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Friday, March 26, 2010

NightBreed Review

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In my opinion, NightBreed is Clive Barkers masterpiece. The film centers around Boone, a troubled man who is set up as the fall guy in a string of slasher murders that are actually being commited by his therapist Dr. Decker, a role played very well by David Cronenberg.
Yes, THE director of Shivers David Cronenberg. Boone decides to hide by crossing the threshold that separates us from "them" and sneaks into the realm of Midian. Midian is the place where all of the "outcasts" or "monsters" go to live in harmony and away from society. Yeah, I know I am using a lot of quotations because I am being facetious. People usually label the monsters as being the villains, but not so here. The true monsters are the people and authority figures we normally look up to. Though Barker made the comparisons painfully obvious, most cannot comprehend the true meaning of this film. Barker used the plot of NightBreed as a euphamism to describe how it feels being a gay man, especially around the late 80's-early 90's when the movie came out because being homosexual wasn't as accepted then as it is now. Gays and lesbians still have it very difficult but more people are coming around to the fact that everyone deserves the right to be happy. Aside from the plot being done very well, the acting was great. As I stated earlier, Cronenberg was awesome as Dr. Decker and Craig Sheffer played his best role as Boone. The true strength of NightBreed are the visuals. All of the different costumes, make-up, and mythology of the citizens of Midian are rich and vibrant. It took a lot of creative genius to bring the characters off the pages of Cabal to life in NightBreed. The movie was not without misfortune though. For one, studio execs just couldn't wrap their minds around monsters being the heroes. The run time was cut from 145 minutes all the way down to 101 minutes. The marketing was atrocious and if you had seen any of the ads and trailers, you really had no clue what the film was about. NightBreed ended up being marketed as a slasher and Barker was said to be both disgusted and distressed by the treatment it was given. The reviews were mostly negative, with even the nicer ones being brutal. This one from the New York Times said, “But surrounded by Mr. Barker's visual clutter and lack of narrative energy, Mr. Cronenberg's presence only highlights the difference between a gruesome but first-rate psychological horror story like Dead Ringers and a mediocrity like Nightbreed”. Luckily, NightBreed has gained a cult following over the years and anyone blessed enough to be going to HorrorHound Weekend gets to see the uncut version for the very first time. We may never get the sequel that was planned, but hopefully the studios will finally give us the special edition dvd that has been begged for by fans for years. If you haven't seen Nightbreed yet, I recommend reading Cabal first and then watching the movie, you would be able to appreciate it more that way.