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The Lost Boys: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The ‘80s Vampire Movie

Dianne Wiest, Jason Patric, and Corey Haim in The Lost Boys

To people of a certain age, there are no vampire movies more iconic than Joel Schumacher’s 1987 horror classic The Lost Boys. With remarkable performances by Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, and “The Two Coreys,” as well as a great story and setting, there are multiple reasons the movie has a soft spot in so many hearts nearly 35 years after its release. And with a remake on the way, now seems like the perfect time to go back to the small beach town of Santa Carla, California, and take a trip down the boardwalk of memories and awesome behind-the-scenes facts. Who knows, there might be stories involving The Sexy Sax Guy…

The Lost Boys cast

Richard Donner Was Originally Attached To Direct A More Kid Friendly Version Of The Lost Boys

The version of The Lost Boys we all know and love is quite different from what was originally pitched during the film’s development. Instead of being a moody and angsty movie with motorcycle-riding vampires directed by Joel Schumacher, The Lost Boys was initially going to be geared more towards a younger audience with the late Richard Donner at the helm. In 2008, Schumacher told The Hollywood Interview that Donner (who stayed on as executive producer) was in the director’s chair and wanted to make a “cutesy, ‘G’-rated movie” with no wild teenagers or motorcycles. But, after Donner got a chance to direct Lethal Weapon he handed the reins over to Schumacher to do his magic.

Jason Patric in The Lost Boys

Joel Schumacher Spent Six Weeks Trying To Convince Jason Patric To Join The Lost Boys Cast

A lot of the weight of The Lost Boys lies on the shoulders of Jason Patric and his performance as the tormented Michael Emerson as he comes to terms with becoming a vampire, and director Joel Schumacher immediately saw something in the young and relatively unknown actor when casting. Getting Patric to sign on would prove to be no easy task for Schumacher, as Patric continually turned down his offer. In the 2004 documentary The Lost Boys: A Retrospective, Schumacher revealed that he met with Patric pretty much every day for six weeks and tried to convince him that the movie wouldn’t be like other exploitation horror movies. Patric finally relented and agreed to sign on, which was good news for Schumacher, because he didn’t have a second choice lined up.

Tom Cruise in Top Gun

The Lost Boys Included Unused B-Roll Footage From Top Gun Due To Budget Cuts

There seems to be a trend with classic ‘80s horror movies experiencing budget cuts just before the start of production, and it’s no different for The Lost Boys. Shortly before his passing in June 2020, director Joel Schumacher told Empire that Warner Bros. got “cold feet” just before shooting was about to start and slashed the budget by $2 million. The art department was affected the most, and production designer Bo Welch had to come up with some ingenious ways of doing more with less. One of these ways was taking unused B-roll footage from Top Gun that was then used for the POV shot of a vampire flying through the clouds.

Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys

Kiefer Sutherland’s Look In Lost Boys Was Inspired By Billy Idol

Kiefer Sutherland’s David Powers may be one of main antagonists in The Lost Boys but he has remained a fan favorite and heartthrob over the years due to his iconic look (that platinum blonde mullet). Initially, David was supposed to have a different look, as Sutherland told Yahoo Entertainment in 2019. According to the actor, Schumacher wanted David to have long blonde hair, but this made Sutherland look like a wrestler and he wasn’t really fond of the appearance. So, on his first day on set, Sutherland had the makeup team trim his hair short on the top and sides to make him look more like Billy Idol, who he said was really cool at the time. And, even though Schumacher wasn’t pleased at first, Sutherland said he and the director laughed about it for years.

Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys

Corey Feldman Based His Portrayal Of Edgar Frog On ‘80s Action Movie Heroes

Corey Feldman’s Edgar Frog is another iconic character from The Lost Boys, and part of the reason for that is the way in which he portrayed a teenage vampire hunter alongside his on-screen brother, Alan Frog (Jamison Newlander). In the above mentioned 2004 documentary, the Stand By Me star revealed that when he was doing a reading of the script, Joel Schumacher approached him and said he needed to “butch it up a little bit.” What he meant by this was to go home and watch various Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, and other action movies of the time, and meld those characters together to create something. What we got was Edgar Frog, fearless teenage vampire hunter.

Alex Winter in The Lost Boys

Alex Winter’s First Day On Set Was The Famous Beach Party And He Had No Idea What He Was Getting Himself Into

There is one scene in particular in The Lost Boys that has become a monster of its own in the decades since the film’s 1987 release, and that is the beach party scene that features Tim Cappello, a.k.a. Sexy Sax Guy, all oiled up and singing “I Still Believe” as hundreds of party-goers dance on the beach. Well, as ridiculous (and ridiculously awesome) as this scene is for those watching the movie, it was even more so for the cast, as Alex Winter revealed during a 2021 interview with CinemaBlend:

I wish I had a camera while we were shooting The Lost Boys, because that entire shoot was absolutely insane, and wild, and fun, and very specific to its era. … My first day on set, I got to Santa Cruz the day they were shooting the beach party scene. There’s Tim Cappello, the sax guy, all oiled up, right? Bonfires, and all of this insanity, and I was like ‘What the hell is this movie I just signed onto? What is this thing?’

Tim Cappello and “I Still Believe” have each gone on to become two of most memorable parts of The Lost Boys, and the song was even used in a pivotal scene in the 2018 Paramount Network limited series Waco with Taylor Kitsch’s David Koresh playing the song as federal agents wait outside the Branch Davidian compound.

Kiefer Sutherland and Jami Gertz in The Lost Boys

Kiefer Sutherland Broke His Wrist While Trying To Impress A Girl On Set

Kiefer Sutherland and the actors who played the other motorcycle-riding vampires in The Lost Boys did their own stunt work during production. And, though this makes all the classic motorcycle scenes look even more badass, there were some drawbacks, like the time Sutherland broke his wrist while trying to impress a girl walking along the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

During the 2019 Dallas FanExpo, Kiefer Sutherland shared the story and explained that he performed a wheelie in an attempt to show off, but by doing so he failed to notice a train track. Upon hitting the obstacle, the actor was thrown off the bike and broke his right wrist in three places. After that a special cast had to be created for Sutherland, who also had to start riding a bike with the brake and clutch on the left side because of the injured wrist.

Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys

‘The Two Coreys’ Became Fast Friends On The Set Of The Lost Boys

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s there were few duos of young actors more recognizable than Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, a.k.a. “The Two Coreys.” All in all, the co-stars and friends would go on to make a total of nine movies together before Haim died of an overdose in March 2010. But, all stories have to start somewhere, and for The Two Coreys that was the set of The Lost Boys where they met and became fast friends. During a 2007 joint interview on Larry King Live, Haim revealed that he and Feldman “just clicked” when they met each other more than 20 years earlier. Whether it was in front of the camera or behind the scenes, the pair were inseparable for a time and would even complete each other’s sentences.

Edward Herrmann in The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys Almost Had A Different Ending

The Lost Boys has one of the all-time great horror movie endings with Grandpa (Bernard Hughes) crashing his jeep into the house and impaling Max (Edward Hermmann) in the process before saying the famous line:

One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach: all the damn vampires.

However, this wasn’t the original ending of Joel Schumacher’s 1987 horror film. According to Paul Davis’ 2017 book Lost in the Shadows: The Story of The Lost Boys (via Gizmodo), there was originally going to be an additional scene that displayed a mural of Max in the early 1900s, wearing a straw hat and with a smile on his face, talking to a group of young boys. This scene was moved to the end credits before being removed entirely when the aforementioned slashed budget resulted in the mural never being created and the scene never being shot.

Jami Gertz in The Lost Boys

Joel Schumacher Wanted To Make A Spinoff Called Lost Girls

There would eventually be two direct-to-DVD sequels — 2008’s Lost Boys: The Tribe and 2010’s Lost Boys: The Thirst — but Joel Schumacher wanted nothing to do with continuing the stories of any of the characters from the original because, as he told Rotten Tomatoes in 2007, all the “lost boys” were dead and there wasn’t really a story there. Instead, Schumacher suggested making a female-centered spinoff called Lost Girls:

It could be a vampire movie. It’s a great name. I told them to do ‘Lost Girls.’ It’d be great. I said, ‘Do gorgeous teenage biker chicks who are vampires. It’ll be great.’ But they don’t listen to me.

Unfortunately, Lost Girls never came to be, but maybe parts of that idea will make their way to the upcoming remake of The Lost Boys.

Hopefully these fascinating behind-the-scenes stories from the making of The Lost Boys give you a greater appreciation of Joel Schumacher’s iconic vampire movie. If you are in the mood for more thrills and chills, check out all the upcoming horror movies coming to theaters and streaming services in the near future.

Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.