This time of year always takes me back to the 80s… Afterall, did any decade give us better horror? But of course…NOT! Think of it: the Big Eighties delivered a plethora of Big haunts like The Shining, Poltergeist, The Howling, and Ghost Story, to name a few. Scream screen icons like “Michael Myers” and “Norman Bates” continued their terrifying adventures during the decade…and then we met some iconic horror characters for the first time, like “Jason,” “Freddie,” and even Michael Jackson’s Thriller zombie.
But perhaps the greatest horror-comedy came in 1987… Long before ‘Twilight‘ started the teen vamp craze, “The Lost Boys” took a bite out of everyone with a film you could really sink your teeth into.
If you had any doubts going in, this movie made you see the light: it really is fun to be a vampire. The flick was an awesome thrill ride- an instant horror classic!
For me, the movie took on even greater meaning when my true 80s tribute band was formed well over a decade later. Somehow, we knew a movie from the 80s would guide us- so we embarked on a mission just as Dan Aykroyd directed us in his classic 80s film. No, not Ghostbusters. The Blues Brothers: “We’re on a mission from God.” Eh, kinda.
My first brush with the real Lost Boys came in college when the film’s accidental hero- “Grandpa”- played by veteran actor Barnard Hughes, visited my acting class at NYU. He was a great guy in person, and he delivered the memorable line at the end of the film about the drawbacks of life in Santa Carla: “Too many damn vampires!” Actually, the line was a reference to Hollywood…but I digress…
Fast forward to a decade after the film- in the summer of 1997, I landed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from Warner Bros. They handed over the keys to a $10 Million movie set- the most top secret set in Hollywood at the time- and let me direct the second unit production in the batcave…complete with George Clooney’s stunt double, the batmobile, and the special effects crew from the film, “Batman & Robin.” It was all part of a weekend TV special to promote the opening of the new movie.
This movie was director Joel Schumacher’s pet project, and I enjoyed working with film producer Peter Macgregor-Scott, albeit just for one weekend. As I toured the top secret set next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, I could see the film’s art direction, with some really imaginative sets, was off the charts. But unfortunately, the script was horrid. Joel Schumacher had made a name for himself in the 80s by bringing the Brat Pack together for St. Elmo’s Fire. Of course, he also had taken on The Lost Boys. It was Schumacher who changed the original Lost Boys script to make the vampires rebellious teens, instead of Peter Pan / ‘Goonies‘-like little lost boys. Unfortunately, Schumacher ran out of magic by the time he met the Caped Crusader. But we’ll always have those “forever young” lost boys of the 80s thanks to him.
My personal journey with The Lost Boys continued in 1998, when another TV project took me to the Bay Area. It was then that I finally got to walk where the boys had flown: Santa Cruz, or Santa Carla (aka Vampire Capital of the World.) Santa Cruz was the primary filming location for The Lost Boys…with the boardwalk, the historical amusement park and even the familiar rail bridge. Yet, I discovered that surfing is the real activity in this seaside town, not vamping. However, some call Santa Cruz the Lesbian capital of the world. The town does have its own Lesbian talk radio station, and I have to confess…when you listen in you’ll get hooked. But I digress…
So, after all that, it’s hard to believe that our cover band was almost called “A Flock of Pelicans.” Yep. Some musician girlfriends always seem to have a bright idea… She didn’t last long, though.
Of course, once bitten I could never turn back. There was only one name that would fit this motley crew- and that one was taken. So we settled on something with some real staying power. Afterall, vampires do live forever…and as long as we’re around, the 80s will never die.
And finally, I had to remember that this band is on a mission. A mission from Dan Aykroyd, that is. Just as he warned us in that classic 80s film. No, not Neighbors. It was Twilight Zone: the Movie. “Want to see something really scary?”
Yeah, that’s right. Come to a Lost Boys performance…and you’ll never be the same again. We promise.
-by Michael Lee
And this Halloween, if you’re in Katy…you can find out for yourself…