The Lost Boys Movie Poster Image

The Lost Boys



Scary '80s vampire film mixes gore with campy humor.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 97 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No real positive messages. 

Positive role models

Characters are too cartoonish, one-dimensional, and often stereotypical to be seen as positive role models. 


Gory vampire deaths -- stakes through hearts, electrocution, melting skin from holy water and garlic, blood, and some gore. Blood shoots out of faucets, spraying all over a house. A fight breaks out on a merry-go-round. The California beach community where the movie is set is described by locals as "the murder capital of the world." There are frequent disappearances -- bills for missing children and adults  are frequently shown on phone poles, bulletin boards, and milk cartons. Peril -- a teen boy gives in to peer pressure and hangs from an iron rod below a bridge on a foggy night and loses his grip as a train goes by. There are also two dog attacks, one in which a woman narrowly avoids getting bitten, and a teen sustains injuries to his hand. There's one gross-out scene in which a character about to eat Chinese food hallucinates maggots instead of fried rice and worms instead of noodles.


Implied sex. Talk of how one of the characters "got lucky" last night. 


Infrequent use of the word "s--t." "A--hole," "piss off," "goddamn," "damn." The grandfather, upon seeing one of his disheveled grandsons, makes a joke about how "we both got lucky last night." 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens drink beer at nighttime beach parties, act drunk, smoke cigarettes. Two teens who have just moved into their grandfather's house note the marijuana plants growing in the windowsill. Adults drink wine at dinner. A teen boy asks his brother, "Are you freebasing?" 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Lost Boys is a 1987 horror movie mixed with some campy comedy about vampires wreaking havoc on a California beach town. There are some gory and bloody deaths, with stakes through hearts, electrocutions, and skin melting from holy water and garlic, with blood spraying, spurting, and even gushing through the plumbing. There are also two dog attacks, one in which a woman narrowly avoids getting bitten, and a teen sustains injuries to his hand. There are moments of peril, including one in which a teen succumbs to peer pressure and hangs from a rod underneath a bridge as a train rolls overhead, causing him to lose his grip and fall into the foggy unknown. There's one gross-out scene in which a character about to eat Chinese food hallucinates maggots instead of fried rice and worms instead of noodles. Teens smoke cigarettes and drink beer. Profanity includes "s--t" and "a--hole." Essentially, this is a very 1980s take on vampires, with lots of punky haircuts, goth music, and "the Coreys" (Corey Haim and Corey Feldman) providing most of the comic relief through absurd dialogue at just the right moments to temper the horror. 

What's the story?

In THE LOST BOYS, the Emerson family has just moved to Santa Carla, self-titled murder capital of the world, and already oldest son Michael (Jason Patric) has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Out one night, he meets Star (Jami Gertz), whom he follows and who introduces him to David (Kiefer Sutherland). David is the leader of a gang of vampires, and, after hanging out, Michael unwittingly joins their clan. Meanwhile, David's brother, Sam (Corey Haim), befriends the Frog brothers (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander), a pair of young vampire hunters. When David finds out what's going on, he and the young kids embark on a mission to destroy the head vampire and return their lives to normal. Dianne Wiest also stars as Michael and Sam's mother.

Is it any good?


The Lost Boys is a fun film to watch and is certainly one of the better vampire films to come out in the 1980s. Although he might not have been trying to, Kiefer vamps it up well and is enjoyable to watch. The film works a lot better as camp than as a serious vampire film; however, parents should be warned that there are some scary moments, and younger or more sensitive kids may be frightened.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure. Why did Michael go along with the pack? Even though he later regrets it, what could he have done (if anything) to keep himself from falling into their trap?

  • How can you tell this movie is a product of the '80s? How would the movie be different had it been set in the 1950s or the 2010s? 

  • How is violence and peril conveyed in The Lost Boys? Did it seem necessary for the story, or did it seem gratuitous? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 31, 1987
DVD/Streaming release date:January 27, 1998
Cast:Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Jason Patric
Director:Joel Schumacher
Studio:Warner Bros.
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:97 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and violence

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4, 6, and 15 year old Written byslt208 November 3, 2010

Obvious Negatives, Hidden Positives

If you (or your teenage daughter!) are looking for a vampire movie, I think this is a better choice than the less violent but more insidious Twilight series movies, especially for girls. While Lost Boys includes strong graphic violence and implied sex, it disguises positive messages under the disreputable surface; whereas, the Twilight series movies seem benign on the surface but glorify melodrama, suicide, and self-ostracism. Some of the positive themes that can be teased out of the Lost Boys subtext involve the importance of family loyalty, the need to adapt to new circumstances (younger brother who successfully adapts is the hero who saves older brother that gets in trouble trying to fit in with dangerous crowd), and the idea that it's never too late to turn your back on a wrong path or group. After watching this movie with my 15-year-old daughter, we talked about real-life examples of peer pressure and how hard it is to stop participating in something that is wrong once you get started.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Adult Written byuslesrcool47 April 9, 2008

should not be "R"

I am 13 years old and had a very hard time convincing my parents to let me see this moveie because of it's "R" rating. After seeing this film I was unsure of why it was rated R. There was some language, but nothing worse than the "S" word, which is used in PG-13 movies all the time. There was brief sexual content, involving two characters making out on a bed, the girl didnt have a shirt on, but you could only see her back. This film is quite gory with teenagers violently killing vampires, but with all the gory video games today, this should not be an issue for most kids. I would say this is a great movie that everybody should see, but i might caution children under 12 who want to see this.
Adult Written bywonder dove December 27, 2012

Favorite vamp movie!

Amazing film! I'm not one for vampire movies, but I finally gave this a shot a year ago and bought it on a whim because the reviews were so great - I ended up absolutely loving it!! It's so much fun to watch anytime of the year. I love the cast, music, storyline and the humor balances out the story. It does not feel like an '80's movie to me for some reason, it has just as good special effects as our modern horror movies today. It's basically about a guy who starts turning into a vampire while hanging out with the wrong crowd after moving to Santa Carla. When his younger brother finds out, he discovers two comic "vampire hunters" who help to kill the head vampire before they take over his family! Lots of violence and gore like bitings, a vicious dog attacks a woman, chasings, vampires go nuts and kill people, a family dog bites a family member...etc. Sexual content is pretty mild which includes some flirting, one off-screen sex scene with some kissing, innocent kisses by adults. The film has lots of teen peer pressure throughout. Language isn't too bad, a few sh*ts. It would be ideal for 15 years and up, too violent for younger kids!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing