Nightbreed Revisited Review and Resurrection

Posted: June 15, 2012 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
Tags: , , , , ,

When the writer of the source material in this case Nightbreed delivers their own screenplay, based on their own novel, having already proved their worth as a writer/director you’d expect some favourable results. However, as with Bladerunner, Alien 3, Mimic to name a few the studio knows best eh?

Clive Barker’s original version ran two-and-a-half hours and film studio asked for almost an hour to be cut prompting editor Richard Marden to leave in protest. With its release delayed Nightbreed was cut to two hours and then again to 102 minutes, hitting the cinemas in 1990.

It’s clear that the studio did not understand what they had and promoted it poorly with posters that misinterpreted the content, essentially marketing Nightbreed as a slasher film and not the fantasy and horror it is.

Time passed and its following grew… A distinguished cobbled together extended 159-minute cut version was unearthed and premiered on March 27, 2010. This version adds almost all the footage that was cut from the theatrical release. Then in early 2012 a Derby University lecturer Russell Cherrington created a composite cut of the film which runs at 155 minutes long and premiered March 2012. Although the presentation is not pristine there is hope Nightbreed may be resurrected offically as the aforementioned films were. The original cut footage is readily accessible but studio executive have said that there was not a big enough audience to warrant spending money on an extended cut of the film (will studio’s ever learn?)

So support the manufacture of an official directors cut here Meanwhile, here’s a few thoughts on the Theatrical version.

Nightbreed (1990)

A city of mutant, monster, outcasts attempt to escape the attention of a psychotic serial killer and vigilantes with the help of a troubled man.

Based on Clive Barker’s own novel Cabal, Nightbreed has a nightmarish feel with memorable ingraining visuals. However, its Americanized, MTV generation elements dilute its credibly as a classic but cements its cult status which retains its die-hard following.

Nevertheless, it feels underdeveloped (no doubt due to lack of understanding by the studio and their changes). The contrast in setting between the urban environment and the underground graveyard city Midian is an edgy variation reminiscent of the naturalist house in Hellraiser against the fantasy/horror elements. This eerie contrast is Nightbreeds biggest strength.

It has plenty of talent on board notably Danny Elfman (music score) and Barker himself as a director. It also includes Doug Bradley (Hellraiser’s Pinhead) and a cameo performance by director David Cronenberg. The performances are a mixed bag, that said the mutant supporting cast are great.

The ominous dreamlike quality and super make-up is immersible and overall Nightbreed is an intriguing ambiguous tale of fantasy horror that’s crying out for a director’s cut.


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