Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut (1990)- Film

“Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut”

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A young man, who dreams of monsters, is confronted with the fact that his dreams are real and the psychiatrist who has been claiming to help him has, instead, exploited him. Now, he must fulfill a prophecy in which he is both destruction and salvation of the Nightbreed.  

This cult classic is based on Clive Barker’s book Cabal.  The first thing the audience will notice is the stunning make-up and practical effects.  Of particular note is the exotic and sexy porcupine woman, Shuna Sassi, and the tentacle haired, Peloquin.    The cinematography and richly textured settings have a morbid, grotesquely vivid beauty that draws the audience in and wishing to be a part of the film’s nightmarish world.  There’s even a beautifully sweeping landscape shot or two.

In this, the Director’s Cut, the audience gets a deeper look into the assumed psychosis of Boone (Craig Sheffer, heart throb and bad boy of late 80’s, early 90’s flicks), our anti-hero, and the relationship between him and Lori (fresh faced, Anne Bobby), his lover.  The importance of their relationship and their love story is far more emphasized in this cut.  The story, though about Boone and his evolution from a disturbed and haunted young man, to a member of the Nightbreed tribes, is also very much about how Boone and Lori struggle to keep their love and that it survives and thrives, even beyond death.   Yeah, I’m totally making the argument that this is a romantic movie.

Then we have the distinguished, quietly sinister, Dr. Phillip Decker (the ever talented, deceptively soft spoken, David Cronenberg), nemesis to Boone and self appointed executioner of all the Nightbreed.  In his position of authority, and his specialized skill set, he is able to manipulate Boone and the officers, who are investigating the strange and deadly events connected to Boone.

The dialogue is, at times, clumsy and some plot devices are a little too convenient, bordering (occasionally hopping the border) on contrived.  Splashes of dark humor throughout the film prevent the weaker moments from detracting from the overall excellent experience the movie provides.

The ending in this cut is both weaker and stronger than the theatrical version.  There is a scene between Boone and Lori, at the end, that feels forced, and looks like it belongs more in a classic epic, like Gone With the Wind, or something.  Maybe, it’s that, compared with the rest of the cinematography, the backdrop/setting used is an easy, cheesy device.   Maybe it’s the fact that the chemistry between Craig Scheffer and Anne Bobby is minimal and this particular scene needs it to be strong.  In the theatrical version, the lack of chemistry as evident, as many of the relevant scenes that were added back into the director’s cut were those romantic scenes.  They’re going through the motions, but not making the audience feel the emotions.   As for the stronger changes in the ending, the slight change in the priest character was a far more intriguing twist.

I gave this film 3 1/2 gasses of blood red wine.  Although there are aspects of the film that are dated, it holds up surprisingly well.  CGI can’t improve the stunning make up, setting, and effects in this movie.

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