The Lost Boys | 1987
OK, I was a bit sniffy about this film in my book, The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, but I have to admit it stood the test of time as a terrific bit of Eighties fun.
Well, the town seems to have more than its share of crazy kids and "missing posters", while the Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) owners of the local comic store, are ominously pushing titles like Vampires Everywhere.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach Street, is California's only surviving traditional seafront funfair, with that wonderful 1911 Carousel from which the Gothy gang is barred at the opening of the film.
Not a great deal seems to have changed since I visited, back in 1998. I was on a tight schedule and the long queue meant I didn't get to try the Giant Dipper rollercoaster seen in the swooping aerial shots of the Boardwalk. Next time, maybe.
Built in 1914, the Wharf stands near the intersection of Beach Street and Front Street, west of town.
More correctly, it’s a pier rather than a wharf, and the longest pier on the West Coast to boot.
On the pier, you’ll find what was the video store (ask your parents if you don’t know what that was) run by Max (Edward Herrmann), where Lucy asks for a job. It’s gift store the Santa Cruz Bay Company, 17D Municipal Wharf.
Further along the pier is the restaurant where Max and Lucy’s dinner is interrupted by a phone call from Sam, which is now Mexican restaurant Olitas Cantina & Grille, 49B Municipal Wharf.
The Frog bros’ comic store is supposed to be on the Boardwalk but that’s a bit of a cheat. It was a real comic book shop, Atlantis Fantasy World, which stood at 707 Pacific Avenue, quite a few blocks inland, until it was seriously damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and demolished. It remains an empty lot.
Don’t worry. Atlantis Fantasy World has relocated to new premises even further north, 1020 Cedar Street at Union Street.
The large rustic house of Grandpa (Barnard Hughes), where Lucy and the kids stay, is Pogonip Clubhouse, Brayshaw Trail on Lower Meadow Trail, a couple of miles north of the Santa Cruz seafront. Currently it seems to be unused and deserted.
Michael is tempted by Star (Jamie Gertz) to hang with the badboy biker gang, who begin to initiate him into their club. This seems to have sinister consequences.
The railroad trestle bridge to which they take Michael to explore his new powers is the Iron Horse Trailhead, at Exit 170 of I-5 in Valencia, just north of Santa Clarita, itself north of LA.
There’s a parking lot at 25311 Magic Mountain Parkway, close to the bridge, which is now part of a park / biking trail where it crosses the Santa Clara River.
Part of the bridge was recreated in the studio for the scene where members of the gang dangle beneath it.
You won’t be surprised to learn that the vampires' subterranean lair, the crumbling lobby of a grand Victorian hotel swallowed up in the 1906 earthquake, is also an extravagant studio set, built at the Warner Bros studio in Burbank.
The entrance, though, is Hudson’s Bluff Sea Cave at Rancho Palos Verdes, southern LA, west of Long Beach. It’s at the foot of a rock ‘spur’ jutting into the sea by Terranea Beach.
You’ll find this on the east of the headland which used to be the old Marineland of the Pacific, a seaside animal theme park which closed in 1987, now replaced by upmarket resort Terranea Resort.
There’s a public pathway – Terranea Trail and then Beach Trail, leading to the beach, from Terranea Way which runs south from Palos Verdes Drive.
And remember that this is a sea cave and be aware of the tides. There’s no longer a wooden staircase up the cliff.