Clive Barker’s NIGHTBREED is a primal thing. His tale of a man who thinks himself a monster who becomes a monster to regain his humanity touches on themes of persecution and perception. His director’s cut of the film which was released a few years ago after 20 years seems to provide that more animalistic view of the story than did the more tame theatrical release.
Way back when the film was being made, Morgan Creek ordered extensive reshoots and 45 minutes removed from Barker’s original film. After years of searching, two VHS work prints were found. These contained the missing footage, grainy and washed out though it was. Put back together by archivists at Scream Factory and with Clive Barker’s direction, they reconstructed and restored his original vision for the film adaptation of his “Cabal” novella. So, Barker’s tale of mankind as monsters and monsters as human exists again as it does on the page.
Fans of the X-Men comics can see the parallels, those with an eye toward racial and sexual bigotry known the themes. But beyond those themes, this is probably as close as we’ll ever come to a full realization of one of Barker’s beautifully imagined worlds brought to life on film. His vision is so well drawn via writing that it usually springs more to life than Hollywood can ever get. Hell, a film company would really have to invest massive time and effort to try and fully illustrate the worlds of IMAGICA or THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW and we all know those epic tales are nigh impossible tell via celluloid or digital. No, they live best in the imagination.
So, beyond the original HELLRAISER films (just the first two), all we really have is NIGHTBREED as a major release featuring the imagination of one of the most talented fantasists of the last 30 years.
Sure we have Lord of Illusions, Candyman, Midnight Meat Train and even ol’ Rawhead Rex… among others. And don’t get me wrong, CANDYMAN is one of my favorite horror movies of all time—better than the film about which I currently write, but it doesn’t build a world all it’s own.
So, if you get a chance, the Blu-Ray is out there and it’s out there on Netflix… go and visit the NIGHTBREED, play in the CABAL and meet the monsters of MIDIAN!
And don't forget, the NIGHTBREED comic book ran for over two years and twenty-five issues from Marvel's Epic line in the 1990s. And Boom! had a twelve issue run upon the release of this very Director's Cut!