Corey Haim’s ‘The Lost Boys’ Was The Original Teen Vampire Flick

Before “Twilight,” before “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” there was “The Lost Boys.”

The seminal 1987 teen vampire flick starred Corey Haim as a confused teenager battling a band of leather-clad alterna-vampires in his new hometown of Santa Carla, California. The role helped establish Haim as a legitimate movie heartthrob in the wake of his first semi-hit, 1986’s weepy “Lucas,” and it kicked off a career-long association and friendship with fellow troubled teen actor and co-star, Corey Feldman.

The 38-year-old Haim, who was found dead of a suspected drug overdose on Wednesday in Los Angeles, played Sam Emerson in the film, a nerdy, excitable teen forced to move to the mysterious coastal California town after his mother’s divorce. Shortly after their arrival, older brother Michael (Jason Patric), falls for the sensuous Star (Jamie Gertz) and is seduced into joining the pre-Hot Topic-looking vamp gang led by David (Kiefer Sutherland), while Haim’s character hooks up with comic book geek Edgar (Feldman), a self-proclaimed vampire hunter.

What followed was an epic battle between the outcast vampire-stalking teenage boys and the sexy teen undead, with Haim torn between helping his brother and following Feldman’s advice to kill him and vamp boss David.

The film, directed by veteran Joel Schumacher (“Batman Forever,” “8MM”), quickly became a cult favorite and a touchstone for a generation of teenage gore fans. It also spawned a sequel, 2008’s “Lost Boys: The Tribe,” which featured Haim and Feldman as well as Sutherland’s half-brother, Angus Sutherland. Haim’s involvement in the sequel was relegated to a cameo and he was not slated to be part of the cast of another in-process sequel, “Lost Boys: The Thirst,” which Feldman is is executive producing and starring in.

None of that takes away from “The Lost Boys,” however. From its dark look and focus on teenage undead to a gothy soundtrack highlighted by the haunting use of Echo & the Bunnymen’s cover of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” and it’s flip, hip tagline, “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire,” the original movie announced itself as a new kind of horror flick aimed directly at savvy teens.

In the years since, in addition to becoming a midnight movie and DVD favorite, “The Lost Boys” has been elevated from a low-budget genre flick to one of the seminal teen horror movies of the modern era, taking its place alongside such classics as the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream,” while undoubtedly helping to inspire such modern spins as the “Twilight” series.