Looking Back on the Two ‘Lost Boys’ Sequels That Time Forgot

The Lost Boys wasn’t just a massive box office success, it was also a game-changer in vampire media, making the undead hip again and convincing a whole generation that they too could become juvenile vampire hunters (though I know a lot of people who wouldn’t mind joining Kiefer Sutherland’s punk-rock group of dreamy Nosferatu).

And as is often in the case in Hollywood, the film’s near-instant popularity meant that the studio was immediately interested in a follow-up, with director Joel Schumacher even coming up with a pitch titled “The Lost Girls” meant to follow a different tribe of female vampires. Of course, we all know that this project never materialized, and fans were forever left to wonder about what a proper Lost Boys sequel might look like. Or were they?

What a lot of horror fans don’t realize is that we actually did get not just one but two Lost Boys sequels over 20 years after the original – only these flicks would be direct-to-video B-movies that ended up drawing the ire of the handful of critics who dared to review them. However, having revisited these movies back-to-back, I can attest that they’re definitely not the unwatchable trash that their 0% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes would have you believe.

This is precisely why I’d like to take this opportunity to look back on the Lost Boys sequels that time forgot and dive into why I think they deserve a second chance.

There were actually quite a few attempts at reviving The Lost Boys after the studio rejected Schumacher’s gender-flipped sequel pitch. Throughout the ’90s, the director would try and get several different spin-offs off the ground until finally giving up in the 2000s, when he explained that there was no point in doing a direct follow-up since all the main characters are either dead or have moved on.

Not exactly what fans were clamoring for.

Later on, the successful DVD release of the original film also sparked interest in a comeback, with much of the original cast willing to reprise their roles in a new film. This project also wouldn’t get off the ground as Warner Bros was already considering a full-on remake at that point – a film that ultimately wouldn’t be funded due to a perceived lack of interest in vampire media by the younger demographic.

It was only after the mid-2000s Twilight craze that the studio realized there was still money to be made from undead bloodsuckers, so they decided to give the sequel another chance. Having stumbled upon a spec script titled The Tribe – which followed the exploits of a pack of surfing werewolves and was already heavily influenced by The Lost Boys – Warner asked screenwriter Hans Rodionoff to rework his screenplay into an official sequel that turned the surfers into a new group of seductive vampires.

With From Dusk Till Dawn 3 director P. J. Pesce being chosen to helm the picture on a reduced budget, The Lost Boys: The Tribe would be released in 2008 and followed Chris and Emma Emerson (Tad Hilgenbrink and Autumn Reeser) who relocate to Luna Bay, California after the death of their mother. Unfortunately, the grieving siblings soon find themselves being targeted by a local tribe of surfing vampires led by Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland), with only an aging Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman) willing to help them.

While The Tribe is by no means a masterpiece, showcasing TV quality production value and underwritten (not to mention underperformed) characters, it’s not nearly as bad as critics would have you believe. In fact, the flick’s biggest flaw can’t even be blamed on the filmmakers, as the original movie holds up largely because of how it captured the spirit of its then-contemporary late ’80s setting, an advantage that The Tribe can’t really compete with (though I appreciate how the film features a couple of vampires playing Gears of War on an X-Box 360).

That being said, there’s still plenty of fun to be had here if you’re willing to avoid constantly comparing the film to the original. For starters, I actually enjoyed many of the movie’s attempts at humor, with the story featuring some memorable recurring gags like the vampire bros who repeatedly injure themselves on camera for fun, as well as a handful of silly one-liners by Feldman (with “who ordered the stake?” being my personal favorite).

Return of the King!

The Tribe is honestly at its best when Feldman gets to let loose as a slightly more pathetic version of Edgar Frog, complete with his overly-macho voice and an implied tragic backstory concerning Sam Emerson (with Corey Haim actually having a cameo here) and Alan Frog (who only appears in a deleted scene). Plus, we even get a brief appearance of effects legend Tom Savini to establish the new vampires as a legitimate threat.

Despite the surprisingly savage critical reaction, The Tribe thoroughly impressed Warner Bros with its sales numbers, leading the studio to greenlight another sequel immediately. Directed by Dario Piana, the next film would double down on the comedic elements of its predecessor, with screenwriters Rodionoff and Evan Charnov cutting out the middleman and making the most interesting character the protagonist this time around.

While Corey Haim was unable to return due to his struggles with substance abuse (which tragically led to his death by the time the movie came out), Jamison Newlander makes a brief comeback as a vampirized Alan Frog, with the lead characters of the previous film being ditched so that the flick might appeal to folks who didn’t enjoy The Tribe.

In the finished film, titled The Lost Boys: The Thirst, we follow Edgar Frog (Feldman) as he’s recruited by Stephanie Meyer stand-in Gwen Lieber (Tanit Phoenix) to rescue her younger brother from yet another group of party-loving vampires led by a mysterious alpha. Naturally, plenty of bloody mayhem ensues as Edgar and his new crew discover the truth behind these vampiric ravers.

Right off the bat, the threequel improves on its predecessor by refusing to rehash the original and instead focusing on action and humor in a completely new story. It’s still rather janky, with the vampires being even less charismatic than in The Tribe, but I appreciate how the flick leans into its cheesy influences. Hell, the script even pokes fun at the Twilight phenomena which led to the resurgence of the Lost Boys franchise in the first place, with Frog’s criticism of sexy vamps being especially hilarious when you remember that Kiefer Sutherland’s David was the original undead teenage heartthrob.

Kind of looks like a cheap Nine Inch Nails music video.

It’s really this emphasis on humor that makes The Thirst stand out, with the film going so far as to enhance its over-the-top wirework fight scenes with even more absurd one-liners (turning Holy Water into Holy Slaughter!) as well as genuinely charming character moments like Edgar and his friend Zoe meeting for pancakes while still being covered in the blood of a defeated vampire.

Sure, a lot of the dialogue feels awkward and the action could have used a larger effects budget to avoid looking like a CW show, but The Thirst ultimately provides enough charm to make up for these failings. I’m especially surprised at how nuanced they managed to make Feldman’s character here, with his man-child antics contrasting perfectly with the franchise’s recurring themes about youth and the acceptance of death.

Like the previous film, The Thirst ends on a cliffhanger teasing another sequel, but it’s pretty clear at this point that any future Lost Boys project likely won’t acknowledge this pair of wacky movies. Whether or not that’s a good thing I can’t say for sure, but I do think that both these sequels deserved a better reputation.

While neither of the films come close to matching the quality of the original Lost Boys, as far as cheesy vampire flicks go, you could do a lot worse than revisiting The Tribe and The Thirst. That’s why I heartily recommend both of these flicks to fans of schlocky vampire stake ‘em ups.

The post Looking Back on the Two ‘Lost Boys’ Sequels That Time Forgot appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.