The movie responsible for making vampires sexy again—and likely inspiring countless gay awakenings for Gen X—The Lost Boys celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, looking as good as ever. (Obviously, because vampires don’t age!)
The spooky 1987 classic has long been heralded as a queer favorite. As the AIDs epidemic raged on and Ronald Reagan’s conservative moralism further ostracized the “other,” it wasn’t a stretch to read the film’s undead bad boys—with their leather get-ups and embrace of a chosen family—as stand-ins for the gay community in the late ’80s.
The metaphor becomes even clearer in retrospect, especially when you consider The Lost Boys‘ director was the late Joel Schumacher, a.k.a. the gay filmmaker who gave Batman’s suit nipples and somehow made The Phantom Of The Opera even campier.
Sure, we gays have trained ourselves to read between the lines over the years, to find ourselves in stories that weren’t explicitly about us. But Schumacher himself even acknowledged it, clarifying a few years back that his film was “about the fear we have of the other—those who live outside of the mainstream.”
And now, even the film’s cast is acknowledging there was something queer going on beneath the surface of the The Lost Boys, with one star admitting they knew it was gay from the jump.
In a new retrospective interview with Entertainment Weekly, stars Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog), Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog) and Alex Winter (Marko) reflect on the film’s immortal appeal and even address its rather blatant homoeroticism.
“I think it’s the most successful interpretation of all the things [director Joel Schumacher] did well,” says Winter, “which was fashion and music and understanding actors and story and style and—I’m just gonna call a spade a spade—homoeroticism and sexual ambiguity and sexual adventurousness.”
Amen! Just look at the way the sweaty, shirtless saxophone player shakes his groove thing in this scene. Schumacher knew exactly what he was doing.
There’s also the fact that, in one notable moment, you can catch a glimpse of an ab-baring Rob Lowe poster hanging in the room of young protagonist, Sam Emerson (Corey Haim).
Newlander admits he never really thought about the movie’s gay appeal until a fan brought it up at a convention a few year back, at which point he remembered said poster, conceding that it was definitely “signaling LGBT.”
But, again, it’s Winter who seemed to have been most keyed into what Schumacher was really going for. “I do think that, for sure, our characters had that kind of undercurrent,” he says when discussing The Lost Boys‘ homoeroticism. “I don’t think it required, you know, sitting around a table read discussing it,” but he recognized the world these vampires were meant to nod to.
“I had spent my previous five years doing two long-running Broadway shows back to back—during the beginning of the AIDS crisis and at the height of the disco era.,” Winter recalls. “I started going to discos at, like, 13, 14, years old. I’ve been around the nightlife in New York a really long time. I came from a family of modern dancers, so I’ve been around trans and gender-fluid and gay people my whole life and it was really freaking obvious what he was up to and, and I thought it was great.”
Winter even says his performance as Marko—one of the vampire gang’s fearsome members—was inspired by the queer people he grew up around, pulling from the styles and sensibilities of the genderfluid kids he knew from Times Square: “It wasn’t exactly rocket science, but it didn’t require being overt. Everybody dressed like that. Everyone wore balloon pants and had highlights.”
Overt or not, it’s pretty undeniable what The Lost Boys has meant for gay audiences, both for those who saw it when it first hit theaters and younger audiences who experienced it years later. Just take a quick look at Twitter and you’ll still see plenty of queers
bloodthirsty for this sexy, seductive, and seminal vampire flick:
the lost boys, a story about a gang of gay vampires and their female best friend and wingwoman, is streaming on netflix pic.twitter.com/ydFRB1CICl
— alex (@alex_abads) February 7, 2022
i dont think the lost boys were lost i think they were all just gay
— allie ? (@thholyghost) June 23, 2022
I love to talk about how gay Lost Boys was because straight people inevitably argue that all the characters are straight and then I just reply with this picture and I know if they ever decide to watch it again they won’t be able to unsee the faggotry and they’ll be so pissed. pic.twitter.com/MY1moJH2Py
— Mia Moore (@StopTweetingMia) September 17, 2021
everyone in the lost boys is trans and gay. I think the evidence speaks for itself. no further questions at this time pic.twitter.com/1z3G99yTqR
— Gus ? (@macmonky) December 17, 2020
One of my favourite movies of all time, The Lost Boys, is one of the most astonishingly gay things ever set to film, and directed by prolific gay filmmaker Joel Schumacher. That is a horny god damn movie, and it rules. https://t.co/p8hogpQJCU pic.twitter.com/tmSo3vYUKM
— Countess Explosion (@CaseyExplosion) October 11, 2022
The Lost Boys is currently streaming on The Roku Channel and Paramount+ for those with a Showtime subscription. It’s also available for digital rental or purchase on AppleTV, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, GooglePlay, Vudu, and DirecTV.