Before Joel Schumacher ever made some embarrassing Batman films, he was actually a pretty decent director. St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), Falling Down (1993) and Flatliners (1990) were quite iconic among his work, but no movie morse so than 1987’s The Lost Boys, which has become a cult classic for 80s kids all over.
The Lost Boys made vampires cool and paved the way for 'edgy' vampire stories in mainstream media today. The movie also spawned phrases such as ‘vamp out’ and quotable lines such as ‘you’re eating worms, Michael’, the latter has been parodied in popular culture many times over.
The film told the story of two brothers, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam Emerson (Corey Haim), in the seaside town of Santa Carla and their encounter with a gang of vampires. With the recent news that there’s a Lost Boys TV show being developed by The CW and writer Rob Thomas (Party Down, Veronica Mars), let’s hope that it’s as interesting, fun and horror-filled as the original. Here are 15 Ways To Make The Lost Boys TV Show Awesome.
15 Explore The Lore
The film's main focus is the story of Michael, Sam and their mother, Lucy (Dianne West). After Lucy’s divorce, she moves with the boys from Arizona to her father’s house (Bernard Hughes) in Santa Clara, California. By night, the boardwalk is where the story begins to unfold.
There are titbits about the lore behind the vampires of Santa Carla in the film, mostly told via Edgar and Alan Frog aka The Frog Brothers, and their vampire comics. Seemingly no two vampires die in the same way as Edgar explains: “Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode, but all will try to take you with them.” This explanation actually foreshadows the order in which the gang of vamps die in the film.
The head vampire, Max (Edward Herrmann), is impervious to the Frog Brother’s attempts to expose him; it's later revealed that it’s because he was invited into the Emersons' home (this renders normal humans powerless). All these little vampire factoids littered throughout are great, but having the TV show delve more into the lore in The Lost Boys world would be brilliant. How do you become a vampire in this world? Michael drinks a bottle of blood, but later Max attempts to turn the boys’ mother by biting her - can you turn either way? What are the full range of powers the vampires have? Is there always a head vampire and a ‘gang’ of blood suckers that follow? We want to know more!
14 Keep It Edgy
Janice Fischer and James Jeremias wrote the original screenplay for the movie, which would have been like The Goonies meets Peter Pan. The gang of vampires would have been “a bunch of Goonies-type 5th-6th grade kid vampires” and the Frog Brothers were intended as “chubby 8-year-old boy scouts”. The script would have been heavily influenced by Peter Pan, in fact, the title The Lost Boys refers to the characters from J. M. Barrie's play.
Richard Donner was originally lined-up to direct the film but eventually left to work on Lethal Weapon (1987). When Joel Schumacher started work on The Lost Boys he remarked that he would only work on the film if the characters were teenagers, and his gambit paid off. The film features a good dose of sex and violence, but doesn’t alienate a younger teen audience in the process.
Recent vampire themed shows like True Blood have tried violence, sex and humour but it all became more hammy than horror. If the TV show can be smart, fun, violent and sexy just like the original, it’ll be a winner.
13 Avoid Teen Drama
Despite its huge popularity,Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series is arguably one of the worst vampire stories adapted for the big screen in recent times. Both the film and the book are a soppy teen romance parading under the guise of a vampire story. Similarly, the aforementioned True Blood descended into a spaghetti-like plot of melodrama (with added bare bums and boobs) that had little substance. We’re hoping The Lost Boys TV show will offer something a little different, at least we know that vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight in their world (unlike Meyers’ 'twinkling' undead in Twilight!).
Of course, there may need to be a love story or two as featured in the film but Michael and Star’s (Jami Gertz) love story doesn’t seem central to the plot but more of a catalyst that brings us deeper into the Lost Boys’ world. Although this film is about a bunch of teenagers, there’s never a whiff of teen melodrama or cheesy dialogue. Let’s hope the TV show follows suit and doesn’t patronize us with nonsense to cynically pull in a younger (and newer) audience.
12 Keep It Humorous
As per the earlier points made, of course, the show has to be dark and edgy, but the original film featured a mix of horror and humour, which made it a lovable classic. Even ‘darker’ TV shows have their humorous moments, and we hope Lost Boys will be no exception.
The film features a good dose of humorous moments, mainly due to Sam Emerson and the Frog Brothers - they are the ‘light’ - and the gang of vamps led by David (Kiefer Sutherland) plus Michael, Star and little kid vamp Laddie (Chance Michael Corbitt) represent the ‘dark’ side of the tale. It’s this balance that makes The Lost Boys so great and appealing.
Getting the balance right is going to be key to The Lost Boys’ TV show’s success and hopefully they’ll be able to remain faithful to the source material.
11 Make The Soundtrack Great
“People Are Strange” by Echo & The Bunnymen and “Cry Little Sister (The Lost Boys Theme)” have become synonymous with the film but let’s not forget “I Still Believe” by Tim Capppello (more about him later!).
The Lost Boys TV show absolutely must have an equally memorable soundtrack and having the show set in different decades over a 70 years timespan means they can cherry pick the best sounds from each decade. We're hoping to see something like Mad Men, the perfect example of the soundtrack setting the scene for the time period.
Stranger Things is also another TV recent show that nailed it in terms of a TV show soundtrack. S U R V I V E aka Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s sumptuous, dark synthwave soundtrack is John Carpenter meets Timecop and it has become as equally lauded amongst fans and critics as the show itself. It’s not enough to be just a great TV show anymore.
10 Nod To The Original Characters (But Introduce New Ones)
We never quite learn how old the vampires of Lost Boys are; they could easily pop up in a TV show that spans the decades leading up the 80s.
That said, rather than follow the characters we’ve already seen, just a nod would suffice. Michael, Star, Laddie, Sam, David, Max and the rest of the Lost Boys have had their screen time and it may be smarter to steer away from taking too much from the source material.
The film was the birth of The Two Coreys (Haim and Feldman, who would go on to star in many more films together throughout the 80s) and Edgar Frog’s character was meant to be amalgamation of many 80s action heroes of the day (from Sylvester Stallone to Chuck Norris). These are all elements that are very much ‘of their time’ and although the 80s is a decade that will no doubt be covered in the upcoming series, character cameos would be preferable to straight copies of the original. In doing so, this could leave the show less open to criticism - we want to see something fresh.
9 Leave The Frog Brothers Out
Everyone who is familiar with The Lost Boys loves the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander). The pair were named after gothic horror writer Edgar Alan Poe and the boys are central to Sam’s understanding of the vampires in Santa Carla, not to mention the ultimate defeat of the vampire gang.
Edgar and Alan run a comic book store in the town and it’s via their vampire comics that Sam learns some of the secrets of the local vamps, namely, how to spot them and how to kill them. As much as we love ‘em, only Feldman and Newlander could play the brothers Frog and it would probably be wise to leave them out.
Since the film’s 1987 release, there have been two Lost Boys ‘sequels’. Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) and Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010). Both films featured Feldman reprising his role as Edgar Frog and Newlander as Alan in the latter.
Although Lost Boys: The Tribe performed surprisingly well as Warner’s highest selling DVD release in 2008, the reviews weren’t as favourable. Equally, straight-to-DVD flick Lost Boys: The Thirst (which featured both brothers more heavily) wasn’t received very well and is currently sitting at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. Perhaps it’s a sign that it’s time to put The Frog Bothers to bed.
8 Leave The Frog Brothers In
Rather than recast the iconic duo in the TV show, wouldn’t it be better to hint at their existence in the 80s instead? If the show visits this era, the characters could visit their comic book store, there could be talk of The Frog Brothers as the town’s local oddball vampire hunters and maybe we could even get a chance to see the brothers in the present day, spinning wild tales about their 30 years of vampire hunting in and around Santa Carla. It would be a good way to get the Frogs involved in the show in a less ridiculous and less heavy-handed way than the film's sequels.
In fact, The Frog Brothers are so awesome that there was even a comic book mini-series released via Wildstorm from May to August 2008. The series was called Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs and only four issues were released, set between The Lost Boys and Lost Boys: The Tribe.
The vampire David makes a return in Reign of Frogs and the comics delve a little more into the world of the Frogs and the vampire hunting life around Santa Carla. Perhaps adding some elements from the comic would help ease the transition of brothers’ return to the small screen.
7 More Insight Into The Vampire ‘Hierarchy’
As has been already mentioned, we know there is a head vampire, Max, who is the leader of the Lost Boys - David (Kiefer Sutherland), Paul (Brooke McCarter), Dwayne (Billy Wirth), Marko (Alex Winter) and Greg (Alexander Bacon Chapman).
We’re not even aware of a head vampire until The Frog Brothers explain that to save Michael, they must kill the head vampire. We assume this is Kiefer but it turns out to be Max, who is looking for a "mother" for his Lost Boys.
We’d love to know a little more about the vampire hierarchy. Do all vampires travel in gangs? Are these gangs more like family (assuming there is always a head vampire, like a mother or father figure)? David appears to be in charge of the Lost Boys, but let’s assume he has to answer to head vampire Max who is calling the shots - does that make David his ‘number one’?
There are just so many questions we want answered!
6 Introduce Some ‘Lost Girls’
After the success of The Lost Boys, Joel Schumacher made several attempts to revive the film via a sequel in the 90s and several scripts circulated. The title would have been The Lost Girls so we can only imagine some of the 80s badass ladies who would’ve spearheaded the film; imagine Winona Ryder in her 80s pomp as part of an all-female vampire film with a deadly female in charge (someone like Anjelica Houston comes to mind).
Unfortunately The Lost Girls wasn’t to be and Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst are what we ended up instead. However, with a TV show in development, this is the perfect chance to bring back the idea of some Lost Girls into the mix.
Instead of an all-female gang of vampires though, it would be fun to see a mixed of both genders, different races and sexualities and something more representative of the modern world we live in today, which would work better for modern viewers.
5 Fill In The Gaps Of The Movie
Let’s assume the show is developed straight from characters that featured in the film, it would be wise to fill in many of the gaps and flesh out the characters a little more.
Upon the film’s release, writer Craig Shaw Gardner was charged with writing the novelization of the movie. In fact, Gardner went on to write novelizations of films such as Batman (1988), Back to the Future II (1989) and Back to the Future III (1990) among others but is more famed for producing fantasy parodies akin to author Terry Pratchett.
In Gardner’s novelization, he explains how Michael was able to buy his leather jacket by working as a trash collector and writes more about the Lost Boys’ rival gang the Surf Nazis, the group of people the boys violently attack and kill during a scene where they reveal themselves to Michael. It’s never explained exactly that they are direct rivals or if there are other groups they’ve attached before in Santa Carla but it’s something that could be explored further.
4 Give Us Sexy Sax Man!
In one of the film's most iconic scenes, Michael spots Star for the first time during a concert amongst a heaving crowd. The band on stage are playing “I Still Believe” by Tim Cappello, who is known as the 'Sexy Sax Man' amongst fans. Cappella’s massive oily pecs and wiggling hips are both hilarious and awesome - pure 80s gold!
Cappello was a former heroin addict that began body building after he quit heroin cold turkey in 1979. After this he was famed for his muscular physique and sexual presence on stage but had also played saxophone on several of Peter Gabriel’s albums before this and later was hired in 1984 by Tina Turner, appearing on tracks “We Don’t Need Another Hero” and “One Of The Living” from Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome (1985).
A Sax Man cameo would be amazing and Tim is no stranger to TV, having already appeared in The Equalizer and Miami Vice in 1987. If there’s no room for a cameo though, having a Sax Man reference in the soundtrack would be equally welcome.
3 Keep It 80s!
It’s already been decided that the TV show will be an anthology series set over 70 years and 7 seasons, starting in the 60s. As intriguing as this idea sounds, it’s not in keeping with the essence of The Lost Boys - keep it 80s!
Setting the whole series in the 80s would be very on point (ahem… Stranger Things, anyone?) and would allow for a certain amount of nostalgia from old fans. This doesn’t mean we need to tread over old ground but rather explore the town of Santa Carla throughout the 80s.
As the Emerson’s Grandpa remarks at the very end of the movie: “One thing about living in Santa Carla I could never stomach; all the damn vampires.” This line alone is intriguing enough to birth a whole wealth of ideas. This implies that Santa Carla is a vampire hotbed, which in turn means we wouldn’t even really need to leave Santa Carla.
2 Make The Vampires ‘Monsters’
By far, one of the most important aspects of the vampires themselves is the fact they are monsters. They aren’t pretty, ornate creatures that roam the night; they are blood-sucking creatures that attack in darkness. Vampires are the living dead. They are not human, they are otherworldly and terrifying.
The look of vampires in The Lost Boys is one that has popped up in later TV shows and films, namely Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer and later the film Blade (1998). Whedon has said: “The idea of them looking like monsters and then looking like people, that was in [The] Lost Boys, and that was very useful for us.” The look of Spike in Buffy was also inspire from the film with Joss commenting, “There's a little Billy Idol, a little Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys, and every guy in a black coat.”
Academy Award and Saturn Award winning special effect makeup artist Greg Cannom can be credited for The Lost Boys iconic look. The Lost Boys wouldn’t be The Lost Boys without Cannom’s monstrous creations so let's hope this continues into the TV show.
1 Bring Kiefer Back
Yes, we saw him impaled by a pair of deer antlers in the film, but it’s entirely possible that David could be alive - or at least as alive as a vampire can be. After all, Kiefer was intended to make a return in The Lost Girls sequel that never got made and in addition to this, the character of David actually appears in the comic The Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs.
However, what if David was impaled, but the antlers just missed his heart? He didn’t explode or dissolve and the fact Schumacher and the studio did indeed want him for the sequel strongly suggests that David would be alive and well today. Of course, technically vampires don’t age so it may be tricky getting around the fact that Kiefer is almost 50 now but, still, it would be pretty damn awesome.