Saturday, 14 April 2012

13/04/2012: Nightbreed [1990]

On Friday the 13th I of course had to watch a horror movie, as such I watched one from one of the best minds in horror, Clive Barker's Nightbreed. While the movie may not be all it could have been, anyone watching it can still see it's potential and realize what it could have been.

Friday the 13th is a great day for horror fans and it even happens more than once a year, ever shifting around our calendars. While unfortunately I was feeling sick, and didn't go out and see The Cabin In The Woods, nor did I even watch all three movies I intended too, I did get in some horror greatness. Anyone who is a fan of horror, in movie, book or even video game form has heard of Clive Barker. The man who started as a horror author, and when he saw how the film industry handled converting his stories to the screen took things into his own hands as a director and screenwriter, first with Hellraiser, and followed by Nightbreed.

While I have only been able to get around to seeing the first 4 (5?) Hellraisers, I will say that Lord of Illusions is probably my favourite of Barkers movies. Nightbreed, could have easily unseated all, but unfortunately, even with Barker at the helm, the studio once again managed to fuck us.

Yes, that's the face I would make too.
Nightbreed is based on the book Cabal, which I have not read. I can tell you simply from watching the movie however that you can feel all of the pieces of a great story, and know that the book must be great. Unfortunately, the studio made significant cuts to Barkers finished movie, do to largely a lack of understanding that sometimes comes to horror movies. Nightbreed's first mistake was to cut out a significant amount of footage, almost an hour total. However for 22 years now, fans have been trying to dig up and unearth the supposedly lost footage, and as of 2012, it has been mostly found, with a number of extended cuts being shown at special screenings. I personally would love to see "The Cabal Cut".

The second mistake the studio made was marketing Nightbreed. Without a proper understanding of a movie that had no movie stars, was violent, and mixed horror and fantasy the studio ended up marketing the movie horribly. The trailer, originally rejected by MPAA 12 times, cut out the monsters and simply focused on the tiny part featuring someone being terrorized by a razor blade. This of course lead to the few who saw the trailer to thing Nightbreed was just another slasher, which had filled the 80's, not as the true beast it was.

Jabba the Hut's palace had nothing on Midian.

 One of the greatest things about Nightbreed, is its monsters, the Nightbreed themselves. If you've ever watched a Clive Barker movie, you can almost instantly recognize another one. They just feel so much alike. Nightbreed is no different, it is in the visuals Barker uses, particularly the make-up. Barker never seems to just create one monster, and in this he gives us a whole breed, and yet, none are the same. Everyone is original and unique, from grotesque fat creatures, to sexy porcupine creatures, from things akin to Star Wars species and then whatever the hell that thing is in the left of the above screenshot. But while Barker may CGI in some random lightning and shimmering lights, he never skimps on the great make-up.

The creatures he creates for us to stare at in horror however, are also Barkers greatest twist in Nightbreed because he makes them are good guys. It is the Nightbreed we hope for and feel for, monsters hunted by mankind, driven underground, and living in fear, of us. Only once you have watched it will you truly realize what this means and how much it turns the tables.

Of course all of gun toting America roles out for a good old fashioned mass breedicide.

The cast of this movie is while mostly unknown still does a great job. The special effects and make up of Nightbreed are everything they should be, and how they should be today. The story to Nightbreed is unfortunately its strongest part but unfortunately it feels incomplete, with many small plot threads not truly filled out and woven together. The ending of course is also a greatly interesting one, but due to the lack of follow up isn't so great.

Truly Nightbreed is a movie that was full of potential, and wasn't allowed to live up to them. Any fan will still be able to see this, and even if it seems incomplete, Nightbreed is still better than some of the things that get churned out these says. As usual Nightbreed financial flop, combined with its movie greatness make it a horror cult classic, and if you haven't seen it and are a fan of Clive Barker or horror in general please due. I know I would throw myself at the first chance to see the original cut of this movie.

So, the Cabal Cut has since come out, and I really hope it does well and gets a release. Either that or I will have to make some ungodly cross continent trek to see it.

Nightbreed IMDb

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