It’s surprising that I had never seen THE LOST BOYS until recently. I’m a child of the 80’s and this is most definitely an 80’s movie, with the prevalent punk culture motif represented in the titular Peter Pan vampire gang, along with the first screen pairing of the 80’s staple known as The Corey’s. The decade was a hot bed of horror comedy, undoubtedly fueled by the exhaustion of genre films in the years preceding. THE LOST BOYS, MONSTER SQUAD, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD took familiar horror characters (werewolves, zombies, vampires) and injected humor into the mix. Landis’ landmark werewolf flick delivered a prescient mixture of humor within the monster movie structure that set the bar for comedy in the horror genre. The mixture in this flick is, admittedly, different but still effective.
Romanticizing vampires has been a staple of the character since the beginning. They’re hypnotic and alluring: creatures of the night. The mark of the vampire, made by biting the neck of the victim to drink their blood, is a macabre romantic gesture; it’s pure blood lust. Vampires represent the opposite of the human experience: they never age, they are nearly invincible, they possess strength and other powers no human has, and they spend their days in hiding and their nights on the prowl.
I would argue that rarely are they presented as sexual as they are in THE LOST BOYS. The inciting incident is a classic, sexually charged boy-meets-girl moment, and the ensuing courtship is between the boy, Michael (Jason Patric), and the vampire pack, led by David (Kiefer Sutherland).
Part of the A plot involves Michael’s younger brother, Sam (Corey Haim), and a duo of vampire hunting pre-teens, the Frog bothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), who work at a comic shop. The boys act as both the harbinger and the comedic relief with their frank bravado in the realm of vampire hunting. (Sort of reminds you of the fake machismo young boys have when discussing female conquests with their friends, right? Hmmmm.) The motif of allure and sexual tension works well within the conflict between the vampires and Michael, but
whenever we cut back to the young boys and their obsession with hunting vampires the tone shifts and switches the focus of the story. In the end, it works because they all need each other to resolve the conflict, but it takes a foggy path to get there.
Aside from the muddled tone, this is a solid vampire story that doesn’t go exactly the way you think it will and it works well because of the small scope of the story. There’s the vampire element and then there’s the family who has just moved in with their eccentric grandpa in Santa Clara “The Murder Capital of the World”. That’s the extent of it. The story doesn’t venture outside of the small world it creates. There’s no plot for world domination or human extinction, there’s just a conflict between a family and the vampires. Sometimes simple and sweet, with just the right mixture of cool, is enough to tell a good story.