It’s been close to 25 years since the movie hit the screens, but no movie has ever had the same effect on me as this one did when it arrived. At the time, I was so used to seeing Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, I don’t think I knew what to expect, but Nightbreed was a clever mix of fantasy and horror and although I normally frown on reboots, this is exactly the type of film that needs to be rebooted for today’s audience.
Sure the effects where generally top notch for the nineties, but with so much unexplained and so many character’s, who’s stories were left untold, I feel this is ripe for the picking. However, the question will come up in board meetings “Is there still a fan base?” My answer would be, if you could reboot Judge Dredd you can reboot this. It’s not about a fanbase anymore, but how you market it that matters. There are a number of films that came up from scratch and have done well and with so many horror and comic book conventions around the world, a few dollars would be all we needed to resurrect the dead.
I look at Nightbreed as the Pokemon of horror flicks. There were so many monsters in this film and all with their own unique abilities, that marketing would be a snap. Give each character their moment and a bad ass line and you’ve gotta hit. Just think of the potential.
Another way to market this film, is give it a comic book, something that delivers the back story of every character. Did they transform or were they born that way? Are they from the U.S or from all over the world? How old is each monster and what powers do they posses? You see where I am going here?
If you’ve seen the movie, you know the lead character Boone/Cabal, is the tamest looking monster in the whole film. Well..we could beef that up…hell, give the guy some demonic looking wings even. Winged critters always make for good car chase scenes.
I’m realizing, as I write this, that a lot of you would probably like to know what this film is about.
Nightbreed is based on a book by Clive Barker called Cabal and the story goes like this…
The film features Craig Sheffer as Aaron Boone, an unstable mental patient led to believe by his doctor (David Cronenberg) that he is a serial killer. Tracked down by the police as well as by his doctor (the actual murderer) and his girlfriend (Anne Bobby), Boone eventually finds refuge in an abandoned cemetery called Midian, among a community or “tribe” of monsters and outcasts – known as the “Nightbreed” – that hides from humanity.
The film was unfortunately a flop when it released in 1991. The mistake Hollywood made with Nightbreed, was they didn’t know what kind of film it was. Clive Barker was known for his work with Hellraiser, so the tendency was to promote the film as a horror, but that’s where they went horribly wrong. The film is more fantasy than horror. Sure there are some gory moments and satanic imagery, but it’s based more in myth and ancient lore than it is in the occult. If Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman or Peter Jackson had been around back then a.k.a huge, this film would’ve been done right.
Watching the movie now, I see so many missed opportunities, to expound on a world that, for all intents and purposes, is as vast as Middle Earth. Instead we get this hodge podge of imagery, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but you want it to. From the cave paintings in the opening credits to the dream sequence when we see the Nightbreed being persecuted “Inquisition” style.
Some of these mysteries are supposedly explained in Cabal:The Directors Cut, that just released, but according to several horror sites it does nothing to elevate the film as a whole. It’s more or less a think piece or blue print, if you will, of the differences between the story the director wanted to tell versus what the studio wanted. I also hear the quality is horrendous. It’s a slow death for a film, that should’ve been rebooted years ago
(Via. Shock Til You Drop)
The focus is more on Boone and Lori. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the Cabal Cut is really Lori’s film. A lot of the emotional weight rests on her shoulders. Boone is still all over the map and drops out of the film for a bit (when he tells Lylesberg he’s going to see Baphomet, it’s apparently a really, really long walk to go downstairs) and Decker is sidelined as one of the film’s myriad threats. There is the introduction to a voice in Decker’s head, beckoning him to put on the mask and kill. This detail is wildly inconsistent and comes in way too late in the film, still, it’s an interesting touch if it was established properly.
This is what they had to say regarding the finale/raid on Median:
Another notable addition that affects the film: The extended raid on Midian which seems much more brutal now and includes more monsters getting blown away by Eigerman’s men. This draws the whole third act action scene out and may be satisfying to some.
So it basically sounds like what needed to happen is the film needed to be re-shot and more character development and that’s what I’m saying could happen with a proper reboot people.
In closing, if you decide to rent this film and feel like I don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s fine and I appreciate you giving it a chance, but if you agree with me and can see this film for what it could truly be…you’re welcome. Fuck Robocop…give us NIGHTBREED.
Want to know more about NIGHTBREED or The CABAL CUT? Checkout these websites!
- Clive Barker’s NIGHTBREED:The Cabal Cut get’s a release date. (mitng.org)
- Fantastic Fest Review: CABAL, An Unrefined Yet Superior Version Of NIGHTBREED (badassdigest.com)
- Midian Unleashed! Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ To Get A Director’s Cut (geek-news.mtv.com)
- Nightbreed director’s cut to be released next year, exciting Clive Barker fans (marcwinger.com)