Later this year, Joel Schumacher’s landmark horror comedy The Lost Boys celebrates its 30th anniversary, and to celebrate the milestone, author and filmmaker Paul Davis is embarking on his newest project, Lost in the Shadows: The Story of The Lost Boys, which is a book that chronicles every aspect that went into bringing the vampires of Santa Cruz, and those who fought against them, to life.

Over the weekend, Davis (whose recent print retrospective for An American Werewolf in London sold out in record time) hosted a 30th anniversary panel at IMATS (International Make-Up Artist Trade Show) 2017 Los Angeles to celebrate the brilliant special effects of The Lost Boys, and he brought a few friends along with him, including co-stars Alex Winter, Jamison Newlander, and Billy Wirth, as well as legendary makeup artists Ve Neill, Greg Cannom, and Steve LaPorte.

Even though we recently ran our Practical-ly Perfect column for this month, I thought that the fascinating discussions during Davis’ Lost Boys panel warranted a bonus column for January.

Below are just some of the highlights from The Lost Boys panel at IMATS 2017, and after you finish up reading the amazing stuff shared between the guests, you can also check out our video of G Tom Mac performing “Cry Little Sister” as a panel pre-show.

We’ll also definitely keep you up to date on any information regarding Lost in the Shadows once more publication details are available.

Ve Neill on coming aboard The Lost Boys and her approach:

"I had worked with Joel Schumacher on The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and he came to me and said, 'I’m going to do this vampire movie next, and I want you to work on it.' I said, 'Oh, my god—groovy,' and I told him that my friend Greg Cannom has to do the makeup. So I went to Greg and we talked about it. I told him that I wanted these guys to be very sexy, really scary, and I want everyone in the audience—men and women alike—to sleep with these guys. That’s where we started, and Greg just knocked it out of the park."

Greg Cannom on his creative process to finalize the look of the vampires:

"I was brought on well after shooting began, and we did some early test makeups, which I thought were too extreme. They started shooting, so I started designing the contact lenses. Joel Schumacher had seen Vamp, which I had also designed the lenses for, and he told me, 'I want those lenses.' I said that I couldn’t do that because I had just used them, but I assured him that I’d design something better for this. And I think the contacts design for Lost Boys is so beautiful—I still love them—and then I designed the makeup around them. 

A few years before The Lost Boys, I had found this faded newspaper article with this tennis player, and because it was so washed out, it gave him this weird bone structure. I just knew that one day I would use it, and so I did for Lost Boys. Who knew it would become such a classic look?"

Steve LaPorte discusses the makeup tests for The Lost Boys:

"I got into Lost Boys early. Ve called me up and said I had to do this vampire movie with her, and I really liked Greg, too, so I agreed immediately. I remember we had to work rather quickly, too, because we did a test of Brooke [McCarter] at Greg’s house the same day we were first showing them to Joel, and I remember the molds were still warm even. We just pulled the rubber out, and made him up right then and there.

There was another makeup they were waiting on, too, from Steve Johnson on Kiefer [Sutherland], which was very elaborate. It was so cool, but it was very monstrous and not really what Joel was looking for. Lost Boys was a little more sleek and simple."

Greg Cannom on a fun Joel Schumacher Easter egg in The Lost Boys:

"For Ed Herrmann’s makeup, I used Joel as the model and Ve went to dailies one day, and as she and Joel were looking at the footage of Ed, he asks her, 'Am I crazy, or does Ed look like me?' So if you look closely, you can see Joel’s face in that scene."

Alex Winter discusses Marko’s evolution:

"There was a makeup test that we did before we got to the prosthetics stage, and that was crazy. To Ve’s point about the kind of turn that The Lost Boys took, this was a film in the mid-1980s and everything during that time was really overt. Hair was huge, makeup was elaborate, and the first makeup test I did really early, I looked like Nikki Sixx, basically. I had a red triangle across my face, and I’m just a street kid from New York who thought he was going to be in this cool, motorcycle vampire gang movie, so I’m sitting there thinking to myself, 'Holy shit, how am I going to get out of this thing?'"

I don’t remember who did the makeup, but they brought me out to see Joel, and he was just horrified. He was like, 'Take him in the back and get that stuff off of his face.' So I was glad for that.  

And the thing about Greg’s work was that it was obscenely subtle what he did, and it’s almost not there. It’s just a little bit on the eyebrows, a little bit on the cheekbones, and then the teeth and the eyes pulled it all together."

Ve Neill on the glitter blood in Lost Boys:

"I will admit that the glitter in the blood was me. I love glitter. What can I say? I had to get it in there somewhere because I wanted every aspect of them to feel ethereal, so I wanted the blood to look crazy. I wanted it to sparkle."

Jamison Newlander discusses the cave battle scene:

"The cave scene was cool, and I guess they wanted to do it in one take, but then the first take the slime had sat for too long, so it had changed colors and it didn’t look right. So they sent us to Richard Donner’s office to shower, and I thought that was really cool because it was this really sweet apartment. And we ended up having to do it twice."

Ve Neill on how The Lost Boys caused a fly outbreak in Burbank:

"Here’s a fun story about the cave scene, because if you remember, when the kids get there, there’s all this buzzing everywhere, flies are all over. And back then, they didn’t have a lot of CGI stuff, so they actually loaded into those caves thousands of sterile flies. And when we finally finished that scene, they ended up releasing them into Burbank, and Burbank was so pissed off because all of a sudden, there were hundreds of thousands of flies."

Greg Cannom on some of the unused effects of The Lost Boys:

"There’s a scene at the end of the film where Kiefer gets impaled, and so I did a cast of him with his eyes open. We did a very elaborate puppet of David with his eyes open, and him screaming, but then Joel ended up cutting that, so it didn’t make it in. The same for Billy’s “death by stereo” death, where we made this puppet filled with blood and jelly, and it was going to be this oozing body.  

We did several sculpts [of the sheriff’s body that was supposed to fall on the beach at the beginning]. Joel had a few versionsthere was a look-alike version that falls directly in front of the camera, but Joel said it needed to be completely void of all blood. And so we did that, and then he didn’t like that, so I asked him if he just wanted it to be the sheriff’s skin, which I thought sounded ridiculous, but we did that one, too, and it didn’t work. And then it got completely cut out, but what are you going to do? That happened a lot."

Photo via Greg Cannom's Facebook page:

Greg Cannom on creating the melting vampire death:

"For Brooke, where we see his skin get melted away, we did a casting of him with his eyes open, and then we made multiple Styrofoam heads with a skull underneath, and then we’d dip those in acetone. That would make it so the heads would instantly melt because of the acetone. But the night we shot that scene, it was the coldest night of the shoot, and they used safety acetone, too, so it didn’t look nearly as good as it should have."

Billy Wirth reflects on his Lost Boys experiences:

"The Lost Boys was one of my first movies, so of course I was really nervous. I didn’t really know much about Hollywood, and then Brooke had become my buddy right before, so that was cool. But the fact that we got to come into the makeup room, and have Ve and Steve and their loving energy every morning made a big difference. I remember that when we first started, makeup took somewhere around three hours, but by the end, you got it down to a really quick hour. 

Everyone on Lost Boys from the top down was great, thoughJoel and Dick [Richard Donner], who told me that I may not be playing the lead vampire, but the camera would find me. I didn’t care; I was just happy to be there and I am still so grateful for the opportunity. I also loved riding the motorcycle, too; that was a total blast."

Jamison Newlander discusses the collaborative nature of The Lost Boys:

"The one thing that really struck me about this project, especially as we’re sitting here now talking about it, was how collaborative it was. I remember on one of the few times I interacted with Kiefer on set, it was when they were getting ready to shoot the bonfire scene. And Kiefer was actually part of deciding how his character was going to kill the bald guy, and he said to everyone, “I really wanna just bite his head like a melon, and that’s what they ended up doing for the movie. And this team really made it happen, and made it look cool, too."

Alex Winter on his Experiences in makeup for Lost Boys:

"This movie is so much about the makeup, and it has this legacy now, so I would just echo what Billy said, in that we were all pretty young and I hadn’t been on a movie like this before. I think my first day on set was when we did the big beach party sequence, so that was really amazing. The whole makeup experience for us on Lost Boys was our womb, because that was always our refuge.  

I also remember Ve taking me out once while I was still in makeup, and I think we went to Vons in the Valley. And then I remember you were making excuses to the checkout lady to explain to her why I looked the way that I did."

Steve LaPorte reflects on being a part of The Lost Boys:

"I have to echo the sentiments about shooting in Santa Cruz, because it was the beginning of the shoot, so it set a tone. I remember we were shooting all the Surf Nazi stuff, and just getting our feet wet, and I remember Ve and I once were even talking about riding the roller coaster. There was some really great stuff there, and we met all these wonderful people. It was early in my career, so to be a part of a movie like this was a big break for me, but a really fun experience, too. There were so many great things that happened that it’s hard to pinpoint just one thing."


Click here to read Heather's previous entries in her Practical-ly Perfect column.

Next: Practical-ly Perfect: Celebrating Pennywise and the STEPHEN KING’S IT Miniseries
  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.