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The Lost Boys (film)
The Lost Boys is a 1987 American coming of age action-horror film about two young Arizonans who move to California and end up fighting a gang of teenage vampires. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film stars Jason Patric, Corey Haim, and Kiefer Sutherland, and co-stars Jami Gertz, Corey Feldman, Dianne Wiest, Edward Herrmann, Alex Winter, Jamison Newlander, and Barnard Hughes. Sutherland plays a Peter Pan figure who leads his Lost Boys in a neverending party. The film's tagline is "Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire."
The Lost Boys won a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, and grossed over $32 million at the box office in the U.S., a strong performance for an R-rated horror movie, especially at that time. Following Michael Jackson's Thriller, and with 1987's western-gothic Near Dark and the suburban Fright Night of 1985, it helped to update and revitalize the teen horror movie genre, making vampires more applicable to audiences in the 1980s. Without it, Twilight probably never would have happened.
Ironically, the "lost boys" in the film are not the actual boy characters. The conflict is actually between the three boys: Sam Emerson and the Frog brothers, and the young adult (or nearly so) vampires, fighting over Sam's older brother, who is being seduced into a metaphorical carnal adulthood. And it's the oldest character who intervenes to save them at the end.
Michael Emerson (Jason Patric) and his younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) move with their just-divorced mother Lucy (Dianne Wiest) to Santa Carla, a coastal California town plagued by suspected gang activity and unexplained disappearances. The family moves in with Lucy's father (Barnard Hughes), a cantankerous and eccentric old man who lives in the outlying suburbs of town, and who decorates his house with the product of his hobby: taxidermy.
The center of town life is the boardwalk and amusement park. While Lucy gets a job at a local video store run by middle-aged Max (Edward Hermann), Michael is fascinated by Star (Jami Gertz), a beautiful young woman who leaves with the leader of a local so called "gang." Michael finds her the next night, but is provoked by leader David (Kiefer Sutherland) into a motorcycle race, in which he is baited into almost going over the edge of a sea cliff.
David invites Michael to the nest, where he is put through an unsettling initiation that includes drinking vampire blood from a wine bottle. He joins the clan in hanging from the underside of elevated train tracks, watching in horror as each willingly drops into a foggy gorge below. Unable to hold on any longer, Michael falls... waking up in his bed, groggy and disoriented.
In the meantime, 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. Sam scoffs at them until Michael's developing vampirism becomes clear: their dog is forced to fend off Michael's blood-lust-driven attack on Sam, who notices that Michael's reflection has become transparent.
Sam turns to the Frog brothers for help, but refuses their advice to kill Michael. He turns their suspicions to Max, who has begun dating Lucy, suggesting that he is the head vampire whose death will free half-vampires such as Michael, who have not yet killed. They put him through a series of tests, which appear to indicate that he is normal.
Michael returns to the vampires, but resists joining them in a feeding frenzy. Star reveals to Michael that she too is half-vampire, and wants his help. The next day Michael leads Sam and the Frog brothers to the vampires' nest, where they intend to kill the vampires in their sleep. But the killing of one vampire awakens David and the two others; the Emerson brothers, Frog brothers, Star, and a recently abducted child half-vampire barely escape.
That evening, while Lucy is on a date with Max, and her father is out of the house, the teens arm themselves with weapons based on traditional defenses against vampires. David and the others attack, but are killed spectacularly, with Michael ultimately impaling David on deer antlers. But Michael doesn't transform back to normal with David's death, as they expected.
Max and Lucy arrive, and Max is revealed as the head vampire, having passed the Frog brothers' tests only on the technicality of being invited into the house. Max's objective all along was to get Lucy to be a "mother" for his "lost boys", but he is thwarted by her father - who has been aware of the vampires all along - crashing his jeep through the wall of the house, killing Max on the wooden fence posts it was carrying.
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 man 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 somewhat battered copy to well over a $150 for copies in good condition.
In the movie, David (Kiefer Sutherland) is impaled on a pair of antlers, but doesn't disintegrate like the other vampires. This was intended to be picked up in a sequel, The Lost Girls, which was scripted but never made. Scripts for sequels circulated for years, and Joel Schumacher made several attempts at one during the 1990s, but without success. He later derided plans to make a sequel without him.
In 2008 Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs was published. It is a 4-issue comic book mini-series, in which David reappears, and it is explained that the antlers missed his heart.
Lost Boys: The Tribe is a direct-to-video film, also released in 2008. In it, Corey Feldman reprises his role as Edgar Frog, with a cameo by Corey Haim as Sam Emerson, and a new cast of vampires and would-be vampires, including Kiefer Sutherland's half-brother Angus Sutherland as the head vampire.
A third movie entitled Lost Boys: The Thirst is in development, with Corey Feldman as executive producer and reprising his role as Edgar Frog, and Newlander returning in a larger role. Haim was not slated to appear in the movie, and his death in March 2010 made any further involvement impossible.
- Wikipedia: The Lost Boys (film)
- Internet Movie DataBase: The Lost Boys (film)
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