Behind-The-Scenes Details From 'The Lost Boys,' The Film That Made Vampires Glamorous

"Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire."

In 1987, The Lost Boys was headlined by a hot, young cast, including the first team-up of the "two Coreys," as well as Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz, and Alex Winter. The film forever altered the idea of the bloodsucker in popular culture and inspired cult classic phenoms, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A modest hit in theaters, The Lost Boys sank its fangs into the burgeoning home video market, where it became a cult hit for Warner Bros., thanks to its sexy vampires, of-the-moment soundtrack, beach boardwalk setting, '80s humor, and unforgettable style. 

In a lot of ways, though, The Lost Boys was a film that was made on the fly (no pun intended), with things changing almost daily as production went on, and a bunch of young actors cooped up together in a Santa Cruz hotel that some cast members compared to a constant rave. As a result, the film we got was almost very different more than once, as you'll see in these anecdotes from behind-the-scenes of everyone's favorite teen vampire movie.


  • The Initial Idea Was For A Kid-Friendly Film Focused On Peter Pan As A Vampire

    "It was very much 'Goonies Go Vampire,'" director Joel Schumacher said of the original script, penned by Jan Fischer and James Jeremias, a first-time screenwriter who had the idea after reading Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. Specifically, the character of Claudia, "a 200-year-old vampire trapped in the body of a 12-year-old girl."

    "Since Peter Pan had been one of my all-time favorite stories," Jeremias later recalled, "I thought, ‘What if the reason Peter Pan came out at night and never grew up and could fly was because he was a vampire?'" In Jeremias and Fischer's initial version of the story, which Schumacher called "charming and adorable, and very G-rated," all the characters were pre-teens, from the vampires themselves to the protagonists to the vampire-hunting Frog brothers.

    It was producer Richard Donner (then still attached as director) who had the idea of making the characters older. "He said, 'Old enough to drive,'" Jeremias recalled, "but what he meant was, 'Old enough to f*ck.'"

  • Kiefer Sutherland Angered The Director By Changing His Character’s Haircut

    Inspired by singer Billy Idol, Kiefer Sutherland told the set hairdresser to snip off his long hair on the second day of filming, creating his character's unmistakable look. "Joel Schumacher wanted me to have long hair," the actor recalled, "and I had long hair at the time, and then he wanted it white, a timeless kind of thousand-year-old look. So I dyed it white, and my hair was like normally long, like long everywhere. And I just looked like a wrestler! I hated it."

    So the actor had it changed on the sly, which initially angered the director, though he eventually came around. "I actually think I might’ve been responsible, or at least partially responsible, for creating the mullet," the actor says. "And for that, I’ll apologize to the death."

  • They Got To Film In Santa Cruz Only If The Name Was Changed (To Santa Carla)

    "This is exactly where you would go if you were a teenage vampire," director Joel Schumacher said of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, where much of the movie was filmed. Santa Cruz didn't want to scare away any tourists, so filmmakers had to change the name of the town in the movie to Santa Carla. That infamous graffiti on the back of the "Welcome to Santa Carla" sign, though? That was true, at least according to Schumacher.

    "Santa Cruz had more murders per capita than anywhere else in the United States," the director recalled. "There was a murder outside of our hotel while we were preparing the movie."

  • Jason Patric Passed On His Role (Twice) Because He Didn’t Want Fangs And Makeup

    Jason Patric has had leading roles in plenty of movies, TV shows, and even on Broadway over the years, but for many of us, he'll always be best remembered as the reluctant vampire Michael in The Lost Boys - a role he actually turned down twice. "I didn’t want to wear teeth and makeup," Patric told Entertainment Weekly, "that's just not what I wanted to do as an actor." 

    Fortunately, director Joel Schumacher was able to convince Patric to change his mind, partly by promising he wouldn't have to endure prosthetics. Then, however, the ending was rewritten, and Schumacher had to go back on his word. "I felt terrible," Schumacher told Empire. "I don't lie to actors." The conflict was only one of many on set, but it nearly derailed production, as an irate Patric refused to do the scene until he was eventually coaxed back by the studio.

  • Joel Schumacher Lobbied Unsuccessfully To Get A ‘Lost Girls’ Sequel Made

    The Lost Boys did well in theaters but was a huge hit on home video, prompting producer Richard Donner and Warner Bros. studios to look at the possibility of a sequel. Director Joel Schumacher, who had been the one to propose the idea of the vampires sleeping in a ruined hotel that had crumbled into the San Andreas Fault, initially suggested a prequel set during the earthquake of 1906. When that didn't fly, he instead proposed a Lost Girls movie with "Drew Barrymore and Rosanna Arquette on motorcycles. I wanna see that movie!"

    Sadly, neither version ever went before the cameras, and while The Lost Boys later got a pair of lackluster direct-to-video sequels, the Lost Girls idea was suitably lost to history.

  • Makeup Designers Created ‘Subtle’ Vampire Dentures To Look Like Pearls

    "I've hired these sexy, young kids," director Joel Schumacher told makeup effects artist Greg Cannom. "I don't want monsters."

    Cannom was tasked with rebranding vampires for the '80s, helping to create the distinctive looks we associate with The Lost Boys. This included subtle makeup effects inspired by a faded, old photograph of a tennis player, striking contacts that were so hard and uncomfortable that they actually caused Kiefer Sutherland to shed an onscreen tear that got used in the film, and "understated and delicate" fangs. "I really tried to make the teeth look like pearls," Cannom explained, working back through his process. The dentures, which hooked over the actors' real teeth, had wire supports along the gum line to help them hold up.