AKA Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, Cabal
Starring Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker, Debora Weston, Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford, Kim Robertson
Directed by Clive Barker
Nightbreed might be a little disjointed and hard to penetrate for some viewers, but this is one of those movies I watched because I finally read the book upon which it is based, in this case: Clive Barker’s Cabal. So I watched Nightbreed with a huge grin across my face almost the entire time. The film is a fantastic adaptation of the novel, bringing Midian and the monsters of the night to life in ways that I didn’t think would be practical or possible. Clive Barker once again surprised me in ways I never dreamed, proving that his imagination knows no bounds. Barker’s vision of horror and fantasy defies genre labels and Nightbreed exemplifies his ability to drop us into a colorful, nightmarish world without much exposition (not unlike Philip K. Dick, another of my favorite authors).
Nightbreed starts as the story of Boone (Craig Sheffer), a troubled man plagued with dreams of monsters. Boone visits his therapist, Decker (David Cronenberg), for some relief, but instead Boone learns that he’s actually been murdering families during periods of blackout. So now, as an outcast and a murderer, Boone ventures to the one place where he knows he can find refuge: Midian, a place where the true monsters of the world, the Nightbreed, seek shelter and peace. That’s the basic beginning to the plot, but it only scratches the surface in describing Nightbreed. The film is about Boone ultimately, but the central plot is almost secondary to the periphery elements. Boone is a small, but important player in a larger narrative, one that’s been going on for thousands of years. The way Barker explores the other Nightbreed and their shared mythology, man’s compulsion to ridicule and exterminate those who are different, as well as indulging our own fascinations with the creatures of the night, is what makes the film the powerhouse I found it to be.