The Lost Boys
After watching this late ‘80s cult classic, it’s nearly impossible to see the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California, without picturing a pack of vampires flying through the sky. Not the tuxedoed, Bela Lugosi kind of bloodsucker, but rather a group of cool, quiet, punk-rocker ‘vamps’ with long hair, who ride motorcycles and reside in the fictional ruins of a sunken hotel. As a stand-in for the made-up town of Santa Carla, Santa Cruz is as essential to the film as its other stars, including Keifer Sutherland, who plays vampire David. The vampires first appear at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s hand-carved Looff Carousel, and rides like the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster and the Sky Rider lend credence to the community’s unconventional vibe—a major movie thread. Other spots to look out for: the Santa Cruz Wharf pier (home to Max’s video store in the film), and the real-life Atlantis Fantasyworld, a comic book shop where Corey Haim's character Sam meets the vampire-hunting Frog brothers. Although the shop featured in the film was destroyed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, today’s location operates downtown.
There are so many great books and films that showcase Northern California worthy of inclusion. Here are several more for your queue:
Always Be My Maybe: This 2019 romantic comedy may be your best chance to get inside the San Francisco Fairmont’s penthouse suite.
Joy Luck Club: San Francisco’s Chinatown, as well as other Bay Area locations including Woodside and Contra Costa County.
Milk: San Francisco’s Castro district in full 1970s-inspired regalia.
Steinbeck's Ghost: A mystery for young teens set in Steinbeck’s Central Valley.