Nightbreed is a woefully under-appreciated film and a celebration of all things monster. Although it flopped in pretty much every regard when it released, the film has picked up a small cult following. I’m urging you to seek this flick out and expand that fanbase.
From the mind of Clive Barker, Nightbreed are a small group of monsters and mutants that live together in hiding from humans. Lore says that there used to be countless monsters living happily in the dark reaches of the world, but were hunted to near extinction by humans. Now this ragtag group live underneath a cemetery in isolation. That, of course, becomes threatened over the course of the film.
Every single Nightbreed is a visual treat and everything is practical which is just the best.
To be able to fly? To be smoke, or a wolf? To know the night, and live in it forever? That’s not so bad. You call us monsters. But when you dream, you dream of flying, and changing…and living without death. You envy us, and what you envy…you destroy.
On Monday night, I had the honor to attend the premiere of Nightbreed by Clive Barker.
Savvy horror movie lovers are probably saying “Premiere? That movie came out 25 years ago!” Yes, but it was not the story Clive Barker wanted to tell. The movie was recut, torn apart, and ruined by a studio who didn’t think horror audiences were ready for a movie where the monsters were the heroes.
Fast forward to now. Fans have been searching for years for the missing footage. VHS tapes were found and recut but it wasn’t high quality. But due to the dedication of Mark Miller, the missing footage was tracked down in a random warehouse in the Midwest. They found 36 hours of new footage, cleaned it up, fixed it, and completely remade the movie into the film Clive always wanted to make. It has about 45 minutes of new footage in total, but it’s only about 20 minutes longer than the original theatrical release. They removed a lot of the incomprehensible stuff and forced pickups and put in the original footage they had planned on 25 years ago.
The film is beautiful and seeing a horror icon reduced to tears of joy at seeing his work restored was an honor. Creators in the film space often have their projects destroyed by the studios that release them. Hearing Clive talk about how the destruction of Nightbreed made him want to stop working on films but the restoration of it made him interesting to make them again was really incredible.