Welcome to Script to Pieces! This is a feature here at Wicked Horror where we will be looking at the best, most interesting and at times most unbelievable horror movies that never happened. Sometimes these will be productions that never came together at all, sometimes they will original incarnations that were completely different from what we wound up with. Each should be fascinating in its own way, because the stories of movies that never see the light of day can sometimes be even more interesting than the stories of those that do. In this installment, we’ll be taking a look at Lost Boys: The Beginning.
I’ve talked this week about the directions that were at one point considered for the Lost Boys franchise to take. But while the idea of Lost Girls was something that had been tossed around and suggested by original director Joel Schumacher, it wasn’t the movie that he actually tried to make.
No, for the longest time, Schumacher had planned to make a prequel about how David and the lost boys came to be vampires, set against the backdrop of the San Francisco earthquake. When Lost Boys proved to be a success at the box office, this was the movie they believed was the next step for the franchise. Warner Bros. liked Schumacher’s idea, so they commissioned a script.
In an ironic twist, given that 1987 gave us two of the most seminal vampire films in Lost Boys and Near Dark, the script for Lost Boys: The Beginning was penned by Near Dark scribe Eric Red. The writer had also written The Hitcher and would go on to direct Body Parts and Bad Moon. With a truly gifted writer attached, all the pieces were in play to craft a prequel that would serve as a good companion piece to the original, but also tell its own original story and stand on its own as an individual film.
Set in 1906, Lost Boys: The Beginning starts off feeling like something of a Western. For Lost Boys fans, the script is especially interesting because the quartet of main characters get much more to do than they were given in the original film. While David, of course, is still the lead character, Marko, Paul and Dwayne are all central characters with their own distinct personalities.
The script for Lost Boys: The Beginning introduces them before they become vampires, but they already know each other. That’s interesting to think about, that the bond between the four boys predates their vampirism. The story opens up on the San Francisco docks where we meet David and the boys as a gang of thieves. They’re not great at it, either, as the guy they decide to shoot and rob turns out to be a vampire.
It’s a strange direction to take and Vlad takes plenty of screen time for himself, becoming the major antagonist and someone that David and the others have to turn against by the end because they believe that killing Vlad will lift their vampire curse. That’s another really interesting idea that contextualizes the original, this notion that maybe the lost boys fought against what was happening to them, initially.
There are some supremely campy elements of the script as well, but those are sort of necessary for making this a true Lost Boys movie. For one thing, when the lost boys head to Santa Carla and stay at the resort that will eventually become their sunken, caved-in home, they meet a pair of young brothers who are experts on the supernatural. Instead of comic experts, these boys are Romanian and know about vampires due to their own cultural beliefs and upbringings. They’re called the Frogerie Brothers.
While there are some elements in Lost Boys: The Beginning that may not have played perfectly on screen, I’m actually a little surprised it didn’t happen. Kiefer Sutherland was also game to do it and was still talking about the project as recently as 2008. In an interview with Ryan Turek at Shock Till You Drop to promote Mirrors, Sutherland explains “There were a lot of great follow-up ideas… Joel had one that was a prequel dating all the way back to the earthquake in San Francisco. The one we talk about in the original.”
Sutherland went on to say that “the prequel was always going to follow David when he was a mortal before he got sucked into the earthquake and got turned. That was Joel’s idea and I thought that was really cool. But apparently Joel was really busy, Warner Bros. was really busy, and it didn’t happen.”
When the prequel idea faded away—perhaps because the stars were getting too old—writer Robert Angelo Masciantonio met with WB and Schumacher in 1998 and turned in two drafts of a sequel script, completely different from the suggested prequel and completely different from The Lost Girls. His version of the script saw the return of Sam Emerson and the Frog Brothers, as well as Grandpa, and the return of David as the master vampire. This certainly would have been a much more expected, standard sequel.
It was around 2000/2001 that Schumacher began seriously considering the idea of The Lost Girls instead of the prequel he had previously championed. It was initially planned to head into production in 2002 and at that time Rachel Leigh Cook and Tara Reid were rumored to star.
Sadly, none of these sequels ever materialized, so we were treated to Lost Boys: The Tribe and Lost Boys: The Thirst instead.