To Hell With Horror Gatekeeping: ‘The Lost Boys’ Reboot Belongs to Queer Kids and Teeny Boppers
Horror bros are going off on The CW’s reboot of The Lost Boys. Because - as we all know - teenage girls & queer kids can’t have horror too, right? We’re calling time on all the outrage.
Let me begin by pointing out the obvious, here: Nobody needed a reboot of Joel Schumacher’s near perfect 1987 horror comedy The Lost Boys. Hollywood’s propensity for rebooting classic properties as a quick and cynical cash-in is tired and uninspiring. But having said that, there’s something undeniably intriguing about the basic pitch for the show which will premiere on The CW and is being executive produced Rob Thomas - the wonderful man behind such beloved shows as Veronica Mars, iZombie, and Party Down. Regardless, the horror community haven’t exactly been enthusiastic in giving the show a chance.
Initially, the main reason for the current uproar against the new The Lost Boys appeared to revolve around the show airing on The godamn CW. Because, like, have you seen the shows on there, bro? It’s full of topless twinks with insane abs and love stories for schoolgirls! They’re making this show for teen girls and queer kids! Sound off the PC culture klaxon, Charlie, because it seems like everyone has stopped making content for heterosexual middle aged white men!!!
Then, of course, fears started to be voiced (loudly) that with the show being developed on a network primarily targetting a young, female, and LGBTQI demographic that The Lost Boys is in danger of becoming Twilight. Not only is The CW apparently defanging a classic, it’s might also be turning the whole damn thing sparkly. SPARKLY!! And then three more announcements were made in quick succession that made me think, Damn, everyone behind this Lot Boys reboot are really trolling these anti-reboot cry babies hard.
First, came the news that The CW’s The Lost Boys TV Series is reportedly gender swapping the much cherished vampire hunting duo The Frog Brothers, played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander in the original movie (and the two further instalments of the franchise that we won’t talk about). Naturally, the response from horror bros was apoplectic with dudes grabbing their dicks while shouting into the internet about how 2019 is the year that “up is down, boys are girls, and vampires sparkle!” and complaining about SJW’s and PC culture ruining childhoods all over the place. You know, the usual shit.
Adding to this volcanic trash fire of toxic dude volatility was the later news that Teen Wolf dreamboat Tyler Posey has joined the cast (probably for all the sexy, shirtless scenes that horror bros are scared of) and that the pilot will be directed by the director of (I’m laughing so hard as I write this) Twilight - Catherine Hardwicke! Cue about a million more comments about “another classic being destroyed!” & “teen bopper bullshit” and yeah, you get the jist.
It’s outrage that we see time and again whenever a reboot is made that doesn’t service the interests of white, straight men - arguably the default demographic targetted by most mainstream media in the past fifty or so years. The backlash for The Lost Boys is depressingly similar to what we saw prior to Paul Feig’s all female Ghostbusters. It’s less about “destroying a classic” - because hey, those original films ain’t going nowhere - and more about a new iteration of the source material not being developed with the original demographic in mind.
What’s interesting about The Lost Boys outrage is that the original movie actually catered fairly well to demographics who aren’t male or hetero. The film is renowned for its covert references to LGBTQI culture (like that dishy topless poster of Rob Lowe hidden on the inside door of Sam’s closet or the well oiled topless saxophonist who holds the young teen’s attention at a show) and features an allegory for exploring one’s queerness that film academics have been talking about for decades. The Lost Boys isn’t just a cult horror, it’s a queer cult horror: It’s camp and sexy, smart and ludicrous, funny and dark.
To my mind, everything that is great and original about the film can be found in The Lost Boy’s contemporary (for the time) reimagining of vampire mythology. One that caters to the tastes of young, queer, and female audiences. Kiefer Sutherland and Jason Patrick are hot as fuck in that film, for christ’s sake! And that wasn’t an accident - that came down to casting and costume decisions that made these two rival vamps extremely appealing to the young men and women in the audience who are sexually attracted to men.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a chance that The CW reboot show will be doing exactly the same for the same type of audience? During a moment in time when queer and female identity is met with such vitriol by people with terrifying amounts of power, the new iteration of the story further sounds like it could provide a contemporary allegory for survival that such audiences need to be reminded of.
Speaking to Collider about the show back in 2017, Thomas discussed the idea of bringing the story to modern-day America and adapting it in such a way that he could bring back some of “the original writer’s intentions” to the story that were cut from the final film. “The story that I’m trying to tell in Season 1 of The Lost Boys is a story about two brothers and how tempted they are to fall in with these vampires and how tempted they are to want to be 22 forever. I am leaning into the Peter Pan notion of, if you join these vampires, you never have to grow up. Your life can be fun and you can attack life each day you’re immortal, and how appealing is that? I read a bit about what the original writer’s intentions were, and how a lot of that Peter Pan imagery got pulled away from what they ended up doing. I’m pushing it back in there. “
So yes, we’re all tired of reboots. We all wish there was more original content being developed and less classic material being rehashed. But the gatekeepers who keep harping on about how horror can’t be feminine, camp, youthful, or queer in order to be great have clearly missed the point of the original movie that they claim to love so much. The truth is, their efforts to maintain a certain idea of horror is as outdated and tired as one of Max’s (Edward Herrmann) archaic, twee suits in the film. Arguably, The Lost Boys was never their gate to keep in the first place.