Nerds Gets Spooky: A Look Back at Joel Schumacher’s ‘The Lost Boys’


One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.

It’s been 34 years since The Lost Boys hit theaters. The movie provided us with a campy perspective on the bloodsuckers of the night. Directed by Joel Schumacher, The Lost Boys follows a mother and her two sons who have just moved to a new town in California. The oldest brother, Michael (Jason Patric), soon falls prey to not only love but a coven of vampires, lead by David (Kiefer Sutherland). The race is on for Michael’s brother Sam (Corey Haim) and his two new friends Edward (Corey Feldman) and Alan (Jamison Newlander) to save Michael and Star.

While the main focus is on David and his gaggle of vampires (which includes Alex Winter who took the 80s film scene by storm in his crop tops), The Lost Boys doesn’t skimp out on using the side characters in the plot and giving them vital roles in helping take down the vamps. For instance, Sam only realizes Michael is being corrupted by vampires because Alan gave him the Destroy All Vampires book. Plus, all these years later, we have Feldman and Newlander’s Halloween special Corey & Jamison’s Real Frog Adventures. The series follows the duo as they take on supernatural and real evil alike by using their vampire hunter experience.

the lost boys
Warner Bros.

Who doesn’t love a movie where an animal not only isn’t in danger but they have their own plot? Moreover, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t reference one of the best characters? Nanook, the family dog, is that missing piece for The Lost Boys. He’s no normal dog, however. Much like grandpa, he too hates vampires and tries to warn the family of them ahead of time. When it comes to the final showdown, Nanook helps kill one of them in the bathtub full of holy water to save the Frog brothers.

Let’s get real here for a second. If you aren’t blasting the film’s soundtrack at least twice every Halloween season, you’re doing it all wrong. The Lost Boys soundtrack is arguably one of the best horror soundtracks ever. Of course, it’s also one of the most 80s things to come out of the era but nonetheless, it produced some iconic tunes like “Cry Little Sister,” “Lost in the Shadows,” and “I Still Believe”.

The societal importance of The Lost Boys

the lost boys
Warner Bros.

It’s also important to note that at the time of The Lost Boys‘ release, the political climate of the United States was heavily leaning toward a new age of American conservatism. The Lost Boys, in some ways, pushed back on the societal norms. Lucy (Dianne Wiest), Michael and Sam’s mother, had just undergone a breakup. This made her not only the glue holding her family together metaphorically but physically also, she was the sole provider for her and her children.

The Lost Boys also does a wonderful job of making one wonder: what makes someone lost? Maybe when watching the film this is something that not everyone picked up on but it’s sort of the whole premise, right? The friend group goes about wreaking havoc on the town and at the end of the day, they go back home to one another because that’s all they have and know. David took Michael under his wing because he was dealing with his own hurt and trauma by uprooting his entire life to Santa Carla. “Michael, you’re one of us. Let go.” 

It’s long been alluded to that there’s underlying queer storytelling (as in, queer coded.) Outside of Star’s relationship with the gang, they don’t seem that interested in women. Schumacher himself was an openly gay filmmaker that included stories of identity in his films. Sutherland himself has noted the chemistry between David and Michael stating, “That whole scene where I catch him in the fog coming off the bridge… I mean, it’s a very sensual moment!” Plus, if you’ve seen the performance of “I Still Believe” you cannot argue and say it’s not a queer piece of cinema. You can’t. Could being “lost” also serve as an allegory to discovering your identity, likely for the first time? Of course. Many perceive this to be the case, as well.

There has been buzz for quite some time regarding a reboot. Last month, the project was officially confirmed. The CW attempted to land a reboot of the classic, with people involved going as far as to say that die-hard fans probably won’t be too happy with it. However, Warner Bros. is reviving the cult classic film that will star Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Jaeden Martell (It). Plot details are unknown at this time but with it taking on a modern story, we can’t wait to see the direction Warner Bros. takes.

So before the Halloween season is over and the reboot comes out, revisit the film with us and relive what makes The Lost Boys prime spooky season viewing.

Haley joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2019 as a Writer and Editor. Her main fandoms include Criminal Minds, Wrestling, and The Walking Dead. You can find her on Twitter @haleyanne_.

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