As with many horror fans, my introduction to Clive Barker was in 1987 with the film Hellraiser. I became a huge fan after that buying up Barker’s novels, books of his artwork, comics based on his characters and even toys based on his creations. I could not get enough of his unique visions in any medium. I even had the chance to meet and talk with him for a while years back and found him to be one of the nicest and most affable guys ever. He has stepped behind the camera on only three occasions, for the original Hellraiser, for Lord of Illusions in 1995 and for the cult favorite Nightbreed in 1990. Nightbreed was plagued by studio interference at the time resulting in a skewed version of Barker’s tale that he was never happy with. A few years ago some lost VHS footage was found from Nightbreed and a ‘Cabal Cut’ was made that actually toured in theatres to rabid fans. Now years after that original film was found for much of Barker’s original cut and he was able to return to the film and remold it back into the original vision he had, an opportunity not many filmmakers are ever granted. And now Shout Factory has brought Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut to fans everywhere on Blu-ray.
Boone (Craig Sheffer) is a man plagued by nightmares. He dreams of a mythical place called Midian where the monster live. When his therapist, Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg) suggests Boone may be responsible for multiple murders, he sets out to find Midian and join the monsters where he thinks he belongs. But there are those who want to find Midian for other reasons and Boone may lead them directly to it.
Nightbreed is an incredibly beautiful film full of wonderful imagery, a unique moral backbone and stunning makeup effects. Barker’s direction is steady and sure as he crafts a wonderland of monsters that are more sympathetic and human than any of the humans they fight against. Sheffer and Anne Bobby as the lead couple Boone and Lori have great chemistry and their storyline is much more prominent in this version than in the previous theatrical version of the film. Every actor portraying a monster brings a real soul to the characters making them instantly relatable whereas every human character (aside from Boone and Lori) are flawed and cold. Nightbreed is the ultimate rise of the misfit story and it still works wonderfully now coming up on its 25th anniversary.
The Blu-ray from Shout Factory is a beautiful new transfer with no signs of patching in the new and alternate scenes. The film still has a low budget look to it but is by far the best the film has ever looked. In addition to the new Director’s Cut you get an hour long fascinating documentary on the making of the film as well as a host of other great special features. This is a milestone release of a great film by a great artist and should be cherished by horror and film fans alike. Highly recommended.
Available now on Blu-ray.