Disclaimer: I love both of these amazing vampire franchises. And vampires in general. There’s something about a supernatural being that is both terrifying and magnetic, and no creature better embodies this duality than the vampire.
Welcome to another edition of #melaniethoughts. Today we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of some truly great vampire movies.
I was watching the 1987 classic vampire film The Lost Boys the other night. I have seen this movie so many times that I can identify it from its first shot and the very first beat of opening music (the Gerard McMahon anthem that has spawned numerous covers and never fails to transplant me to an 80s Santa Cruz (the filming location for the fictional Santa Carla)). While watching this film, I was struck by how similar it is to another of my favorite vampire franchises – Twilight. So you might be reading this and thinking, Yeah, that’s a bit of a stretch. And I’m not disagreeing with you. But indulge me for a bit of fun analysis.
The Lost Boys is a coming of age tale about two brothers who move to Santa Carla. Older brother Michael immediately falls in love at first sight with a woman (Star) who turns out to be a half vampire. She’s reluctantly part of a vampire coven led by full-blooded vamp David. David turns Michael into a fledgling vamp and younger brother Sam teams up with his weird friends the Frog Brothers, two amateur vampire hunters. They must kill the head vampire to save Michael and Star. During this, their mother Lucy abandons full-time parenting to get a job at a video store (RIP) and go on dates with her boss, Max. The weird vampire hunter Scooby gang kills David and discovers that the true head vampire was none other than Max all along. He had David turn Michael in an elaborate plot to make Lucy his wife/den mother.
Twilight is a very melodramatic saga about teens doing all the things – falling in love, stalking, failing Biology, you name it. Bella is a transplant to the small town of Forks which happens to host both werewolves and vampires. Edward is a vegetarian vampire who can’t resist the smell of Bella’s blood (ew) and resolves to either kill her or marry her, I guess? The logic gets kind of weird, but you get it. A bad vampire tries to kill Bella and fighting ensues. The series continues with another four sequels where you meet the vampire government of the
Illuminati Volturi and its enigmatic leader, Aro.
So how are they similar movies? They sound very different and are certainly different in tone. Anyone who’s seen both will tell you that. But here’s the thing. At their heart, both movies are love stories – detailing the romance of Bella and Edward on the one hand and Michael and Star (or alternatively Lucy and Max if that short-lived romance counts) on the other. They feature sparkly vampires – the infamous Cullens who dazzle in the sun and the truly amazing death of Bill and Ted’s Alex Winter as he implodes/explodes in visceral body fluids and copious amounts of glitter. They feature blonde antagonists – in the form of James in the first movie and David in the second (played by a young Kiefer Sutherland with his 80s platinum hair which I’m pretty sure is the start of my obsession with platinum blondes and one of the main reasons I prefer the Malfoys to pretty much anyone in the HP series). They also feature a secondary villain who is an older male vampire, trying to create his perfect family. In this respect Max and Aro are quite similar and they also both have hilarious laughs. There are also dogs in both films who serve as protectors of vampires – werewolves in Twilight and the hellhound in Lost Boys. We also see the impact of a vampire life on humans – through Charlie and Bella’s relationship and also through the characters of Sam and Lucy.
While I’m not saying any of these connections are intentional, or that this even matters other than as an interesting side note if you’re a big Lost Boys fan, it is interesting that these two iconic movies both hit some similar points. Looking at other vampire films, I can’t really say that these are tropes in the genre, though a case could be made that all vampire movies are at their heart love stories. I’m currently re-watching the sequels to The Lost Boys, which were sadly not as prolific as Twilight’s. I’ll let you know if these parallels hold up in the continued franchise.