God's an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian is where the monsters live...
Memories are a funny thing. Sometimes, we can remember watching a film when we were kids that scared the living pants off of us. But then we view that film again as an adult and find ourselves dreadfully disappointed. This tends to happen more often than not for me. I'll remember suffering from bouts of kiddie insomnia and watching whatever creepy, crawly horror classic might be airing on HBO at 2am.
For example, The Lawnmower Man kept me up long past the point where my insomnia was an issue. But when I watched that movie again a few years ago, with the exception of the utterly eerie magnificence of Jeff Fahey's eyes, The Lawnmower Man was pretty underwhelming. However, in advance of the news that Scream Factory is FINALLY able to release the director's cut this year, I decided to watch Nightbreed, a film that I loved as a 10-year-old when I saw it for the first time. And while I am incredibly stoked to at last see the version of the film that Clive Barker wanted us to see, I am thrilled that I still enjoyed Nightbreed as much as I did those many moons ago.
The Plot: Directed and written by Barker from a screenplay based on his own short story, Cabal, Nightbreed is about a community of monsters, mutants, and other outcasted children of the night who have been forced below ground by generations of normies (damn those normies!). Convinced by his psychologist, who just happens to be a raving psychotic in the world's most terrifying mask, that he is a serial killer, Aaron Boone heads to the town of Midian to join the night breed. But neither Aaron's girlfriend, nor his doctor, are willing to let go of him so easily, and the resident monsters of Midian may be the ones who really suffer as a result.
Critics, fans, AND Barker were drastically disappointed with the end result of Nightbreed, both because the final cut was significantly altered from Barker's original vision and also because the ad campaign billed it as standard slasher fare. It was a mistake on both fronts and fans of Barker's short story can breath a sigh of relief that Scream Factory is finally able to make The Cabal Cut a reality. (The recut version runs 144 minutes, which will likely fill in more about the monsters of Midian, add some gore, and HOPEFULLY contain Suzi Quatro's missing role. Fingers crossed, kiddies!)
All of that being said, I still adore Nightbreed as is. This film was my first introduction to Clive Barker and his world of outcasts and mutants, which even at such a young age, I absolutely related to. The makeup is beautiful, and I was just as transfixed trying to take note of every detail now as I was the first time. And that opening sequence? Hot damn, it's still perfectly gorgeous and unsettling no matter how many times you watch it.
If you haven't seen Nightbreed before, now is the perfect time to watch the original version for the first time, before Barker's true vision is finally realized. If it's been years since you saw it, give it another watch. Either it will still hold all of the mystery of that first time, or it will get you psyched for the Scream Factory release this year. Either way... watch Nightbreed, my little monsters.