Underwhelmed: Clive Barker's Nightbreed

There are only a handful of reasons why anyone would want to watch 1990's Nightbreed. Here are said reasons:

  1. Nobody wears a leather jacket and tight jeans like Craig Sheffer.
  2. Some of the makeup effects are interesting.
  3. Nobody wears a leather jacket over a bare chest like Craig Sheffer (except maybe Jeff Stryker).
  4. The scene early in the film when the suburban family is attacked by the mask wearing maniac is pretty damn scary.
And that's about it.

I first saw Nightbreed when it played in the theaters many moons ago, and recently caught it again on cable. Now, like then, I was underwhelmed.

That said, in spite of it's choppy, nonsensical story-line, Nightbreed really pulls out all of the stops in the last fifteen minutes. I sort of enjoyed the Canadian rednecks blowing up the cemetery as they were set upon by the monsters that inhabited the underworld of Midian, the hot priest who, for whatever reason, is wandering about the mayhem, the masked psychopath (David Cronenberg) showing up amidst the carnage, the porcupine lady shooting her quills into unsuspecting police officers ...It was all so over the top, but to what end?

Apparently, there is a legendary "director's cut" floating around somewhere with an extra twenty minutes of footage, though I wonder if even that would be enough to salvage this film. Clive Barker, the author (the film was based on his book, Cabal) and director claims that the studio hacked his original work to pieces. Having never read the source material, it would be tough for me to see how faithful the film is to the book.
It also seems that Nightbreed was to be the first in a series of films that followed the main character's further adventures, however due to the films dismal box office reception, there was no follow through ... what a shame, I really wanted to see more of Craig Sheffer's tight jeans and his leather jacket ...
craig sheffer is pissed that he did not get the lead in "the fly"


Rhubarb said...

I read the script and it was really good. Then I saw the film and was very disappointed. They took out so much stuff that it didn't even make sense anymore. Image Animation designed dozens of breed and most of them are hardly seen or cut completely.

There's a link to a zipped text file of the script here.


the_novacula said...

I love Barker's novel Cabal. It's been years since I read it, but the movie follows fairly close to it. The movie is far from great, but, for me, it has a certain allure.