CATEGORIES On the Scene
Teenage vampires are commonplace today but 20 years ago they were a new phenomenon. In the 1980s we had such films as 'Fright Night,' 'Once Bitten,' 'My Best Friend Is a Vampire' and the most famous teen vampire film of all, 'The Lost Boys' (1987).
The idea for the film came from 'Peter Pan.' The screenwriters apparently noticed that Peter flies, never ages and only visits Wendy at night. Maybe J.M. Barrie was writing a vampire story and didn't know it.
The original screenplay for 'The Lost Boys' called for "a bunch of 'Goonies'-type 5th-6th grade kid vampires." The David character (Kiefer Sutherland) was originally named Peter and the other vampires were named after the Lost Boys in 'Peter Pan.' However, when unknown Joel Schumacher was tapped to direct, he hated the kid angle and decided to sex things up by turning the characters into teenagers, with the film's locale set in its own dark Neverland. The Lost Boys reside in Santa Carla, a fictional California beach town with a boardwalk as its social center and unexplained disappearances as its main problem.
Location as Character: Santa Carla is a thinly veiled Santa Cruz, Calif. Most of the filming was done in and around this Northern California coastal town. The classic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, one of the last of its kind on the West Coast, provided a great central location that inspired fun and fear in the film's plot.
Founded in 1907, the oceanfront playground was built during the Golden Age of amusement parks. Old-fashioned carnival games and snack booths are still used throughout the 24-acre location. Its early 20th Century appeal only adds to the creepiness when vampires fly above it.
Historical Significance: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is one of the few West Coast parks that didn't go out of business because of the Great Depression. The Looff Carousal used in the movie opened in 1911 and still has its original 342-pipe organ, which was built in 1894. It includes a dispenser for brass rings, which riders try to collect during each pass and then toss at a target for prizes. This is one of four carousals left that offers that feature and its one of five Looff Carousals operating in America.
The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster also seen in the movie opened in 1924, making it one of the oldest wooden coasters running in the States. The carousel and roller coaster together were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
The city of Santa Cruz still has a fondness for the 'The Lost Boys,' and promotes semi-annual outdoor screenings of the film on the boardwalk. Viewers cheer every time the park comes on screen.
Fun Fact: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk also appears in the 'Dirty Harry' sequel 'Sudden Impact' and the cult comedy 'Harold and Maude.' The park and Kiefer Sutherland also appear in the mostly-forgotten 'The Brotherhood of Justice.'
Directions: The boardwalk is located at 400 Beach Street in Santa Cruz. It's just south of the Ocean Street exit on historic California State Route 1.
Visitor Information: The park is open all year with limited operation between September and March. There are 35 rides now. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has managed to stay inf business because they continue to update their attractions. Don't be surprised to see modern rides mixed in with the classics. Check out BeachBoardwalk.com for more info and possible film screenings.
Related: More 'Lost Boys' Sequels on the Way?