I saw The Lost Boys very late, in fact I believe I was in my mid twenties before I watched it for the first time. It was one of those films that I was always going to “get around to” and every time it was televised I’d always for some reason end up missing it. When I did finally catch it, I loved it. Sure it is probably as dated as a film can get and it is a bit cheesy, it is also an immense amount of fun.
Set in the fictional US coastal town of Santa Carla, standing in for the intended locale of Santa Cruz. The city council of Santa Cruz took exemption to their home being described as the “murder capital of the world” and insisted that the name be changed if the production wished to go ahead in their city, the film makers acquiesced to their request. The original vision for The Lost Boys was actually a lot different to what made it to the screen. The original screenplay played more directly with the Peter Pan story in that with the ability to fly, never grow old and only visit the Darlings at night, maybe Peter Pan was a vampire?! With the aim of loosely running with that premise, Kiefer Sutherland’s David was originally to be called Peter and the Emerson brothers to be named John & Michael, with the Lost Boys themselves also sharing names with J.M Barrie’s characters. Re-writes left very little of this original idea in place other than the film’s title and vampire premise.
If you were to watch The Lost Boys now for the first time, hell, even if it’s not your first time, it has REALLY aged! You’d be hard pressed to find a more 80’s film. Is it Corey Haim’s fabulous jacket? Keifer Sutherland’s blonde mullet? Tim Capello’s oily, sax led gyrations? possibly one of the most 80’s soundtracks outside a John Hughes movie? It is undoubtedly all these things and if you surrender and embrace them, it is gloriously cheesy fun. I wouldn’t even describe it as a guilty pleasure because although the aesthetic may have aged badly, the film’s writing, good humour and obvious love for the horror genre shines through.
The obvious dating of the film has become as much a part of the charm as any other facet, a warm familiar blanket of nostalgia for the age that taste forgot and that’s not intended as a backhanded comment, it does genuinely give me the warm fuzzies of brainless escapism and don’t we all want that from time to time?