By Jay Hunter – ‘Sleep all day, party all night, it’s fun to be a vampire‘. So goes the strap line for one of the most beloved films of the 1980s, The Lost Boys. For most, that bloodsucking adage would be a goal. Conjuring up images of beach parties and Jim Morrison murals, but George Jaeger-Wright isn’t most and he certainly doesn’t have time to sleep all day. Age 33, George is an avid fan of classic movies, music and retro gaming, working full-time at the lionised University of Liverpool.
But by night, the self professed “kid at heart” has started to experience a different kind of success. Leading up to the 30th anniversary of Joel Schumacher’s Lost Boys – a film that follows the story of teenage brothers Michael and Sam who move to Santa Carla, only to discover it’s invested by vampires – George decided to celebrate the milestone differently than most.
Using the power of OurScreen – a tool also used to promote new cosmic horror The Void – George decided to campaign for a small showing at FACT cinema, an independent arthouse in the heart of Liverpool. Almost overnight, George found the demand for tickets to be so insatiable that the cinema had to bunk him up to a larger auditorium and add an additional showing, which followed suit, selling out in the blink of an eye. We sat down with George to gain his insight into the whirlwind event.
JUMP SCARE: So, naturally the first question is why did you pick Lost Boys?
GEORGE: I have three main movies I grew up with watching religiously. The Goonies, the Warriors and The Lost Boys. As it’s the 30th Anniversary this year of the latter being released I was looking for somewhere showing the film. When I saw that nearest showing was Birmingham I went straight to OurScreen as I knew what they could provide. I had to request that the movie be added to their library as well! I was shocked. I didn’t think I would get the 27 tickets to allow the screening to go ahead, but I did, and then some!
JUMP SCARE: Much has been made about the waining popularity of cinema with the rise of on demand programming such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Where do you think Our Screen fits in?
GEORGE: For me there is absolutely no substitute for going the cinema to see a movie that you’ve been eagerly awaiting.
As technology gets better for watching movies, and streaming becomes more common (especially illegal streaming) then of course cinema ticket purchases will fall. People tend not to take gambles anymore on going to see something they’re unsure about (similar to the fall in music purchases, and the rise of Spotify etc.). Why pay £13 to see a movie you may not like when you can either wait for it to be released on Netflix or NowTV? In some ways it’s good, but if a movie is coming out which you’ve been looking forward or you think is a must see on the big screen (something like The Dark Tower, or Rogue One), then no matter how big and high end your TV and Blu-Ray player are, there is no substitute.
Much like the recent rise in Vinyl sales for music, consumers are either going back to their childhood/teenage years with movies and TV, or going to a time they never experienced and want too because they’ve been told how good it was back then. Retro is very much the buzz word at the moment and has been for a while.
A company like OurScreen is fantastic. It gives fans of older movies the chance to either relive going to see their favourites on the big screen or, like myself, the chance to see something for the first time on the big which they love.
JUMP SCARE: The Lost Boys has an incredible cult following, but is often overlooked in ‘best of’ lists. Where do you rank it in terms of vampire movies or horror in general?
GEORGE: In terms of Vampire movies for me it’s got to be near the top if not number one. Fright Night (1985) is another 80’s one which is never on any ‘best of’ lists but is a definite cult classic. You have classic vampire movies from Hammer which are looked at in a more favourable light (then the 80’s additions) possibly because of the quality of established actors playing the key roles. The fact that they look like ‘traditional Vampires’ is a big thing as well. Then you have modern vampire movies like Let the Right One In (another film I also adore), which is a much darker and bleaker version of the Vampire story.
The Hammer movies are not to everyone’s taste as are the darker vampire stories. Lost Boys is a much more accessible take on the Vampire myth. I have introduced younger family members to it who weren’t even born in the 80’s and they have loved it (one has even got a tattoo to show his love for it).
The popularity of the Lost Boys with young audiences over the last 30 years is similar to the popularity of characters like Spike from Buffy (the Vampire Slayer), or Eric from True Blood. The thing they have in common is that they’re all young (looking), with their cool clothes and cool music. They are cool, and more relatable then (the amazing) Christopher Lee who might look a bit like they’re Grandad. I don’t think a lot of teenagers nowadays watching Dracula (1958) would want to be him, but might watch David and the lad’s bike around the beach, causing havoc on the boardwalk and want to be them!
JUMP SCARE: You of course run your own Facebook Page ‘Geeks That Don’t Want to Grow Up’ why did you start it?
GEORGE: I started the page up less than a year ago because there were a lot of other Geeky pages out there, but all had niche audiences. One might focus more on retro games (there’s that word again), horror movies, or the Star Wars franchise. I wanted to have a page for geeks and fans of all the above and more, in one place. I have such an eclectic taste with movies and TV. One day I might post about Rogue One, the next I’ll be posting about PsychoVille the next I might put a post-up about an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles form 1987.
It’s something for everyone. It gives me a chance to try and get people interested in specific things they may not be sure about. For example, I posted about the 30th anniversary of ‘Withnail and I’ and likened it to the best British comedy movie of all time (in my opinion) ‘The Life of Brian’. A follower said he had never seen Withnail…but would give it a go because he really liked The Life of Brian. He gave it a go and messaged me about how much he loved it.
JUMP SCARE: With the huge success of #LostBoys30th are you eyeing up any other movie screenings in the future, or is this a onetime deal for you?
GEORGE: Ideally I would love to do more nights. My wife has given me the idea of maybe picking another 5 movies I think people would love to see on the big screen, and then asking people to vote on it. That would be a great way of doing my market research and building from there.
I have set this screening up and, along with the lovely people at FACT Liverpool, a quiz and tried to make it special occasion for everyone attending.
I’ll wait until the dust settles on this event and see where to go to from there. I’ve daydreamed for a while about doing it as a business, so who knows what the future may hold?
JUMP SCARE: If the Frog Brothers are fighters for truth, justice and the American way. What’s your motto?
GEORGE: I haven’t got my own motto, but I like to use another one from another cult classic favourite of mine. “Be excellent to each other!”.
George’s #LostBoys30th night is now sold out, but be sure to check out his page Geeks That Don’t Want to Grow Up to keep an eye out for more possible screenings in the future!