Discover the California Town Known as the ‘Vampire Capital of the World’

About a millennium ago, the Slavic people of Bulgaria coined the idea of vampires. But their conception of a vampire was very different from our modern conception of them. Originally thought to be non-corporeal entities, vampires were referred to as “ghost monsters.” At night, these specters that resembled ghosts would roam the communities, spreading disease and stirring up disturbance. That isn’t like the vampires we know now at all. Learn about the origins of these nocturnal creatures and the Californian town dubbed the “Vampire Capital of the World.”

History of Vampires

The Slavic people are credited with creating the concept of vampires. Furthermore, Hungary was the sole region where vampire legend existed until 1686. Hungary was annexed by the Holy Roman Empire in 1686. The vampire myth spread as Imperial troops mingled with Slavic peasants. The vampire mythology was carried back to Vienna, Berlin, and Paris by soldiers. As vampire tales spread from the East to the West by 1732, the term “vampire” first entered in the English language.

The notion of vampire blood-drinking started to emerge during the 18th century. People believed that human blood had therapeutic properties during the time. It made sense that consuming blood would enable one to absorb soul energy since they held the belief that blood served as the human soul’s vessel. Thus, human blood was prescribed by physicians as medication. Patients used it to “cure” a wide range of illnesses, including epilepsy and poor vision.

As vampire mythology found its way into literature, vampires became famous thanks to best-sellers like Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897).

Vampires remain a prevalent theme in mainstream culture today, thanks to beloved series like True Blood, Twilight, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Vampire Capital of the World

It is surprising to learn that Santa Cruz, which has 257 bright days annually, is dubbed “The Vampire Capital of the World.” The Lost Boys, a film from 1987, is to blame for this acknowledgment. Santa Cruz, which served as the model for the fictional city of Santa Carla, was the location for almost all of the filming. As the main protagonist brothers, Michael and Sam, and their friends attempt to live in the vampire capital of the world, numerous well-known Santa Cruz landmarks can be seen throughout the world.

The Plot of The Lost Boys

Adolescent brothers Michael and Sam and their divorced mother relocate to a new location in California. Two comic book nerds become friends with Sam, the younger brother, in this made-up town called Santa Carla. Although they go by Edward and Alan, the locals call them the Frog Brothers. These two are knowledgeable on the legends and vampires.

Michael, the older brother, develops feelings for Star, a stunning girl, in the meantime. Michael becomes a member of a local motorcycle gang through Star, and he has no idea that they are vampires. Before it’s too late, Sam and his newfound pals need to defend Michael and Star from the group of vampires.

The Success of The Lost Boys

Considering its $8.5 million budget, its box office success took everyone by surprise. With a $32.2 million box office haul, this movie revived interest in vampires. Less people liked its later sequels, Lost Boys: Tribe (2008) and Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010). These DVD-only follow-ups were never released in theaters.

The Vampire Capital of the World Tour in Santa Cruz

You can take a self-guided tour of Santa Cruz to view all the well-known locations that were included in the film. The tour’s highlights are as follows:

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Numerous sequences in The Lost Boys were set against the backdrop of this popular waterfront promenade. For example, the oldest amusement park in California, Santa Cruz’s Beach Boardwalk, is the location of the filming when we first meet the head of the vampire motorcycle gang and his crew. In addition, several of the film’s nighttime sequences feature the enormous Giant Dipper roller coaster, a famous feature of the seaside boardwalk. The land is been designated as a California Historic Landmark.

Atlantis Fantasyworld Comic Book Shop

In this comic book store in the heart of Santa Cruz, Sam meets the Frog Brothers for the first time. Santa Cruz residents have been going there for more than 40 years. However, Atlantis Fantasyworld moved to Cedar Street after the 1989 earthquake demolished the previous store. Joe Ferrara, the proprietor of the comic book store, even appeared as an extra in The Lost Boys.

Santa Cruz Wharf

Max’s Video Store was filmed at the Santa Cruz Wharf, which is located in Monterey Bay. This magnificent wharf is over a century old and over half a mile long! Fans of the movie will be able to identify its shape and front entrance even if it currently looks like a Santa Cruz Bay Company gift shop.

Pogonip Clubhouse

Sam and Michael are fictional characters that reside in a quaint small home that serves as the Pogonip Country Club clubhouse with their mother and grandfather. Perched atop a hilltop overlooking Santa Cruz, this country club served as a social, polo, and golf facility. Even though the clubhouse hasn’t been utilized in decades, hikers can still access the site used for filming.

The Trestle Bridge

This is not the Santa Cruz tour location, but it’s still a fantastic place to film. A portion of The Lost Boys’ filming was done in Santa Clarita, south of Santa Cruz. The trestle bridge at Iron Horse Trailhead served as one of the filming locations. Do you recall the famous moment where the vampire gang is dangling over the bridge? That is the trestle bridge at Iron Horse Trailhead! Owing to the movie’s success, the city constructed a handy path for pedestrians who would like to have a closer look.