It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole 31 years since Joel Schumacher’s horror comedy The Lost Boys first hit the big screen. If, for whatever reason, you haven’t seen one of the best vampire movies of all time, take a little break from this list and treat yourself to a great flick. For the rest of you, let’s move ahead.
Here’s a quick refresher if it’s been a while since you last saw The Lost Boys. A mother and her two sons move to the town of Santa Carla, California. It doesn’t take long for the youngest son, Corey Haim’s Sam Emerson, to figure out that his older brother’s new friends are vampires.
The Lost Boys was a hit amongst teenage and adult audiences, many of whom have passed the film down to later generations in the years since it was released. Director Joel Schumacher’s combination of horror and hilarity coupled with the movie’s dark, gloomy soundtrack made The Lost Boys stick out not only as a great horror flick, but as an essential movie from the 1980s.
With many hit movies, the stories behind the film can be just as interesting as what’s on screen – that is certainly the case with The Lost Boys. These could be relatively minor things like dressing the set in a very deliberate way or major things like cinematography methods. Whatever they may be, there is no shortage of interesting tidbits from the cutting room floor and beyond.
With that in mind, let’s bust out the garlic and sharpen those wooden stakes, here are 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Lost Boys.
20 Rob Lowe’s “Cameo”
It’s a common practice for directors to leave Easter eggs from their previous movies in a finished film. Rob Reiner was sure to include a hat from his hilarious mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap in The Princess Bride. David Fincher had Mark Zuckerberg Facebook stalk Tyler Durden in The Social Network. The practice has been going on for a long time and shows no signs of slowing down.
Joel Schumacher wanted to leave a small reference to his film St. Elmo’s Fire somewhere in The Lost Boys, and decided Sam’s room would be the best place to leave it.
If you look closely, you’ll see a poster in Sam’s bedroom with St. Elmo’s Fire star Rob Lowe looking all kinds of hunky.
Given how steamy Schumacher sought to make The Lost Boys, the poster doesn’t seem all that out of place.
19 Corey Feldman’s Inspiration for his Character
Edgar Frog is a unique character, to say the least. Played by Corey Feldman, the comic book-loving teenager was a human encyclopedia of sorts when it came to vampires and other strange happenings around Santa Carla.
Looking at Edgar on screen, it might come as no surprise that Feldman took inspiration from some of the action stars of the day. Director Joel Schumacher reportedly told Corey Feldman to dive into the works of Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris. The teen star was meant to come up with a combination of famous action characters and put his own twist on it.
It seems like Schumacher was onto something with Edgar’s character, as the Frog brother has been a favorite Halloween costume in the years since.
18 The Original Ending
The ending to The Lost Boys is simply hilarious. Truly encompassing the horror-comedy, Grandpa, portrayed by Barnard Hughes, seems almost unfazed by the events.
Despite the iconic ending, The Lost Boys originally had something different planned. The original idea for the film’s ending was a post-credit scene that saw the remaining vampires licking their wounds in the sunken hotel.
The Lost Boys was meant to end on a shot of a mural from the early 1900s that featured Max, looking exactly the same.
This more open-ended finale would probably be a bit more fitting if The Lost Boys became a series of films. The “better” ending is up for debate, but Grandpa grabbing a drink cracks us up every time.
17 David’s Small Amount of Dialogue
Kiefer Sutherland’s portrayal of David is one of the most memorable things about The Lost Boys. His chilling portrayal of the leader of the vampire gang frightened audiences for years to come.
Given the impact that Sutherland’s acting had on the film, it may be surprising to learn that the 24 star had the fewest lines of dialogue out of any of the flick’s main characters. It may have been a stylistic choice, keeping the lost boys themselves calm and cool throughout much of their time on screen.
Joel Schumacher has been a long time supporter of Kiefer Sutherland, praising his performance in The Lost Boys. “He’s a born character actor…He has the least amount of dialogue in the movie, but his presence is extraordinary.”
16 The Vampires Were Way Younger and Star was a boy
Given Richard Donner’s initial plans for The Lost Boys, it’s safe to say that the cast, had the original idea gone through, would be much different than the one we all know and love.
The original script called for much younger vampires, meant to be in their early teens.
The vampires themselves weren’t the only ones Joel Schumacher had to change, either. The Frog brothers were initially envisioned as “chubby 8-year old cub scouts” while Star, Michael’s object of obsession in the beginning of The Lost Boys, was originally another teenage boy vampire.
Joel Schumacher and screenwriter Jeffrey Boam’s darker script called for an older cast of characters.
15 The Lost Boys Was the Start of the Two Coreys
It’s hard to picture Corey Heldman without Corey Haim, and vice versa. The two appeared in 9 movies together, along with several television appearances and even a show of their own, The Two Coreys. There were ups and downs with the two, falling into a cycle of substance abuse later in their respective careers.
Despite the problems the two eventually had to face, the friendship started off on the right foot during the filming of The Lost Boys. Feldman told Larry King “…with Corey, you know, you set us in front of a camera and tell us to go and it just happens. And there's really no explaining that.”
The Two Coreys faded away with Corey Haim’s passing in 2010, but we’ll always have films like The Lost Boys to look back on.
14 The Maggots Needed a Little Persuasion
If there’s one scene in The Lost Boys that’s sure to gross out any audience member, it’s the infamous “Chinese food” scene. In it, David offers Michael a seemingly harmless take out container of rice. Soon enough, however, we see that David has tricked Michael into digging into a box of maggots. Yikes!
The scene was apparently a little more complicated than simply filling the container with the bugs and moving in for a closeup.
Maggots, it turns out, don’t really move without some sort of motivation.
In between takes, the resident bug guy had to squeeze lemon juice onto the creepy crawlies in order to get them to move about the way we eventually see on camera.
13 The Planned Sequel
Given the positive critical and commercial reception to The Lost Boys, it’s no surprise that there were talks of a sequel to the flick.
Joel Schumacher tried throughout the '90s to get his vision for a sequel, The Lost Girls, off the ground.
Despite scripts for the project circulating throughout Hollywood, we wouldn’t suggest holding your breath.
Given the fate of the vampires, a direct sequel with the same characters as in The Lost Boys doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Schumacher felt that, if they had to create new characters anyway, why not go the extra mile?
The Lost Girls would feature some characters and elements from the original film, but it sounds like it would have served as more of a spiritual sequel than anything.
12 The Sequels We Got Instead
Despite The Lost Girls never seeing the light of day, there were not one, but two sequels to The Lost Boys that were produced.
2008’s The Lost Boys: The Tribe and 2010’s The Lost Boys: The Thirst were both released direct-to-DVD and both saw Corey Feldman reprise his role as Edgar Frog, with the latter featuring Jamison Newlander back as Alan Frog.
Neither of these sequels were anything to write home about, both currently holding a 0% on the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes. The Tribe and The Thirst were big time money-makers for Warner Premiere, but hardcore fans of The Lost Boys have generally dismissed the sequels as nothing more than easy money for Feldman and company.
11 The Vampire Contact Lenses Were Nearly Unbearable
One of the most striking characteristics of the vampires in The Lost Boys are their eyes. Those fiery orange eyes could be achieved today through any number of production tricks, be they CG’d in or simply accomplished with soft contact lenses.
The makeup department on set didn’t have either of these luxuries during filming, however. The only solution they managed to come up with was glass contact lenses. These lenses didn’t allow for oxygen to get through, making for some very uncomfortable shots.
There was one upside, however.
During the scene in which David’s hand catches fire, he sheds a single tear during a closeup on his face.
This was really just Kiefer Sutherland’s body trying to deal with how dried out his eyes were, but it made for a great shot.
10 Was Ben Stiller Almost a Lost Boy?
Given how well The Lost Boys has been received over the years, it’s hard to imagine any major changes to the film. One of the strangest hypothetical changes would be a change in cast. Be it Kiefer Sutherland, one of the two Coreys, or Jami Gertz, the casting of the film seems to have been spot on.
As is the case with many films, alternate casting choices were present during pre-production -- one of the most notable being Ben Stiller. At an award show, Stiller told People Magazine: "Last time I saw a room full of so many talented faces was when I auditioned for The Lost Boys … It was between me, and Kiefer, and the two Coreys”
Stiller has held his own in more dramatic roles, so it’s not all that strange to imagine him vamping out.
9 The Sax Man
If you’ve somehow never seen The Lost Boys, you’re going to get slapped with nostalgia right out of the gate. Between the mullets and the leopard print, The Lost Boys is a loud and proud '80s flick.
Possibly the most '80s thing about the movie, especially the opening scene, is the beach concert. Led by an oily, muscly, chain-wearing saxophonist, the concert simply looks wild.
The sax man in question is Tim Cappello, a multi-instrumentalist who spent much of the '80s and '90s in Tina Turner’s band.
If you’re wondering how Cappello managed to look so jacked throughout the whole opening scene, it turns out he lifted weights and did push-ups during any cuts in the scene to keep those pythons looking their best.
8 David's Real Fate
When the vampires meet their end via a stake through the heart, we see them start to disintegrate. Marko has an especially gross demise, spraying some pretty gnarly looking goo from his chest while falling from his perch.
Max doesn’t have it any easier, getting himself staked after grandpa crashes through the house.
While David has the unpleasant experience of being jabbed by deer antlers, his fate is different from his fellow vampires.
As we well know, a wooden stake is key to slaying a vampire. David, while impaled, was not done so with the necessary equipment and, therefore, survived his attack. David was meant to make a comeback in the written, but never filmed, sequel The Lost Girls.
7 The Crew Had to Create the Town of Santa Carla
It doesn’t take much of an internet sleuth to figure out that the town of Santa Carla is really just Santa Cruz, California. The famous boardwalk is among several Santa Cruz landmarks visible throughout The Lost Boys.
The production team were only granted permission to shoot there if they agreed to change the town’s name for the movie.
Given that the actual town of Santa Cruz is seen as a family tourist destination, and that’s the way they like it, the production staff went with Santa Carla, California instead. It shouldn’t be that surprising really, does any city want to hold the title of being the murder capital of the world?
6 The secret behind the flying vampire shots
The point-of-view shots of the vampires in flight are a trademark of The Lost Boys. Whether they’re terrorizing a young couple in their car or simply en route to meet up with one another, the aerial shots serve as a very unique aesthetic choice for the movie.
This camera technique was used for much more practical reasons as well. Although The Lost Boys isn’t exactly low-budget, the story that the production team were trying to tell involved some ideas that were rather expensive to put into action.
While there are several scenes in which the vampires are seen on camera flying around, Schumacher and company seem to have taken a page from the Jaws book, allowing for the audience to use their imaginations to fill in what is left off screen.
5 The Theme Song Took on a Life of Its Own
Gerard McMann and Michael Mainieri penned a near-perfect theme to The Lost Boys with the song “Cry Little Sister”. The gloomy tune perfectly set the tone for the film, conveying a sense of darkness and mystery from the first few bars.
The soundtrack as a whole was well received, peaking at number 15 on the Billboard 200 in the late 1980s. But “Cry Little Sister,” specifically, has found itself on the Billboard charts as recent as this year.
The song has been covered or sampled by over a dozen artists, one of the most recent being Marilyn Manson, who covered the song for the soundtrack to the upcoming movie The New Mutants.
More on the music of The Lost Boys later in the list.
4 Richard Donner’s Original Screenplay
Executive producer Richard Donner was initially slotted to direct The Lost Boys before pulling out of the project to work on Lethal Weapon. Before turning the movie over to eventual director Joel Schumacher, Donner and screenwriters Janice Fischer and James Jeremias had originally planned for a script based on the idea that Peter Pan was a vampire.
The film was meant to be a much more family-friendly one, with many familiar with the original script comparing it to action-adventure movies like The Goonies. When Joel Schumacher began to oversee the movie, he flipped the script into the darker, more PG-13 style movie we all know and love.
Not all of Richard Donner’s ideas were abandoned, however. The most obvious is the title itself, The Lost Boys; a direct reference to Peter Pan’s group of fellow adventurers.
3 How Joel Schumacher Got Bands to Sign Off on the Soundtrack
The soundtrack to The Lost Boys is part of why the movie is remembered so fondly. We’ve already discussed the smash hit that was “Cry Little Sister”, the theme to the movie, but tracks by INXS, Lou Graham, and Roger Daltrey added a seriously cool vibe to The Lost Boys.
In order to solidify contributions, director Joel Schumacher agreed to direct a music video for the band following the completion of the film.
Schumacher directed “The Devil Inside” for the band the following year, and we can’t thank him enough.
The soundtrack was also a major selling point for Kiefer Sutherland. The actor who would go on to play David was reportedly reluctant to take on the role, but the promise of INXS and Jimmy Barnes’ inclusion in the soundtrack helped to push Sutherland toward the film.
2 The Lost Boys Inspired Buffy The Vampire Slayer
The Lost Boys has gone down as a classic in the horror-comedy genre. Helping to bring vampires to the mainstream, the film’s balance between hilarious and horrifying struck a chord with audiences young and old and has continued to in the years since its release.
One notable person who has been influenced by The Lost Boys is Joss Whedon. The writer/director has openly praised The Lost Boys and how it influenced his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “The idea of them [vampires] looking like monsters and then looking like people, that was in [The] Lost Boys, and that was very useful for us. You can have somebody fool you…”
1 The Opening Scene Could Spoil the Movie
One of the most fun things about re-watching movies is picking up on things you hadn’t seen the first time around. Often times, there are clues sprinkled throughout the earlier parts of the film that hint at the events to come.
Those who watch the opening scene to The Lost Boys extra close may have noticed something peculiar about the shot on the merry go round.
The order that the vampires first appear on screen is the same order that they meet their maker, only in reverse: David, Dwayne, Paul, and Marko.
A further bit of foreshadowing comes from Corey Feldman’s Edgar Frog. “No two vamps [go] the same way, some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode.”
What's your favourite scene from The Lost Boys? Let's talk about it in the comments.