Long before Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart’s teenage vampire romance sparkled on our screens, The Lost Boys (1987) was the quintessential teen vampire film. Having been overlooked in recent years, it is important to revisit the movie and appreciate its undeniable influence on later portrayals of vampire in film and TV. Impact’s Alice Bennett takes a look at this iconic movie and its influence on the vampire genre.
The reputation of vampires has changed dramatically since Bram Stoker’s Dracula in comparison to the Twilight-dominated noughties featuring the infamous sparkly creatures. From creepy coffins and bats to brooding teenage vampire romances, the vampire film genre is ever-changing. However, despite the ridicule that the supernatural teen romances of the 2000s faced, vampires are still associated with being mysterious and desirable. But where did this subversion of the gothic horror genre start?
It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Goonies, and it’s a super fun and nostalgic watch
The Lost Boys (1987) is a coming-of-age comedy thriller that follows brothers Sam and Michael moving to Santa Carla- the murder capital of the US- with their mother to live with their grandfather. When Michael runs into David’s gang of vampires whilst pursuing the mysterious and beautiful Star, chaos ensues. With the help of local vampire hunters the Frog Brothers, Sam and Michael team up against the supernatural creatures. It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Goonies, and it’s a super fun and nostalgic watch.
Although its influence isn’t as obvious now, The Lost Boys was many people’s frame of reference for vampires when the film was released. It made vampires “cool”- mainly because it was one of the first depictions of the creatures as young and attractive; a stark contrast with traditional depictions of ancient pale creatures in coffins, with the association of vampires as teenagers remaining today
Because of the movie, vampires began to be associated with the punk 80s aesthetic of the biker gang in the movie, and their coolness and sex appeal was certainly aided by the lead, Michael- a much more desirable option than depictions of the crusty old Dracula. It was a precursor to the millions of fans who were Team Edward in 2008. Essentially, The Lost Boys walked so Twilight could run.
The vampire genre these days, however, is primarily associated with the likes of Edward Cullen as well the Salvatore brothers from The Vampire Diaries. They are usually attractive teenagers with a sensitive side and in love with a human girl- vampires started to get pretty angsty in the 2000s. Some may even refer to Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Angel and Spike- an extremely popular vampire series which may have replaced everyone’s frame of reference for vamps in the 90s.
Buffy is also perhaps becoming overlooked but is still a popular reference, and the brooding and mysterious Angel’s influence on later vampire iterations is pretty obvious in Edward Cullen and Stefan Salvatore, but Spike’s style and personality is more reminiscent of the equally influential but overshadowed The Lost Boys. Spike’s punk aesthetic really make him look like he belongs in David’s gang with his long leather jacket and rebellious attitude (minus the 80s hair).
So if you’re looking less angsty example of the vampire genre that doesn’t involve watching a teenage girl sleep and want some nostalgic teen vampire fun that mercifully wasn’t written by Joss Whedon, The Lost Boys might be the movie for you!
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