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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Back to the 80s: ‘Lost boys’

Vampires have always been cool
Alyssa Branum
“The Lost Boys” original 80s movie poster. A traditional spin on vampire lore. (Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures and graphic created in Canva by Alyssa Branum)

Before vampires sparkled in the sun and went vegetarian, they wore sleek leather jackets and dangly earrings in the 80s gothic film “The Lost Boys.”

“The Lost Boys” is a 1987 film that takes place in the supposed murder capital of California, the Santa Clara Pier, in a town overrun by mysterious, dangerous and powerful vampires.


These vampires aren’t only vengeful and peculiar, but also extremely good looking. The vampires of this film wear short crop tops, embellished leather jackets, mullets and chains to portray their version of sexy vampires.

A lot of 80s special effects films like “Teen Wolf” and “Harry and the Hendersons” rely on make-up and costuming to create a peculiar storyline, but “The Lost Boys” relies on the natural beauty of their actors, such as Jason Patric and Jami Gertz, to capture their horrific story.

The most unfortunate part of this film though, is that although the costuming is beyond superb, the lack of horror make-up is disappointing. The only thing that makes the vampire characters different from the human characters is sharp pointy teeth and gold contacts.

Every good vampire film requires a little bit of blood and horror, but not a speck of blood is shed or even drunk during this entire film.

Outside of the attractive characters, the film follows Michael and Sam Emerson, played by Patric and Corey Haim, as they adapt and grow accustomed to their new lives in Santa Clara.

Both Michael and Sam are unhappy with the decision to move, but as a way to warm up to the idea of life in Santa Clara, they decide to explore the nightlife of the pier. That night is when things truly begin to change for the Emerson family.

Sam finds himself face-to-face with the nerdy and comic book-obsessed Edgar Frog and Alan Frog, played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander.

The Frog brothers are renowned Santa Clara vampire hunters and experts, who rope Sam in on the truth behind the vast murders of the town. Not buying into all that, Sam waves the brothers off and makes his way to find Michael gathered at a pier bonfire where the true excitement begins.

While watching the locals dance and party, Michael catches the eye of a vibrant curly-haired woman named Star, played by Gertz. Her enticing moves and smile, make Michael fall to his knees in lust.

Every good horror movie requires its damsel in distress and Star is the perfect level of enticing and mysterious that would make any teenage boy willing to sacrifice his life, but like all good vampire movies, love and lust are ultimately the characters’ biggest downfalls.

As the film progresses, the relationship between Star and Michael is one that like in a lot of 80s movies appears to be lacking, but for a vampire film the lack of romance seems a little off-putting and the chance to explore Michael’s raging hormones for Star leaves viewers feeling astray.

Most vampire movies like “Twilight” and “The Vampire Diaries” thrive off the romantic genre and the desperate desire of their leading ladies, but in “The Lost Boys” Star is the vampire who leads Michael to his inevitable fate.

Michael is seemingly attracted to Star in a stalker-like way, he follows her around the pier until he finally has a moment to speak with her. As the two begin to flirt, a clan of four long-haired and leather-wearing men speed up to them, revving and roaring their motorcycle engines.

RELATED: Back to the 80s: ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

As the leader David, played by Kiefer Sutherland, approaches he calls Star over to his bike and challenges Michael to a motorcycle race. David then does everything in his power to push Michael to his limit, such as almost pushing him off the cliff and tricking him into eating bugs.

Michael is not one to give up though, as he continues to strive to fit in and put his life at risk, he unknowingly joins this devilish gang of young vampires.

This is where the movie strays from a romantic vampire film to a film encapsulating the 80s favored theme of teenagers desperate to fit in. Rather than following the traditional path of a man chasing a woman, the plot follows Michael as he struggles to balance fitting in with the horror of vampires and his fleeting human life.

“The Lost Boys” is a vampire movie that, unlike modern films, portrays vampires in their traditional gothic manner. They sleep during the day upside down in caves, they drink blood, they are uncharacteristically pale and roam the world at night.

The way they transition from human to vampire is a lot more like “The Vampire Diaries” lore than “Twilight” though.

In this film, to become a vampire a human must drink a vampire’s blood and die to join. A dramatic transformation compared to the usual biting and sucking of vampire lore.

In comparison to other vampire films, the chance to be a vampire from “The Lost Boys” truthfully sounds like the best option. Having a town afraid to mess with you, ruling the Santa Clara Pier and getting to wear studded leather jackets are totally worth the sacrifice to become immortal.

When Michael becomes a vampire the horror begins, as Sam and his gang of vampire hunters begin to try and save Michael from his fate as an immortal.

The sibling relationship between Michael and Sam is one that transcends time. The sarcastic and quip nature of the boys’ jokes and humor is truly what makes this movie so relatable throughout time. As no matter the decade a siblings-bond is pertinent.

The film concludes as the gang works together to kill the vampire clan in the funniest of ways. The Frog brothers, adorned in their camo gear and face paint, create a string of booby traps, such as a bathtub of garlic and squirt guns filled with holy water, to attract and trick the vampires into revealing and killing themselves.

The best part of 80s films is its goofy and natural humor. The concept of a bathtub filled with garlic and holy water is something that only 80s movie creators, such as Joel Schumacher, could do.

Killing a clan of vampires is no easy task, but this film does an amazing job of mixing its own version of vampire lore and traditional 80s themes to create a vampire film worthy of its genre.

As each vampire falls to their ultimate death the true unexpected twist is revealed that even in 2024, isn’t worth the spoil.

(L-R) Star (Jami Gertz), Michael Emerson (Jason Patric), Edgar Frog (Corey Fieldman), Laddie (Chance Michael Corbitt) and Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander) in the middle of the climatic vampire fight. Star and Laddie both were in their transitional phase of turning into vampires during the fight. (Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

This honored and timeless classic is one that is still appreciated today. Although this film takes place in Santa Clara it was actually filmed on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in 1986. Every summer, the boardwalk honors this movie by projecting it on the big screen for fans to enjoy.

Vampire films, especially in the 80s, weren’t a popular and well-explored niche, but “The Lost Boys” does an amazing way of combining 80s humor and themes with gothic vampire traditions.

This film was one of the first horror-comedy films of the 80s. It is considered a pioneer for the genre and thanks to Sam and Michael’s goofy relationship the slap-stick humor is one everyone can enjoy.

“The Lost Boys” is a film that lives up to even modern movie standards and is one that will truly immerse viewers into the 80s nostalgia and thrill of films.

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Katelyn Marano
Katelyn Marano, Copy Editor
(she/her) Katelyn Marano is a graduating senior with a major in journalism and a minor in English. She is currently in her second semester here at The State Hornet and is the copy editor for the spring 2024 semester. Katelyn enjoys reading and writing, and hope to take her degree into book publishing.
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