Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of The Lost Boys. While I’m more associated with “cloak-and-fangs” style vampires these days, it was The Lost Boys that sparked my longstanding interest in the undead.
Back when I was kid during the 1980’s, the vampire media I was exposed to was typically dull. “Old” guys with exaggerated accents who attacked people while they slept? I failed to see the appeal in the subject. Unlike the Wolf Man or the Creature from the Black Lagoon, vampires weren’t even that interesting to look at. Sure, I was familiar with vampires from the folklore books I had read, but the Universal and Hammer classics weren’t readily available.
The Lost Boys changed all that when I caught it on HBO a year or two after its theatrical release. I don’t recall the circumstances surrounding that first viewing, but I remember raving about it to my brother. The vampires looked like heavy metal rockers who flew through the air like supervillains. The heroes used crossbows. While I prefered harder rock, the soundtrack was pretty cool. There was an energy in it that I hadn’t seen in other vampire movies. I still think the poster has the greatest tagline of all time — it is fun to be a vampire, and The Lost Boys was the first thing I saw that seemed to believe it.
Not long after that, I saw Fright Night. I didn’t like it as much as The Lost Boys, but still loved its update on more “traditional” vampire stories. Near Dark blew my mind, rest in peace Bill Paxton. I even liked the made-for-TV movie Nick Knight, back when a vampire hero was a unique approach to the archetype.
Anne Rice was in her ascendancy at that time and White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade debuted in the early ’90’s. I saw Coppola’s Dracula on opening night. Vampires had gone from being one of my least favorite monsters to the front of the line.
My interest in vampires led me back to the classics I hadn’t had the opportunity to see earlier. I finally got to see Tod Browning’s Dracula, the Hammer films, and a lot of the other ones that the genre was built upon. That stuff may be where my heart is now, but it all started with The Lost Boys. And since my love of Gothic horror began as an outgrowth of my fascination with vampires, you can thank that movie for this site, too.
Happy 30th, guys.