Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nightbreed (1990)

Clive Barker, the Master of the Macabre, brings the magical world of Midian to life in NIGHTBREED, adapted from his own fantasy novella Cabal. The conflicted Boone must escape to the mythical city of monsters after being framed for murder, but he is followed by the insidious Doctor Decker, who plans to destroy Midian and its inhabitants: the NIGHTBREED! Barker creates an enormous scale that is too far-reaching to be contained within the short runtime of the film. The director has made no secret of the fact that his work was butchered on the cutting room floor by shortsighted studio execs, with many of its missing pieces lost forever. This might explain why NIGHTBREED's narrative feels somewhat incomplete and disjointed at times, but even in its broken form, it is clear that Barker has unleashed his own unique world of gods and monsters that exists before and long after the events captured in the film.

The Tribes of the Moon come to life in all shapes and sizes; some fierce, some disgusting, and some that are beautiful but terrifying. Like the twisted creations in HELLRAISER, the monsters of Midian spring directly from the mind of Barker, himself, showing off more of his horrifying designs as brought to life by a gifted team of creature effects artists. NIGHTBREED also features a monumental score to match its grand scale. The art direction in both the Gothic graveyard above and the labyrinthine crypts below expand the sets into the incredible subterranean city that houses the action.

The tragic mismarketing of the film should be considered a sin, considering the tremendous success NIGHTBREED has found from supportive fans in the decades since its initial release. Clive Barker's underrated fantasy horror picture might even have surpassed HELLRAISER in becoming the director's most accomplished work if he had only been given the right to complete his epic vision.

Rating: 8/10.
Entertainment: 9/10.

If you liked NIGHTBREED, check out:
NEON MANIACS, RAWHEAD REX, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.

9 comments:

  1. I had such high hopes for this film. Too bad we'll never see a "director's cut" version for this.

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  2. It really is sad, so much more potential, and I bet Clive would never consider a remake after the first fiasco..

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  3. Carl, I thought we talked about the "lost" footage being discovered some time back? It's been shown already at a horror Convention last year, or year before last. Barker has been trying to get the studios to put together a new DVD of it.

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  4. this is that movie, when people ask what is my favorite horror film. i believe this is a middle to the a book, that needs more telling. it carries all the things a horror film should be... gore, scare, monsters, outside the box characters. barker saw something when he wrote "cabal" too bad it did not transfer to screen. here is a film that needs a reboot, dare i say reboot.

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  5. I think I do remember discussing it, I just ran over to Clive's site to check on the status and it seems that the only footage that was recovered was from rough cuts that were recorded on to VHS, but the reels that Morgan Creek claimed to be holding in their vaults weren't recovered from what I saw updated in July 2010?

    iZ I am completely down for a remake of this one, it is too bad Clive probably wouldnt be willing to revisit it..

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  6. This was one of the first horror films that I found myself genuinely drawn to. Maybe it was the Canadian setting, or the fantastical creatures, or simply I'd reach an age where horror movies didn't scare the piss out of me as a boy. Whatever the case, it holds a spot in my heart.

    I have not seen it in many years, though. I wonder if my nostalgic affection for it is disguising a movie that doesn't actually hold up as well.

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  7. I think as an aging Horror fan, you will find even more to appreciate in the film. It really grows better with each viewing because it is so unique with such a grand scale. Fox, you have to get a hold of the film and rewatch then let me know how it stands today!

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  8. I would love to see a remake on this one to but with Barker being allowed creative control as it is his book and vision.

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  9. As a diehard Barker fan since the mid '80s I've always been severely mixed about NIGHTBREED. Saw it opening night in Feb '90 and was disappointed almost immediately. Honestly, the more I reread Barker's fiction the more I feel like people should just read his books.

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