This weekend the good people over at the Popcorn Frights Film Festival will be screening one of my very favorite films The Lost Boys. It has been 30 years since it was released in theaters back in July of 1987 and has maintained a strong and loyal following ever since. While I have never been the biggest vampire fan, The Lost Boys stands out as being one of the coolest vampire flicks ever made. In this latest edition of TrueHorror Memories, I will be traveling back to the summer of 87 to revisit my first encounter with the film.
Over the years since it first hit theaters, The Lost Boys is a film that I have come back to time and time again. One of those films you know the words to and don’t care, you can watch it anytime, as if it has some sort of comforting effect. Accompanied by what is probably the most memorable horror soundtrack ever, the film not only captures the 80’s in all it’s glory, it also features a truly great cast that elevates all of the material to classic status. Led by Jason Patric (why wasn’t this guy a huge star again?) and Kiefer Sutherland, everyone delivers memorable and at times iconic performances. Joel Shumacher’s “sexy” vampire film does so much right while putting a fresh spin on the classic mythos. It also of course features the famous 80’s duo “The Two Coreys” Haim and Feldman. It is crazy to think this was just 2 years after Feldman starred as the smart ass Mouth in another 80’s all time classic The Goonies. I could sit here and list all the great cast members and their resume’s but I am gonna go on a limb and assume if you are reading this, you know all about that. So let me move on to the whole point of this little write up, my earliest memories of the film.
When it comes to the Lost Boys, I have two very vivid memories that I fondly recall. Hard to believe I was only about 7 years old when Lost Boys first was released, but I was and when TV spots first started popping up there was a part at the end that used to get the best of my imagination. It was the closeup image of David played by Kiefer Sutherland all vamped out emerging from the shadows. It comes out of nowhere in the commercial and always left me shook. I vividly remember the worst night pertaining to this commercial, as my Mother and I were staying at her friend’s house out in Long Island that night. Why is this fact important, because her having a house meant the room I was sleeping in by myself had a skylight, and that meant that after the lights went out all my young imagination could do is keep me looking up at that skylight, staring, imaging that any minute scary vampire face would emerge from the blackness of the night sky to terrify me. It took me what felt like forever to finally let my guard down and fall asleep that night and for whatever reason, that is a memory I have always held onto for so long. I wasn’t scared of everything, but that face just creeped me out good at the time. Such an effective and lasting image that it scared me as a kid and the memory has stuck with me. Good job to whoever in advertising cut that commercial. You can see it below.
The fact that the end of the commercial scared me so much, makes this second part of this even more shocking to me, aside from the frightening end of the commercial, the rest of the movie looked pretty cool to 7 year old me. Well apparently it also looked pretty cool to my Dad because one fateful and dreary Saturday afternoon in August, he decided we would trek out into the rain and head over to the theater to see it together. Yes my Dad was taking me, a 7 year old, to go see The R rated Lost Boys, why? because it looked like a cool movie and that’s what happened back in the 80’s. I had already experienced films such as Gremlins, The Goonies, and yes…earlier that year the awesomeness that is Predator. So while The Goonies and Gremlins may be classified as kid films, they certainly were more adult than the kids films of today, and if I was able to handle watching Arnold Schwarzenegger and his crew tussle with an intergalactic hunter, surely I could handle a couple of leather jacket wearing vampires. The story could end there, but the reason I write these in the first place is to explore the memories writing them brings back, and had that day just been me and my Dad going to see the movie that would have been great, but it was always more with my Dad. So we headed out into the neighborhood, Jackson Heights, Queens, NY to be exact. We walked from our building on 77th street down to 82nd street in the rain (under an umbrella of course) . 82nd Street was one of the busiest streets in the neighborhood full of all kind’s of little shops ans stores. We had some time to kill before the movie, so we went into the toy store on the block and I picked out a new G.I. Joe figure to add to my collection by the name of Tunnel Rat. In retrospect I don’t really know why he was my choice, but at the time I really thought he was a cool Joe. So with toy in hand we headed further down the street, crossing Roosevelt Ave under the 7 train line and stopped to grab a slice of pizza, we sat down and ate while I happily looked at my new figure and read the back of the packaging. This was a typical day out with my Dad and I have plenty of cool memories like this of time spent with him, that I am grateful for. Eventually it was time to head across the street to the Jackson theater to watch The Lost Boys.
The Jackson Theater, a place where I had watched so many films during my early years such as Transformers: The Movie, Terminator 2 and Die Hard, was the best theater in the neighborhood at the time. There was another theater up the block called The Colony that was pretty low rent. To this day whenever it is brought up my Dad mentions how it was so crappy you could hear the projector running while watching the movie. The Jackson on the other hand was one of the coolest theaters I remember going to in my life. Dating back to the 1920’s it used to show silent films accompanied by an actual symphony orchestra. It was a huge space that in the 80’s housed only 3 theaters and the main theater retained much of the grand architecture and scale. So picture the image below, only with a large movie screen where the stage is (the top curtains remained) it was awesome, and the fact that I went there when I was still a little kid, made it probably seem even bigger than it was. Sadly in recent years the theater had fallen on hard times and neglect led to it being shut down permanently. Still if that wasn’t a cool place to watch a movie, I don’t know what is.
So as my Dad and I got our popcorn and sodas and made our way into the theater, I remember thinking, this is so cool, I am about to see this scary movie with my Dad. It was definitely the first horror movie we watched together in the theater and it was a big deal to me. I remember how excited I was after the movie as I related to the Frog Bros. and loved the scene of them riding there bikes around town to get the holy water, and prep the house. I specifically remembered the music in that scene as well and hummed it to myself whenever I would ride my bike, thinking I was going on an adventure. I loved the movie, it was like a late teenage version of the Goonies vs Vampires in a sense so it was no wonder it resonated so much with me. Who would have thought that 30 years later, I would be getting ready to head back to a movie theater to watch it again and celebrate what has remained a part of the pop culture lexicon with other like minded fans who have made it a part of their lives for 3 decades. The Lost Boys is an all time classic and has spawned countless merchandise and even direct to video sequels. For me though, it also just represents a great memory of a great day spent with my Dad and for that, it will always hold a special place in my heart.