Film / The Lost Boys

"One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach. All the damn vampires."

The Lost Boys is a 1987 vampire movie with all the trimmings. A recently divorced mother and her two sons move to Santa Carla. The older one, Michael, falls in with a gang of biker vampires; the younger, Sam, befriends a couple of seemingly insane comic store assistants. Michael begins turning into a vampire and it is up to Sam, with the help of the Frog brothers, to save him.

Starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest, Alex Winter, and a few other people, including Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander as the Frog brothers. It was directed by Joel Schumacher.

Followed no less than twenty-one years later by a Direct-to-Video sequel, Lost Boys: The Tribe. Chris Emerson, a young disgraced former surfing pro, and his younger sister Nicole move to Luna Bay to live with their Aunt following the death of their parents. Nicole falls for the enigmatic Shane Powers, another former pro-surfer who "mysteriously vanished" from the circuit. Turns out, it was because he became a vampire. Shane turns Nicole into a vampire, and Chris sets out to save her. Oh, and he enlists the help of Edgar Frog.

Starring Autumn Reeser, Tad Hilgenbrink, Angus Sutherland and Corey Feldman, with Corey Haim returning as Sam Emerson in a mid-credits cameo and two alternate endings, and Jamison Newlander returning as a now vampiric Alan Frog in the alternate endings.

A second Direct-to-Video sequel, Lost Boys: The Thirst was released in 2010. Vampire-romance novelist Gwen needs Edgar Frog to find her brother who has gone missing after getting sucked into a series of underground raves, called 'X Parties' held by an enigmatic spinner named DJ X. In a last, frantic message he mentioned being given a new party drug known as The Thirst, which Edgar identifies as really being vampire blood. With the next 'X Party' only days away, Edgar is faced with the threat of an army of vampires, unless he stops DJ X and saves Peter. But, DJ X isn't just a vampire, he's the Alpha Vampire, the ultimate head vampire and someone Edgar's going to need help to defeat, and Edgar hopes to recruit his reclusive brother who's dealing with his own dark past.

Starring Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander as the Frog Brothers, and Tanit Phoenix.

There is also a four issue comic book series, Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs. Published by Wildstorm, the series is set between the first two films and explains why Edgar is working alone by the time The Tribe starts, how Shane became a vampire as well as the fate of several other characters from the films, some of whom are never mentioned in The Tribe. There is also a TV series in the works at The CW for the 2018 season. Helmed by Rob Thomas, it will be an anthology series with each season set during a different decade.

These films contain examples of:

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     The Lost Boys 
  • '80s Hair: Especially on the guys.
  • Adult Fear: Your child goes missing and becomes a monster.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Justified in that Sam and Michael's mom doesn't believe there are vampires; she believes the more rational explanation that her sons are having trouble coping with the idea of her dating again. Ironically her current boyfriend turns out to be head vampire and it nearly gets her bitten. Also, subverted at the end, Grandpa returns just in time to kill the last vampire in the house and point out that he knew all along that there were loads of vamps around.
  • An Aesop: Peer Pressure Makes You Evil. Don't give in.
  • Affably Evil: Max. To some degree, David and his crew as well.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted with David and Star, since she and Michael start taking an interest in each other. The trope is also deconstructed in that even though we don't know how Star came to be involved with David, she doesn't seem to be enjoying the life of a vampire very much since she refuses to kill, even when David intentionally set her up with Michael so that he could be her first kill, but the two end up having sex instead.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Sam . . . just Sam. His poster of Rob Lowe shirtless (Though he also has one of Reform School Girls), his fixation on an oily muscly saxophone player, and his crooning of the girl verse from I Ain't Got a Man while taking a bubble bath.
    • Also some of his disconcertingly rainbow themed wardrobe choices, although that may just be a side effect of it being The '80s. The Frog brothers comment on him being a "fashion victim". Note, Word of God explains this on the commentary: the Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald posters in Sam's room were intended as a Shout-Out to the John Hughes teen movies of the time, and Schumacher directed St. Elmo's Fire.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Michael becomes a vampire by the end of the movie.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Nanook is a lovable pooch who doesn't like vampires. Max's dog Thorn also counts as a more literal version of this trope.
  • Anti-Villain: Max. He may be the Big Bad, but from an objective viewpoint he's just a lonely widower who wants a wife and mother for his boys.
  • Badass Grandpa: Perhaps the definitive example in cinema.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: It's been played straight and subverted in the original film. Out of all of the vampires, Star is the only one who never puts on her Game Face, and she is a good character. However, Michael and Laddie have shown their vampire faces, but they're not bad either.
  • Big Bad: David is the leader of the Lost Boys but answers to Max.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Michael naturally has this toward Sam. Star also exhibits the big sister instinct toward Laddie, a young boy that the vampire gang kidnapped and intended to turn into a vampire. David attempts to be this to Michael. It doesn't take.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Sam is hauling one of the creepy taxidermy animals into the closet. When he turns around, half-vampire Michael has come in the room by the second story window. After some arguing between the brothers, Star arrives, first yelling up to them from the ground, then suddenly floating by the window.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Grandpa with his Cool Car saves the day in the end.
  • Car Fu: With Grandpa's Cool Car, no less!
  • Chekhov's Gun: We see Grandpa working on the fence earlier, and the Jeep is filled with the fence posts when he goes on his date.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Grandpa. Also, Edgar and Allen have shades of this, along with being Properly Paranoid.
  • The Comically Serious: In Lost Boys, Edgar and Allan are about as cheerful as their namesake, and take themselves as seriously as CIA agents, yet they are some of the nerdiest teenage comic store employees you'll ever see.
  • Cool Car: Say what you will about him, Grandpa has one sweet ride.
  • Creepy Child: Laddie is the cutest kid you've ever seen... until he vamps out.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Michael and Sam's grandfather was perceived as just another senile old guy, until the end where it was revealed that he knew Santa Clara was infested with vampires all along.
  • Dawson Casting: Ah, the antics those mid-twenties teenage vampires get up to. The Frog brothers are also three years younger than their actors.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • Grandpa crashing through the wall in his jeep with perfect timing because he knew about vampires the whole time... okay. Said jeep happening to be piled high with a bunch of pointed fence posts... fine. But one those fence posts just happening to go right through the heart of the vampire, thereby killing him right before he bites Lucy... that's a bit much.
    • Considering how David's death-by-antelope-horns didn't appear to pierce the heart at all, and may have involved animal horn rather than wood, it's possible that impalement of any sort suffices for this film's vampires. Which would also make Sam's fatal arrow shot on Dwayne more plausible.
    • Michael does shove Max into the path of the posts as they fly forward, as well.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Michael promises Sam he'll find answers to his new vampire problem, and sneaks out to go get answers from Star, but winds up just having sex with her instead. He comes back the next morning as solution-less as he left, leading Sam to have to contact the Frog Brothers for help.
  • Door Handle Scare: We see Sam taking a bubble bath when his brother Michael slowly comes walking up the stairs. Sam sings to himself completely clueless, but his dog Nanook next to the bathtub hears his brothers footsteps coming up on the other side of the bathroom door. The music doesn't go silent but in fact increases with the tension. Finally Michael stands outside the bathroom door, banging it, turning the knob with the camera focusing in. His brother Sam is now submerged under the water as Michael's confronted by a growling and snarling Nanook. Who then attacks Michael out the door, down the stairs, with the door slamming shut.
  • Dramatic Landfall Shot: How Michael is initiated into David's gang after drinking his blood.
  • The Dragon: David is actually this to Max.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: David really wants Michael to understand how awesome it would be to become a vampire, and Max really wants Lucy to understand how great it would be to be "part of the family." Neither can understand why they would have a problem with that little "soulless blood-sucking monster of the night" detail.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Nanook can sense something is wrong with Michael.
  • Expy: Santa Carla is pretty obviously expy of Santa Cruz. It's even filmed on-location!
  • Eye Color Change: Vampires' eyes go from their natural colour to red when they transform into 'vampire mode'.
  • Fanservice: The titular "lost boys" are very easy on the eyes. Also both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in one movie!
  • Face on a Milk Carton: Laddie is prominently featured on one.
  • Final Solution: Kill the Alpha Vampire, all vampires return to normal. At least, all the new guys who never killed anyone yet.
  • Flight: One of the vampires' abilities.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Its very subtle but Grandpa shutting his office door when sees Max having entered the house. Re-watching knowing the old guy who knew about "all the damn vampires" keeps out of sight from the head vampire, sneaks out, lays a bunch of wooden stakes on the hood of his truck, then drives the truck through the wall of his house at top speed. That's how they did it in his day, whipper-snappers.
    • There's also the dialogue of the character who entered when he confuses the superstition of seeing the bride before the marriage with seeing the food before the meal.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Averted to Hell and back with Lucy. While very kind, loving, and optimistic, the movie doesn't gloss over how hard it is being a recently divorced mother of two teenage boys, (for starters, she has to move back in with her father), or how difficult it is for her to juggle raising them, finding a job, working said job, and having a social life all at once.
  • Hell Hotel: The Lost Boy's base of operations is the remains of an underground hotel buried during an earthquake.
  • Heroic Dog: Nanook the husky, who did a lot more than "help a little."
  • Heroic Willpower: Michael uses this at the last minute to defeat David.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: The way Michael's turned into a half-vampire is by being tricked into drinking blood, being told it's wine.
    • Also when Michael is eating rice with the vampires, David (Kiefer Sutherland) says to him, "Maggots, Michael. You're eating maggots. How do they taste?" Upon which Michael suddenly notices (or has been fooled into thinking) that his meal is a writhing mass of maggots; he reacts appropriately.
    • Part of a "cried wolf" ploy on behalf of the vampires. First they make him think his rice is maggots, then his noodles are earthworms. So when Star tries to warn him the wine is blood, Michael is not inclined to believe her.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Michael and Star's opinion of David.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: David's death.
    • Max. A fence post destroys most of his torso and he's flung backward several feet.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Grandpa's attitude towards television definitely falls into this category.
    Sam: Wait, wait. You have a TV?
    Grandpa: No. I just like to read the TV Guide. Read the TV Guide, you don't need a TV.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: David and his gang certainly think so. It's their main sales pitch to Michael.
  • Make-Out Point: Favorite hunting grounds for the vampires.
  • Music Video Syndrome : Music and surreal images overlap in a number of scenes. Word of God on the commentary notes that this type of storytelling would not have been possible without music videos.
  • Na´ve Everygirl: Star; at least as much as she can in an R-rated movie.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: While not a cop, Edgar and Alan hates all vampires, not just the bad ones. However, they are willing to help half vampires get their humanity back.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Grandpa pretends to be an eccentric old man (and is to a certain extent) but he's also a fairly skilled vampire hunter.
  • Once an Episode: A vampire recites some version of the quote at the top of the page in the sequels.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Along with Near Dark, this movie rewrote the book on vampires, in the same way An American Werewolf in London and The Howling(also both in the same year) rewrote the book on werewolves.
    • Notably, while they have many of the folkloric strengths and weaknesses (even sleeping in native soil is alluded to, with the vampires' lair described as "one big coffin,") one they play with the most is the "invitation." Vampires can enter a residence uninvited, but if you do invite them, you lose all power over them while inside, including attempting to exploit any weaknesses vampires naturally have.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: Evil AND a vampire.
  • Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Sam's bedroom, to be precise.
  • Pushover Parents: Being an ex-Hippie Nice Girl who wants to be friends with her two teenage sons works about as well for Lucy as you'd expect, although she does start to put her foot down later in the movie.
    Max: I tell ya, boys like Sam need discipline. Otherwise they walk all over you.
    Lucy: Oh, he doesn't walk all over me.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Many Lost Boys scenes take on a new meaning after Max is revealed to be the head vampire.
  • The Savage South: Santa Carla, California: Murder Capital of the World.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: David and his friends revel in this mentality. It's pretty hard for security guards and other authoritative figures except Max to keep from from going wherever they want or doing whatever they want, since those people tend to go "missing" afterwards.
  • Sequel Hook: Averted in both the original film with David's skeleton,and The Tribe with the two unused alternate endings. See What Could Have Been for more detail.
  • Senseless Phagia:
    • The wine is blood but Michael can't tell the difference.
    • Michael eats maggots, because he was told they were rice. Although it's unclear from the footage which contents of the carton, maggots or rice, were genuine. And it'd probably be easier for the vampire gang to swipe (or even pay for!) some genuine Chinese takeout than to gather a bunch of maggots and earthworms.
  • Sex Equals Love: Michael and Star really didn't share that many lines with each other before they ended up having sex halfway through the film.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: David and Star's first time.
  • Shirtless Scene: When Tim Cappello sings I Still Believe.
  • Shout-Out: Edgar and Allen Frog. You're either very young, very poorly read, or English is not your first language if you didn't figure that one out.
    • "Holy shit! It's the attack of Eddie Munster!"
    • When Max reveals his plan, Edgar responds by describing it as "The Bloodsucking Brady Bunch"
    • There's an Echo and the Bunnymen poster in Sam's bedroom (they sung The Doors' song "People Are Strange" in the opening montage).
    • The whole movie, down to the title, is a subtle Shout-Out to Peter Pan, with vampiric immortality being equated to Neverland and David/Peter recruiting new 'lost boys' while Star, like Wendy, chooses to reject the life. Max also claims that he wants Lucy to be a mother to his boys, much like Wendy was a mother to the lost boys.
  • Take Me Instead: At the end of The Lost Boys, Lucy is willing to let Max bite her in order to spare Michael and Sam. Grandpa saves her from this fate at the last second by crashing his jeep into the house.
  • Taxidermy Terror: Sam wakes up to discover that his grandfather has left a stuffed woodchuck in his room to "brighten up the place". It freaks him out to the point that he tossed a shirt over it. The shirt is still covering the woodchuck at the end of the movie, indicating that Sam found it more disturbing than the vampires he just had to fight.
  • Trashcan Bonfire: several of these are scattered throughout the Hell Hotel.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Santa Carla: Blue skies, lovely beaches, theme park on a board walk, active night life, great music culture, and swarming with murderous vampires.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: How David and his buddies lay waste to a group of Punk rockers/skinheads having a beach bonfire party.
  • Undead Child: Laddie looks to be about eleven years old.
  • Vampire Monarch: According to legend, if you kill a "head vampire", all the "half - vampires" turned by vampires under his command are restored to human form. This fails when the protagonists kill David - because Max is the head vampire.
  • Vampire Refugee: Star, Laddie, and Michael.
  • We Can Rule Together: We can parent together, anyway. Max believes his boys need discipline and that Lucy can provide it to them.And specifically told David to target her sons so that once they were turned, she couldn't refuse to be turned herself. His genuine and heartfelt (albeit not-really-negotiable) offer is to make her his vampire bride so they can lead his vampire "family" as father and mother.

     The Comics 
  • All There in the Manual: The comic series, Lost Boys: The Reign of Frogs is this in spades, clearing up several loose ends from the first film, and revealing some of the the back story to The Tribe. Some of the ideas in the comic (Such as Alan becoming a half-vampire, and someone drinking animal blood to avoid becoming a full vampire) are also used in The Thirst
    • Sam's Grandpa is really a half-vampire, and only feeds on animals to stay that way. The reason he didn't return to normal at the end of the film like Michael, Star and Laddie is because the Widow Johnson (a never seen character in the first movie) sired him, not Max.
    • Michael and Star are dead, having died in a car crash. Whilst never explicitly stated in the film or comics, it is believed that this means that Chris and Nicole from The Tribe are their children, due to them also being called Emerson and that it's mentioned that their parents died in a car crash.
      • Possibly retconned in The Thirst - Some of Edgar and Alan's dialogue implies that Michael and Star aren't dead.
    • David sired Shane, back in 1987 and Shane created The Tribe because David had The Lost Boys.
    • The reason Edgar works alone, is because when he, Alan, Sam and Grandpa Emerson went after the Widow Johnson, the raid went badly. Grandpa was killed, and Alan was forced to drink vampire blood, thus becoming a half-vampire.
      • Retconned in The Thirst - Alan and Edgar went after a half-vampire Senator, and in the chaos Alan was forced to drink blood. The Emersons weren't involved.

     The Tribe 
  • Adults Are Useless: Subverted in The Tribe, but only because Edgar Frog returns from the first film.
    • Played straighter by Chris and Nicole's aunt (she's unaware of the vampires, and just thinks that they're just taking advantage of not having their parents around by partying all night— even when she walks in on them at the very end, covered in blood, she assumes that they've just come back from a party and have gotten stoned) and the police (who are flat out afraid to deal with Shane's gang, despite being unaware they're vampires).
  • Big Bad: Shane Powers is the vampire behind it all.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Edgar Frog shows up to save the day at one point.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: One of Shane's mooks in The Tribe is impaled on a working jackhammer.
  • Police Are Useless: They're terrified of Shane's gang, for good reason.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Shane from The Tribe has more or less the same personality as David did in the original film and Shane's actor is Angus Sutherland, half-brother of Kiefer Sutherland, who played David.
  • Vampire Refugee: Nicole and Chris.

     The Thirst 
  • Bad Boss: Peter Lieber kills Gwen for no real reason other than he seems to find her annoying.
  • BFG: The Thirst.
    Edgar Frog: I'm going to need weapons. Lots of. Really expensive. Custom made. Weapons.
  • Big Bad: Peter Lieber is the main villain.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Alan Frog shows up to be one
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Around half an hour into The Thirst, Edgar is thrown into a book case in a comic book store, and the contents of the shelves fall on top of him. As he gets up, a copy of the collected The Reign of Frogs is in-front of his face.
    • Twenty minutes into The Thirst Chris and Nicole are discussing whether to attend Shane's party until Aunt Jillian approaches, wielding a copy of The Goonies which features Corey Feldman.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: DJ X.
  • Evil Plan: Essentially, the entire of The Thirst is revealed to be one. Peter trying to make Edgar his personal hitman
  • Expy: Gwen Lieber from The Thirst is one for Stephenie Meyer.
  • Flat Character: The vampires this time around, with the exception of Peter, have no personality.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: The Thirst gives us lesbian vampires.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Invoked once again in The Thirst, when with DJ X's death.
  • The Mole: Gwen Lieber was The Renfield all along.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gwen Lieber is certainly this, getting several underwear shots and very tight clothing.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: See the entry for Sequel Hook.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Averted in The Thirst, as it's been stated that the scenes that mention Sam's death were shot before Corey Haim's death in March 2010.
  • Senseless Phagia: The drug "The Thirst" from... The Thirst - It's part ecstasy and part vampire blood.
  • Sequel Hook: Played straight in The Thirst, as Edgar makes a comment about how he's recently read that female werewolves can transform at any time, and the viewer sees Zoe's eyes become wolf-like
  • Shout-Out: Receives a Call-Back in The Thirst - "Holy shit! It's the attack of Grandpa Munster!"
    • Amusingly, the vampires have a Munsters Go Home poster in their hideout.
  • Take That!: Gwen Lieber from The Thirst is a thinly veiled Expy of Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer. When Edgar says that he knows she's the author of a series of romantic novels about vampires which are now being adapted into films, Gwen states that she's flattered. Edgar responds by saying the books suck, and derides the fans of the books as "emo goth teens".
  • Title Drop: In The Thirst, and immediately followed up with a Development Gag - Johnny Trash refers to his audience as "Lost Boys and Girls".
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Alan Frog becomes a vampire in The Thirst. Not like it was a twist, or anything...
  • Vampire Refugee: Alan Frog is a vampire-vampire hunter.