I first heard about Nightbreed from a few friends that were casual fans of horror. I had gone on this big Clive Barker kick and started reading the Books of Blood and Thief of Always. I had set my sights on reading Cabal when I heard about this movie. It wasn't long before a group of us threw the movie on. I fell in love.
There is a place that exists where the freaks and monsters live. A variable Shangri-La for the macabre and grotesque. It seemingly exists between two realms and is extremely challenging to find. You must be deemed worthy to even step inside it. However, young Aaron Boone has been accepted into their society in order to help them fight off a conniving serial killer and the imposing forces that the outside world is sending in. This film shows the war between the two worlds. It really is a superb tale of supernatural fun and intrigue.
Nightbreed is a gem. It's never really brought up in conversations about Horror or Clive Barker movies for that matter. But it stands out as being a fully flushed out world with above average effects and a sensational story. Barker has created this wonderful little magical realm of killers and monsters. Unfortunately, it was victim to a number of forced studio cuts and edits. However, the Director's Cut is quite nice.
The set and creature design is top-notch. Paul Clancy, Geoffrey Portass, and Robbie Drake are just a few of the technicians and designers that brought this movie to life. They do such a good job that this actually transports you into another world. It has the feel of a big production kid's action film but all the gore and horror that only Clive Barker can bring.
The acting is campy. But it really means well. Craig Sheffer does his typical work. He isn't horrible. He is actually spot-on for this role. He is an interesting actor that can really soak up any role he is put into. If you want to see more of him and Barker, I would suggest you check out Hellraiser: Inferno. Just don't expect to be amazed. The rest of the cast fills in pretty nicely. Doug Bradley (Pinhead) is in this in a supporting role.
David Cronenberg is already a titan in the horror genre. He is one of the plank-owners of Body Horror, so it's no surprise that Barker and Cronenberg would be working together. I just never knew it could be so good. I have seen David Cronenberg in a few small roles over the years but his performance in this is fantastic. His moon-face killer is on of my personal favorites.
I highly recommend this movie. It's wonderful. It has mystery and intrigue. Not to mention the amazing effects and unique storyline. This movie literally has something for everyone. It's too gory for the entire family but it has that comforting feel to it. It's a horror movie that you can actually sit and enjoy popcorn with. I was so glad my friends told me about it.
Did ya know...
Some of the Nightbreed-inspired merchandise included a 25-issue Nightbreed comic book series, a Nightbreed game for the home computer, and books such as "The Nightbreed Chronicles".The character played by David Cronenberg is named Dr. Philip K. Decker, a reference to sci-fi author Philip K. Dick. Deckard was the last name of the protagonist in Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", which was later adapted as Blade Runner