts] in the world. They are what make the film." Most of the younger cast members were relatively unknown. Schumacher and Marion Dougherty met with many candidates.[6] Schumacher envisioned the character of Star as being a waifish blonde, similar to Meg Ryan, but he was convinced by Jason Patric to consider Jami Gertz, who had just worked with Patric in Solarbabies (1986). Schumacher was impressed, but only at Patric's insistence did he finally cast Gertz.[7] Schumacher was surprised when his first choice for the role of Lucy, Dianne Wiest, accepted the role, as she had just recently won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Hannah and Her Sisters (1986).[7]

After seeing Kiefer Sutherland's portrayal of Tim in At Close Range, Schumacher arranged a reading with him at which they got on very well. Sutherland had just completed work on Stand by Me when he was offered the role of David. Schumacher said Sutherland "can do almost anything. He's a born character actor. You can see it in The Lost Boys. He has the least amount of dialogue in the movie, but his presence is extraordinary."[6]

Principal photographyEdit

Most of the film was shot in Santa Cruz, California; locations include the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the Pogonip open space preserve, and the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains. Other locations included a cliffside on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, used for the entrance to the vampire cave, and a valley in Santa Clarita near Magic Mountain, where introductory shots were shot for the scene where Michael and the Lost Boys hang from a railway bridge.[8] Stage sets included the vampire cave, built on Stage 12 of the Warner Bros. lot and a recreation of the interior and exterior of the Pogonip clubhouse on Stage 15, which stood in for Grandpa's house.[5]


Box officeEdit

The Lost Boys opened at #2 during its opening weekend, with a domestic gross of over $5.2 million. It went on to gross a domestic total of over $32.2 million against an $8.5 million budget.[9][10]

Critical responseEdit

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."[11] 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".[12] 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."[13]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film maintains a rating of 74%. 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."[14] On Metacritic it has a rating of 63/100. It won a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film in 1987.

Cultural influenceEdit

The mythographer A. Asbjørn Jøn wrote that The Lost Boys helped shift popular culture depictions of vampires.[15] The film is often credited with bringing a more youthful appeal to the vampire genre by making the vampires themselves sexy and young. This inspired subsequent films like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[16] The scene in which David transforms noodles into worms was directly referenced in the 2014 vampire mockumentary film What We Do in the Shadows.[17] The film inspired the song of the same name by the Finnish gothic rock band The 69 Eyes.[18]

The music video for Into the Summer, a song released by american rock band Incubus on August 23, 2019, pays homage to the film.[19]


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[20] 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, was impaled on antlers but does not explode or dissolve as do the other vampires. He was intended to have survived, which would be picked up in a sequel, The Lost Girls.[21] Scripts for this and other sequels circulated over the years; Joel Schumacher made several attempts at a sequel during the 1990s, but nothing came to fruition.[22][23]

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.

A direct-to-DVD sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe, was released more than 20 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, Shane Powers.[24]

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.[25] 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. A fourth film was discussed as well as a Frog Brothers television show[26] but with the dissolution of Warner Premiere, the projects evaporated.[26]

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.[27]


The Lost Boys:
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedJuly 31, 1987
October 25, 1990 (CD release)
LabelAtlantic Records[28]
Warner Music Group
ProducerVarious Artists
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [29]

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.[30]

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.[31]


  1. "Good Times" by Jimmy Barnes and INXS – 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 Jimmy Barnes and INXS – 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.


  1. ^ McCool, Ben. "Looking Back At 'The Lost Boys,' The Best Comedy-Horror Vampire Film 1987 Had To Offer",, published October 30, 2015. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Day, page 29.
  3. ^ a b Oliver Lyttelton (2012-08-01). "5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Lost Boys' on It's 25th Anniversary". Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  4. ^ The Lost Boys dvd promo. YouTube. 2004. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  5. ^ a b The Lost Boys: A Retrospective (dvd). Warner Bros. Home Video. 2004.
  6. ^ a b The Lost Boys: A Retrospective, Warner Bros., published 2004. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  7. ^ a b The Lost Boys: A Retrospective (dvd). Warner Home Videos. 2004.
  8. ^ "The Lost Boys Movie Filming Locations". Retrieved 2018-02-17.
  9. ^ "The total domestic gross for 'The Lost Boys' (1987)", Box Office Mojo, published June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  10. ^ "The budget for 'The Lost Boys' (1987)", The Numbers, published June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Lost Boys". Chicago Sun-Times.
  12. ^ James, Caryn (July 31, 1987). "Film: 'The Lost Boys'". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Showalter, Elaine. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle. Virago Press, 1995, p. 183.
  14. ^ "The Lost Boys (1987)". Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  15. ^ 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 October 30, 2015.
  16. ^ Eic Diaz (August 10, 2012). "Celebrating 25 Years of "The Lost Boys"". Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  17. ^ Rob Hunter (July 20, 2015). "32 Things We Learned From the What We Do In the Shadows Commentary". Film School Rejects. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "'The Lost Boys' – Horror Movies That Inspired Songs". Loudwire. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  19. ^ "Incubus release video for new single, Into The Summer". Kerrang!. August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019. Incubus pay homage to The Lost Boys in the video for the first single from their upcoming new album.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Joel Schumacher Lost in "Lost Boys" Sequel". Rotten Tomatoes. 2007-02-04. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  22. ^ Stephenson, Hunter (2008-08-13). "Kiefer Sutherland Talks Lost Boys Prequel, Tells The Tribe to FO". /Film. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  23. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver (2012-08-01). "5 Things You Might Not Know About 'The Lost Boys' On Its 25th Anniversary". IndieWire. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  24. ^ "Wanna know who The Lost Boys are?". Moviehole. 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2017-10-23.
  25. ^ "MTV Movies Blog » 'Lost Boys' Threequel On The Way, Corey Feldman To Return". March 18, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2009.
  26. ^ a b Orange, B. Alan (2012-11-23). "The Lost Boys 4 Is Dead and the Frog Brothers TV Series Is Homeless". MovieWeb. Retrieved 2017-10-23.movieweb
  27. ^ Prudom, Laura (July 15, 2016). "The Lost Boys Sequel Comic in the Works from Vertigo (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  28. ^ a b Harris, Mark H. (August 18, 2005). "The Cut-Out Bin #2: Soundtrack, Lost Boys (1987)". PopMatters.
  29. ^ "The Lost Boys - Original Soundtrack". Allmusic.
  30. ^ Cabbage, Jack (October 27, 2008). "Lou Gramm: Lost in the Shadows (1987)".
  31. ^ Cabbage, Jack (October 26, 2008). "Gerard McMann: Cry Little Sister (1987)".

Further readingEdit

  • Patrick Day, William (2002). Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture: What Becomes a Legend Most. United States: UPK. ISBN 0813122422.

External linksEdit