I’m no stranger to looking past how certain movies have aged over the years. I can still enjoy a film from decades gone by and overlook their special effects and production values from the time. However, there are certain aspects I have a hard time ignoring. A lack of cohesive editing and scrambled arrangement is the downfall of Scream Factory’s “Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition.”
Aaron Boone is a troubled young man whose psychiatrist has convinced him that he's a serial killer. He flees to a graveyard called Midian, which houses a group of mutants which live underground and call themselves the Nightbreed. The outcasts are hiding from the human world. Their existence is soon threatened by the arrival of a murdering psychopath and vigilantes which Boone inadvertently leed to Midian.
There’s always been a lot of talk about studio tampering when it comes to the theatrical version of “Nightbreed.” Clive Barker’s cut of the movie is a disjointed mess of scenes that jumps back and forth giving it a scattered and clumsy feel. It doesn’t convey its creator’s genius the way it should.
If you look past all its negatives, “Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition” does a great job showing Clive Barker’s talent at manufacturing characters that are both sympathetic at a human level and unique in design. The creatures found in the movie each have their own characteristics and look, much the way Barker did for the Cenobites of “Hellraiser.” You empathize with each one even if they do appear frightening on the outside.
“Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition” features a new 1080p high-definition widescreen transfer with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The picture is beautiful and has never looked so good. The surround sound will have home entertainment audiences peering over their shoulders as the creepy environmental reverberations of Midian envelope them in terror.
From a religious standpoint, most fundamentalist Christians are going to have serious issues with “Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition.” The title group worships Baphomet, which is an idol or deity most commonly associated today with the Church of Satan. Aside from that, it’s referred to as a representation of the sum total of the universe – male and female, good and evil, etc. From what I understand, Barker is an atheist so it’s safe to say he uses Baphomet as a symbol of the latter. Either way, its pagan in design which won’t make Christians comfortable watching it.
“Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition” is unrated but could easily hold an “R.” There’s some nudity and gore, but nothing that sends it into NC-17 territory. There’s the usual amount of violence and gore found in horror films as well.
Scream Factory has packed tons of great bonus material into the “Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition.” A new introduction from Clive Barker kicks things off when you play the movie. Audio commentary is provided by restoration producer Mark Alan Miller and other talent associated with the project. Cast and crew give new interviews for the release as well. They include Craig Sheffer, Doug Bradley, Hugh Ross, and many more. We also get other special features like deleted scenes, matte painting tests, a theatrical trailer, and more.
It’s said that Clive Barker was attempting to create a world of horror the likes of what “Star Wars” did for science fiction. As far as characters and settings go, he accomplished his goal. However, the breakdown for “Nightbreed” was in its lack of cohesion when it comes to narrative arrangement. Its unconventional editing and thrown-together feel hijacked any chances of conventional moviegoers catching on to it. I do believe it’s ripe for a sequel in a day and age where older concepts and movies are being re-booted and given another chance.
“Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut – Limited Edition” is available now on Blu-ray.
"Nightbreed: The Director's Cut" is also available in a basic edition right here.
For more articles by Eric Shirey that don't fit on Moviepilot, check out his official website.