Nightbreed (1990)


Clive Barker


Clive Barker


Craig Sheffer – Boone
Anne Bobby – Lori
David Cronenberg – Dr. Philip K. Decker
Charles Haid – Captain Eigerman
Hugh Quarshie – Detective Joyce
Doug Bradley – Dirk Lylesberg
Oliver Parker – Peloquin
Christine McCorkindale – Shuna Sassi

Nightbreed is one of those movies that were a massive flop in the states when it first came out but managed to get a massive following later, there is even a extended cut being released here in the near future. I hadn’t watched the film until just now so it’s nice to see what all the hype is about and see what the extended cut will bring. To say that I am excited to finally watch this movie is a massive understatement.

In the first scene, what leads to the title is one of the reason I love his movies and that is the monster designs. When it comes to designs and art Clive Barker is a hero of mine, I truly think that he is a master of his craft and I really enjoy a good deal of his work. In fact they have no issues showing these monsters in this film and showing them a lot because unlike most movies they aren’t the bad ones. Boone, the main character, is a man who is slightly mentally disturbed and is convinced by his doctor that he is in fact a serial killer. In truth the killer is actually his doctor and through a few series of Event he even gets Boone killed. Well it wouldn’t be much of a Clive Barker Film if it ended there, he comes back to life because he is a Nightbreed and lives in Midion (the graveyard where the rest of the Nightbreed live). After awhile it becomes a fight between the Nightbreed and humans lead by the killer doctor though the police force don’t realize that they are being lead but a vicious killer..

The effects of the movie are a little dated but it still makes for a fun film as long as you know what you are getting into. Unlike the original marketing of the movie it is not a slasher but a dark fantasy and one you get over that (or if you are like me and actually read Clive Barkers work) you would know what kind of film this was going to be. We have these monsters who really aren’t bad people they just look/act a little weird and their peaceful existence is being threatened by police and the killer doctor for a reason that isn’t entirely clear other then they are freaks. It’s a great social commentary and one that I connect with right away (though horror movies do have their popularity not it wasn’t always so great to be into these kind of films and saying this makes me feel old).

Are the deaths gory and disturbing like the rest of Clive Barker’s work? No, in fact the most meaningful death in the film, other than when Boon dies, comes with no gore at all. I actually felt really bummed when that character died and it sets up the villains to look even worse than they actually are. Its this strangely heart breaking scene that I really thought brought a little bit of reality to the film, everyone has in one way or another felt or seen the cruelty of the human heart and its on display in this scene. It really forces you to no longer thing of the monsters as the bad guys and it’s masterfully done in my opinion.

The down sides are sadly apparent as well. If it wasn’t for the nudity and the strange creepy seduction kills of Shuna Sassi (one of the best designed of the Nightbreed) I would say that would have made a great PG 13 style film. With those elements it gets into this weird area where it’s not hardcore enough for most people but not something parents are going to want their younger teens to watch either. A lot of the makeup holds up because its not CG but even though I love the film it’s hard to not want a remake even if its just for a new audience to see thismovie because younger audiences now aren’t going to gout of their way for this one. I hope that the Cabal Cut will be enough to bring in a new audience.

I am biased with this movie, I can’t give it an A because there is some problems with it but if you like Barker at all you must see this film. It shows this depth with his writing that people over look.

Grade B


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