Santa Cruz celebrates the 35th anniversary of “The Lost Boys”

Thirty-five is a mess of a number, teenage middle age. Teen vampire flick ‘The Lost Boys’ turns 35 today, and there’s no better time to honor this summer blockbuster, which inspired an entire genre that’s still going strong today. today.

Reviews curses the movie with low praisebut contrary to expert opinion, people took notice in a big way – both the genre and its superb location on the central coast, Santa Cruz.

Ask Jordan Peele.

Peele pays tribute to ‘The Lost Boys’

“The Lost Boys” was a major influence on this generation’s horror director Peele, who recently resurrected an icon from the Bay Area’s recent past in “Nope.”

Peele loved ‘The Lost Boys’ so much, he insisted that opening of his 2019 genre thriller “We” be filmed at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as a tribute to “The Lost Boys”. And he did such a good job of tapping into the quirky, quirky soul of Santa Cruz that a it was even rumored that the film was scaring away tourists.

A poster of Jordan Peele’s 2019 hit ‘Us’, filmed at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Peele is a fan of “The Lost Boys” which was filmed at the same location in 1986 and released on July 31, 1987.

Photo by Charles Russo

But, in mind-blowing Peele fashion, he didn’t stop there. Instead, he got really meta with his homage.

‘Us’ opens in 1986, the year ‘The Lost Boys’ was filmed – featuring a film crew on the boardwalk, which is, of course, supposed to be the production of ‘The Lost Boys’.

“We shot in Santa Cruz and the first scene of our film is there”, Peele told Uproxx. “It’s the same beach, it’s the same amusement park. And we are even in 1986.

“There is a reference to the filming of ‘The Lost Boys’ by the carousel,” he added. “They’re walking down the … boardwalk and the mom says, ‘You know they’re shooting a movie over there by the carousel. “”

Partygoers on the Santa Cruz boardwalk enjoy a late summer afternoon stroll.

Partygoers on the Santa Cruz boardwalk enjoy a late summer afternoon stroll.

Photo by Charles Russo

“The boardwalk is a central location, also another character in ‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘Us,'” Christina Glynn, spokesperson and film commissioner for Visit Santa Cruz County, told SFGATE. “I think even for a casual movie fan, you come here and recognize the walk right away, but for die-hard ‘Lost Boys’ fans, we have a map for more gems off the beaten path. You’d be surprised how many people come here to find as many places as they can in person.

“The Lost Boys” a flop in the eyes of critics

Even in his very lukewarm reception of “The Lost Boys”, Roger Ebert acknowledged that there might be something with the concept of teenage vampires: “If you really stop to think about it, a group of teenage vampires would be a terrible disgrace, tragedy, heartbreaking loss of innocence for them, not to mention their victims,” ​​Ebert wrote in his two-and-a-half-star review. “Am I stupid for taking them seriously? Maybe. nope.

Actors Jamison Newlander, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim on the set of "The lost boys." The genre-defining film was released 35 years ago on July 31, 1987.

Actors Jamison Newlander, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim on the set of ‘The Lost Boys’. The genre-defining film was released 35 years ago on July 31, 1987.

Archive by Michael Ochs/Getty Images

Ebert went on to praise the cast, which was headlined by Dianne Wiest, who had just won an Oscar in 1986 for Best Supporting Actress in “Hannah and Her Sisters.” Other notables included longtime stage and television actor Barnard Hughes as Wiest’s father and character actor Edward Herrmann as local comic book store owner and love interest of Wiest. West.

The Giant Dipper roller coaster is a highlight of the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

The Giant Dipper roller coaster is a highlight of the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

Photo by Charles Russo

But it was the teenagers who did the heavy lifting, including mischievous Coreys (Haim and Feldman), idols Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland as top good-boy/bad-boy vampires, and Jami Gertz as femme fatale.

“If there was anything they could get into, the little troublemakers, they did it,” assistant director Bill Beasley previously told SFGATE of Haim and Feldman’s on-set antics. . “They would find it and do it. They were a handful.

Second assistant director Judith Bouley, who was also responsible for scouting locations and casting extras, squabbled over thousands of potential extras for ‘The Lost Boys,’ many of whom, she noted, were locals. from Santa Cruz.

Teenage revelers line up at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, first made famous in the teen blockbuster movie "lost boys," who turns 35 on July 31, 2022.

Teenage revelers line up at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, first made famous in film in the teen blockbuster “The Lost Boys,” which celebrates its 35th anniversary on July 31, 2022.

Photo by Charles Russo

“I did it at the Holiday Inn in Santa Cruz, and we advertised it in the Santa Cruz Sentinel,” she told SFGATE. Over 2,400 people showed up during its two days of casting, and 800 were ultimately selected to fill the walk’s scenes.


Despite the extra effort to keep the Santa Cruz filming weird, critics at the time were unimpressed. “There are good things about the movie, including a cast that’s right across the board and a willingness to have fun with teen culture,” Ebert wrote. “…But when it’s all over, there’s nothing left to leave the theater – no real horrors, no real terror, no real imagination – just the technique in the service of the formula.”

Sacramento Bee reviewer George Williams, who also gave the film two stars, wasn’t as kind or forward-thinking in his review: “The film, directed by Joel Schumacher (“St. Elmo’s Fire” and “DC Cab”) and put together by the team that created “The Goonies,” including executive producer Richard Donner, is onto something very promising early on,” he wrote. “But director Schumacher doesn’t trust those ideas…stretching his story down absurd alleys. ‘The Lost Boys’ never gets over it.

Did Kiefer Sutherland fall on the mullet?

Despite the critical pans, “The Lost Boys” defied expectations and rallied to a stellar opening weekend of $5.2 million. It debuted at No. 2, just behind Timothy Dalton’s James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’, and recouped most of its $8.2 million budget en route to grossing revenue. of $32.2 million.

Kiefer Sutherland on a motorcycle in a scene from the film "lost boys," which opened on July 31, 1987.

Kiefer Sutherland on a motorcycle in a scene from ‘The Lost Boys,’ which premiered July 31, 1987.

Photo Archive/Getty Images

The teen horror-comedy has also become one of the Warner Bros. best-selling home video releases of all time, spawning a cultural avalanche of teen vampire literature and movies that’s ubiquitous today, from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to “Twilight.” Yet only a few decades ago it was something brand new.

Another legacy of the film: It helped popularize the mullet.

“I thought Billy Idol was really cool and I thought he looked really cool and I still think he looks really cool,” Sutherland recently told GQ in a post. retrospective of his favorite roles. “His hair was all spiky and a bit punk in the front – so I got this haircut but I left enough of it in the back…and I think a bit accidentally could have at least been part of it. of the movement that created perhaps one of the worst hairstyles of all time – the mullet.

“A mystical place … a perfect place for mystical Santa Carla”

“The Lost Boys” turned Santa Cruz into a filming destination, and that tradition continues today, Glynn says.

A view of palm trees and the skyline with the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

A view of palm trees and the skyline with the famous Giant Dipper roller coaster from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Photo by Charles Russo

“The film captured the zeitgeist of the late ’80s and touched on the counterculture flavor of Santa Cruz,” she says. “Some say Santa Cruz is a mystical place, and it’s a perfect place for mystical Santa Carla. ‘The Lost Boys’ was really ground zero. It really married a teen movie with the vampire genre and got us put on the map as a place.

Besides “Us,” recent big-budget feature films that were filmed in Santa Cruz include Sandra Bullock’s 2018 Netflix viral hit “Bird Box” and the 2018 Transformers universe expansion “Bumblebee.”

And if you see the California coastline or towering redwoods in a commercial or magazine ad, chances are it was shot in Santa Cruz, too.

“Our bread and butter is still photography and commercials,” says Glynn. “Highway 9 through the Santa Cruz Mountains and Highway 1 north of town are the most popular. We’re working with a couple of high-profile scout scouts and we’re on their radar. You can be at the boardwalk or the beach and 15 minutes later in a redwood forest. These are both economical and very spectacular landscapes.

Santa Cruz is ‘forever tied’ to ‘The Lost Boys’

Though the Hollywood spotlight continues to shine on Santa Cruz, nothing quite beats “The Lost Boys” and the fandom it still evokes, admits Glynn.

A general view of the Santa Cruz Wharf, with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park behind July 29, 2007.

A general view of the Santa Cruz Wharf, with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park behind July 29, 2007.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

And if you couldn’t make it to the boardwalk or the Atlantis Fantasyworld comic book store or the old Pogonip Clubhouse this weekend to pay your respects, rest assured: Santa Cruz is still planning a big ‘The Lost Boys’ Anniversary Celebration this Halloween weekend, with a free screening of the film on the beach in front of the Colonnade at the Boardwalk at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 29.

“After the pandemic, the boardwalk had to cut it down a bit this summer,” says Glynn. “But we wouldn’t miss an anniversary for ‘The Lost Boys.’ We are forever bound to this cult classic.