by Sean McCourt
"Sleep all day. Party all night. It's fun to be a vampire"...
As many fans of horror films and '80s pop culture know, the preceding slogan was the tagline for "The Lost Boys,"
In conjunction with the Boardwalk's 100th anniversary celebrations, and marking the two decades since the release of the film, a special outdoor screening of "The Lost Boys" will take place on Wednesday, projected on a huge movie screen to be erected on Main Beach. Several actors from the film will be in attendance for the fete, including Brooke McCarter, Billy Wirth, Jamison Newlander and Chance Michael Corbitt, who will meet and talk with fans.
McCarter, who played the teenage vampire Paul, is in awe of the cult status that "The Lost Boys" has achieved over the past 20 years — and of the devotion of fans that he meets.
"I can't believe that there is that much interest, and that much of a following. Some families all come dressed up as the Lost Boys, and are in character, and know every word to the movie, and are just so into it".
Wirth, who portrayed Dwayne, the member of the vampire gang that is memorably dispatched with an arrow and an exploding stereo system, echoes those sentiments.
"This movie has traveled the globe; I still get fan letters from all over the place. I've been to conventions and seen these grown-up kids with images of all of us tattooed on their backs.
"The great thing about this movie is that compared to the horror movies that are out now — which are all much more graphic — it holds up," says Wirth. "It's a horror movie that has a story and isn't just violence and full of completely disturbing images — I mean this was scary at the time, but it was not gratuitous, it was for the story, and there was a lot of humor in there"
McCarter, whose character ultimately meets his demise in a bathtub full of holy water, says that making the movie in Santa Cruz was a blast — the former Holiday Inn on Ocean Street was taken over by the film crews and actors while they were in town, and McCarter fondly remembers the stay — including the fact that "they blacked out our hotel rooms — all the windows were sealed with black velvet" to help them stay in character.
Not that they needed much encouragement — much of the cast and crew lived up to the movie's tagline.
"It was just one huge workfest and partyfest, it was insane, we had so much fun," says McCarter. "We'd work nights, so you'd start at six at night, and go to six in the morning. When you work a 12-hour day, you're not going to go right to bed; you're going to want to unwind, so I'd have like 30 people partying in my hotel room at 7:30 in the morning.
"They didn't want us in the sun at all; they wanted us to have that white vampire look. We were on a nighttime schedule, and they definitely kept us in that nocturnal vampire state of mind — when that sun came up you really didn't want to see it," laughs Wirth.
McCarter, who will be bringing along a film crew to document the event on Wednesday for an upcoming television project he's working on, says that one of his other favorite memories of the filming was getting to ride a motorcycle up and down the beach and the Boardwalk, fitting right in with his character's frame of mind.
"Our job was to be these crazy kids — and we were at the time," McCarter laughs. "So it came pretty naturally"
Wirth, with a good natured chuckle, recalls an incident that he was involved in during some downtime in the shooting schedule — and amusingly it didn't involve riding motorcycles or any other stunts.
"I remember going to the Boardwalk, and going on one of the rides, and I just couldn't stomach it. That was pretty funny, because here I am, supposed to be this tough, bad-ass vampire, and I'm getting sick on one of the rides"
Carl Henn, who is currently the director of maintenance and development at the Boardwalk, was director of facilities development at the time that "The Lost Boys" was being filmed, and acted as the liaison between the amusement park and the film company.
"At the time we kind of figured it would be just a scary, weird, teenage movie, and it really turned into an amazing piece, I thought. I was very much surprised that it's continued on like it has".
Henn worked first-hand with the film crew, overseeing what they did to change things at the Boardwalk, such as building extra sets and re-decorating, and also caught a glimpse into the movie-making process.
"For me, watching what they did, and some of the ways they did their effects, and seeing when it all came together was really fun"
People still ask Henn about what it was like to be around the making of "The Lost Boys," and he enjoys sharing his memories, such as remembering when an ad was run locally looking for extras for the film.
"One of the assistant directors was really happy because when they put out the call, everybody showed up and they really didn't have much of a need for a makeup situation. What showed up was perfect, they were pretty much dressed ready to go," he laughs.
The comics connection
Joe Ferrara, owner of Atlantis, recalls the three weekends that the film crew took over his store — when it was at its original location on lower Pacific Ave., before the 1989 earthquake — and transformed it into a movie set.
"One of the big reasons they really liked the location was its size — the thing you see on camera is the Frog brothers — two or three actors on screen. What you don't see is the 75 other people standing around".
Through the magic of moviemaking and a faux set built in front of Atlantis' doorway, the comic store was made to seem as though it was actually on the Boardwalk, and Ferrara says that people still come to town and try to find his shop on the Boardwalk.
In addition to his business being featured in "The Lost Boys," Ferrara also had a cameo in one scene, where he was supposed to be playing a pinball machine in the background, but the game was turned off so it wouldn't make any noise.
"So I'm standing in the back there, and we're looking at dead machine as if we're playing it, and at one point I just said, 'Aw, did you see that? We got robbed!' --I wasn't supposed to say anything — But I just said it like a natural reaction. If you crank the volume up in that scene, you can hear that line," he laughs.
"At the time, we thought it was kind of cool, but the unbelievable thing is how many times in the last 20 years people have come in and mentioned 'The Lost Boys,'" says Ferrara, who keeps an autographed copy of the prop comic book "Vampires Everywhere!" from "The Lost Boys" in his office.
'The Lost Boys' outdoor screening.