"People Are Strange...": Introducing a Teen to the Teen Canon of the 1980s

Part 8: Lost Boys

Movies Features Lost Boys
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"People Are Strange...": Introducing a Teen to the Teen Canon of the 1980s

Corey Feldman’s back in the news. This time it’s for a Mary Jane-related run in with the coppers in Louisiana, but he’s also resurfaced in the wake of the Shocking Revelations about Harvey Weinstein, after having been famously shut down by Barbara Walters a couple of years ago when he tried to address rampant child sexual abuse in Hollywood.

I used to live in downtown Santa Cruz. A lot of people couldn’t understand why I hated that place, but I did. My charming, adorable apartment in an old Victorian on a sycamore-lined avenue was walking distance to the major downtown arteries, all the shopping and restaurants, the Wharf and the lighthouse. It was also haunted. No, not figuratively—there were poltergeisty doings at most of the homes on my block; we all talked about it openly and no one even bothered calling anyone a crackpot because we all knew. Santa Cruz was the setting and the model for the barely fictional town of Santa Carla in Joel Shumacher’s The Lost Boys because the place might have had a reputation for majestic redwood groves and gentle hippies, but if you lived there you knew it was brim-fucking-full of the undead.

Grace had proven herself able to stare down a White Walker. Surely she could handle Kiefer Sutherland and The Coreys? Had The Lost Boys even been scary in 1987? I couldn’t even remember, but I can tell you it was never scarier than actually living in Santa Cruz. Maybe to Grace it’d be a horror-comedy, or a thriller … maybe just funny?

Grace was flat-out beside-herself terrified.

Of the costume designer.

I believe it was the first time I’d ever heard her shriek “Wooot the foook?” I was like, “Dude, are you speaking Dutch?” And she was all glassy-eyed and panting and pointing a shaky digit at the screen, incoherently babbling “but… but… I… but… that’s…”

“Grace. Is this scaring you?”

“That kid’s shirt is scaring the cra-zap out of me! Why? Why?”

“Why which part?”

“Why the pastels? Why the patterns? Why does everyone look like Jackson Pollack threw up on them?”

Corey Haim came downstairs looking like he borrowed his outfit from MC Hammer’s mom. “Um, not everyone. Look, that kid obviously got barfed on by Piet Mondrian.”

“This is horrifying,” she said huffily.

“I warned you about ’80s fashion.”

“Whoa!” Vampire, or half-vampire, blood had just squirted elaborately all over … something. “Is that where the Twilight people got the idea?”

“The idea for stupid vampires?”

“Naw, the glitter. They frickin’ bleed glitter, are you glitter-blind?”

“Might be post-traumatic. I had to deal with this movie in real time.”

“I’ll tell you what’s scary as hell,” Grace said.

“The zeitgeisty ubiquity of virile tenor saxophonists?”

“The hair.”

“Oh. Yeah. To be fair, we all thought ’70s hair was creepers at the time.”

“Did they not have mirrors in the ’80s?”

“Of course we did, Grace, but half of us had no depth perception because we had bilateral bobs that totally covered one eye. Some of us had sustained ocular damage from napalming our retinas with hairspray while trying to achieve maximum high-loft bangs. Some of us were brain damaged by perm chemicals. It was a difficult time. Not to mention…”

“Yes, yes,” she snapped. “Vampires have no foooooking reflection. Don’t even.”

“Stop swearing in Dutch. Anyway. It was really like that. Santa Cruz.”

“Oh, I totally believe you. This is why I never want to go to that amusement park.”

Time to get her back on track. “Okay, so the … um, style elements offend your sensibilities. Any comments on the story?”

“Yeah, one. Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why? That’s my comment. Oh, and how long did it take those two kids to become drug addicts?”

“Um, the Coreys?”

“Yup.”

I sighed. “Not very. The blond one died in his 30s. The other one has … um, a band. And stuff.” I didn’t want to get into it about the pedophilia stuff. “It’s a hard place to be as a kid—Hollywood, not Santa Cruz.”

“That would seem like one for the Duh Column,” Grace said. She’d been pretty worked up ever since the intrepid teens had failed to figure out who the Head Vampire was when it was undead-obvious. “I mean … it’s like… what’s the word?”

“Fook?”

“No, when a story is like a big symbolic other story.”

“Oh! An allegory?”

“That’s the one. This is that.”

“An allegory about Hollywood?”

She shrugged. “Maybe not actually. Maybe it’s just like a cautionary tale about what happens when you do that to your hair. I just … wow.”

“Maybe I should get an ironic retro mullet.”

“Maybe I should get a social worker.”

“Maybe I should get a place in Santa Cruz and an unnerving boyfriend. I grew up in the Cold War—don’t pull that arms race shit with me.”

“You started it.”

“It was a joke, Grace.”

She vaulted off the couch. “There is nothing funny about mullets.”

There really isn’t.


Amy Glynn survived the ’80s.

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