The Lost Boys Explained

The Lost Boys
Director:Joel Schumacher
Producer:Harvey Bernhard
Richard Donner
Starring:Corey Feldman
Jami Gertz
Corey Haim
Edward Herrmann
Barnard Hughes
Jason Patric
Kiefer Sutherland
Dianne Wiest
Music:Thomas Newman
Cinematography:Michael Chapman
Editing:Robert Brown
Distributor:Warner Bros.
Runtime:93 minutes
Language:English
Budget:$8.5 million
Gross:$32,222,567

The Lost Boys is a 1987 American teen horror film directed by Joel Schumacher and 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 Arizonan 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.

The film was followed by two sequels, and .

Plot

Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) and his younger brother, Sam (Corey Haim), move with their just-divorced mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest), to Santa Carla, a fictional coastal California town (based on--and filmed in--Santa Cruz, CA; although, the name is an anagram of Santa Clara, CA) plagued by gang activity and unexplained disappearances. 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.

The center of town life is 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 who lives with the mysterious leader of the local gang, David (Kiefer Sutherland). Meanwhile, in the local comic book store, Sam meets brothers Edgar and Alan Frog (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), self-proclaimed vampire hunters who give Sam horror comics to teach him about vampires.

When Michael meets Star the next night, David provokes him into a motorcycle race, in which he is baited into almost going over the edge of a sea cliff. David invites Michael to their lair, a once-luxurious hotel sunken by an earthquake, where he is put through an unsettling initiation that includes (unbeknowingly) drinking blood from an ornate wine bottle. He joins the gang in hanging from the underside of elevated train tracks, watching in horror as each willingly drops into a foggy gorge below. Unable to hold his grip any longer, Michael falls... waking up in his bed, groggy and disoriented.

Sam scoffs at the Frog brothers' focus on vampires, but with Lucy and Grandpa out on dates, Michael's developing vampirism start to become clear to Sam. First their house seems to be encircled by David and and his gang on motorcycles (only for them to disappear when Michael opens the door). Next, while Sam takes a bath, his dog, Nanook, is forced to fend off Michael's bloodlust-driven attack on Sam. When Sam looks for his dog, he finds his brother has been attacked, but also that Michael's reflection in a mirror has become transparent. Sam calls the Frog brothers for help, but refuses their advice to kill Michael. When Lucy calls home, Sam begins to say that they need to speak about Michael, only for Michael, unable to control his new ability to fly, picks up the other line, refuting Sams suggestion, causing Sam to begin screaming. Lucy runs home. Sam lets Michael in through a window and they agree to work together to find answers. Lucy gets home, only for Sam to say he just got scared. Max goes home alone to hear strange noises and then his house similarly encircled by shouts and motorcycles. Michael visits Star to question her about the physical changes he is experiencing, and the two finally consummate their relationship. As he returns home in the morning, Lucy tries to speak with Michael about his unusual behaviour, as does Sam, but he goes to bed.

Lucy heads to apologise for Max for running out on him the night before, only for Thorn to savagely run her off of Max's premises. Sam turns to the Frog brothers again for advice and decides that his brother is only a half-vampire (having not yet killed anyone) who will turn back to human should the head vampire be killed. He turns their suspicions to Max. At a dinner party held by Lucy, Sam brings the Frog brothers and they put Max through a series of tests (including the use of garlic, holy water and mirrors), which appear to indicate that he is normal, greatly embarrassing Lucy. Grandpa watches this all suspiciously.

Michael looks for Star, confronting David. David takes Michael to attack a group of Surf Nazis at a bonfire, turning vampiric and entering a feeding frenzy. David announces to Michael that "you know what you are.... But you must feed". Michael returns home to speak to Sam, who asks who the head-vampire is. Star arrives and flies in through the window. Star reveals to Michael that she too is a half-vampire, and wants his help. It emerges that David had intended Michael to be Star's first kill, sealing her fate as a fully-fledged vampire.

The next day, a weakening Michael leads Sam and the Frog brothers to the gang's lair, where they intend to kill the vampires in their sleep. (The Frog brothers are stunned and terrified to discover that the vampires do not sleep in coffins, but hang from the ceiling like roosting bats.) The staking of one vampire (Marko) awakens David and the two others, and the boys barely escape with their lives, managing to rescue Star and Laddie, a recently abducted half-vampire child.

That evening, while Lucy is on a date with Max, and Grandpa is out of the house, the teens arm themselves with weapons based on traditional defenses against vampires. David and the gang attack, and are each killed in a spectacular fashion during the epic battle. Michael faces off with David, and ultimately impales him on a pair of mounted deer antlers. However, Michael, Star and Laddie do not transform back to normal with David's death, as they had hoped. Max and Lucy then return home, and Max is revealed to be the head vampire after all, at which point he informs them that to invite a vampire into one's house (as Michael sarcastically invited Max in for Lucy's dinner date) renders one powerless, which explains why Sam and the Frog brothers' tests failed to work on him. Max's objective all along was to get Lucy to be a "mother" for his "lost boys". But his grand plan is thwarted when Grandpa crashes his jeep through the wall of the house, impaling Max on the wooden fence posts he is carrying in the back of his jeep and causes him to explode in the fireplace. Michael, Star, and Laddie then return to normal.

The film ends with Grandpa calmly retrieving a drink from the fridge, 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".

Cast

Production

The majority of the film was shot in the city of Santa Cruz, California, and the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains. 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-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, 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 quintessential 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 of The Lost Boys. 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,[1] 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.[1]

Schumacher later remembered his experience making the film:

Reception

The Lost Boys performed well at the U.S. box office, grossing over $32 million; a strong performance for an R-rated horror film, especially for the era. Its teen-friendly tagline was: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire."

Critical reception has been consistently positive throughout the years, with a 76% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[2] 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."[3]

It won a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film in 1987. The film was part of an 80s trend to make vampire figures from stories of old more applicable to audiences, one that included 1987's western-gothic Near Dark and the suburban Fright Night of 1985.

Since its release, The Lost Boys has come to be regarded as a touchstone of 80s cinema and a seminal teenage vampire film, inspiring successors such as the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[4]

Novel

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. It has become something of a collector's item among fans, with prices ranging from $20 for a well-read and battered copy to well over $150 for copies in good condition.

Sequels

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, , which serves as a sequel to the first film and prequel to Lost Boys: The Tribe, and explains that the antlers missed David's heart.

A direct-to-DVD sequel, , was greenlit 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.

In March 2009, MTV reported that work had begun on a third film entitled , with Feldman serving as an executive producer in addition to playing Edgar Frog, and Newlander returning as Alan Frog.[5] Haim, who was not slated to be part of the cast, died in March 2010. The film was released on DVD October 12, 2010.

Music

See main article: The Lost Boys (soundtrack). 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. 1 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 Capello's cover of The Call's "I Still Believe" was featured in the film as well as on the soundtrack. Tim Capello makes a small cameo appearance in the movie playing the song at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, with his saxophone and trademark 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 it featured in the movie is an alternate, shortened version with a slightly different music arrangement.

Lou Gramm, the famed lead singer of Foreigner, also recorded "Lost in the Shadows" for the soundtrack, along with a video which featured clips from the film.[6]

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 self-titled album "G Tom Mac" in 2000. In the film's sequel, "Cry Little Sister" was covered by a Seattle based rock band, Aiden.[7]

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Joel Schumacher: Safe In The Dark. Venice Magazine. Alex. Simon. 1999-02. 2010-05-09.
  2. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/lost_boys/
  3. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19870731/REVIEWS/707310302/1023
  4. Web site: Corey Haim's 'The Lost Boys' Was The Original Teen Vampire Flick. MTV.com. Gil. Kaufman. 2010-03-10. 2010-05-09.
  5. Web site: MTV Movies Blog » ‘Lost Boys’ Threequel On The Way, Corey Feldman To Return. Moviesblog.mtv.com. 2009-03-18. 2009-04-30.
  6. http://80smusicchannel.blogspot.com/2008/10/lou-gramm-lost-in-shadows-1987.html 80s Music Channel: Lost in the Shadows
  7. http://80smusicchannel.blogspot.com/2008/10/gerard-mcmann-cry-little-sister-1987.html 80s Music Channel: Cry Little Sister