I was a guest on a podcast recently and was asked how I got into horror film. I told the hosts that I didn’t watch horror movies until I started writing horror fiction. I realize that I was wrong.
The first horror “film” I saw was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” MJ is problematic now, but I remember watching the music video on MTV when it first came out and being enthralled, but also being puzzled that it was clearly horror, and yet I wasn’t scared.
The next time I would experience something like that was four or five years later with Joel Schumacher’s The Lost Boys.
My dad was visiting his friend and my sister and I tagged along. My uncle’s son, probably not wanting to have to babysit two little girls, plopped us in front of the Betamax and assured us that even though the film looked scary, that we would like it. I was a scaredy cat, but I liked Corey Feldman, so I gave it a shot. And I’m so glad I did.
It’s about two brothers (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) who move into a small town with their mom (Diane West) to live with their grandfather.
The older one (Patric) falls in love with a woman whose boyfriend is the leader of a biker gang that turn out to be vampires while the younger one befriends two weird brothers (one of them Feldman) who claim to be vampire hunters.
The film’s title is a reference to the Lost Boys from Peter Pan. Like vampires, they never grow up.
Years later, I would realize that Kiefer Sutherland played the lead vampire and Alex Winter played one of his henchmen.
It’s a very 80s story, which I think you got as soon as I mentioned “girlfriend of the leader of a biker gang,” but for a 10-year-old, it was vampires and the mystery solving that was interesting. The romance was ugh. Even then, I was sick of female characters being used as nothing more than plot devices.
That said, The Lost Boys is still one of my favorite horror films. It showed me that horror doesn’t have to be scary. It can be funny and it can be fun. In the end, what makes a good horror film is an engaging story.