#31in31 – Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut

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Oct 25 Nightbreed“What’s below, remains below.”

Story: A guy picked the wrong shrink to tell his troubles to. Before you know it  guy is dead…but he’d been to see the monsters of Midian. Now he’s one of the Nightbreed. But his killer is still out there…

Scares: A few, mostly thanks to the button-eyed killer.

Splat factor: A little, because there’s a serial killer in the mix.  Oh, and the climax.  Bloody action-tastic.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Nup.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Movie version of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood novella “Cabal”.

Trick or Treat?: Barker’s look at outsiders banding together to form their own family has been re-cut from its original studio driven mess. And it’s definitely a wild, groovy ride. Shades LGBT folks of hiding from society? Most definitely, right down to the freaked out priest spouting Armageddon. Barker chose to focus on the Breed in this film, rather than Boone, the guy who leads the novella’s narrative. And the look at Midian feels like a special effects Wonderland. But the story here is still a jangled mess. It’s a parade of cool creatures, with nothing much holding the story together beyond Boone being chased by his shrink/the serial killer (SURPRISE! Oh stop, this movie came out in 1990.)

Speaking of, Cronenberg plays Dr. Decker as batshit from the get-go. Like Nicholson’s Jack Torrence, you know right away that I guy is crazypants. But damn if that button eyed mask ain’t effective.

The ending feels tailor made to tug at heartstrings as the po-po and the monsters battle, and the priest literally ripping his collar as he sees the senseless murders feels heavy-handed. And don’t get me started on Boone’s girlfriend, who’s a little too attached.  Still, I couldn’t look away.

Nightbreed is a unique change of pace from slashers if you’re doing a retro horror marathon. If you like cool creatures and don’t mind much in the way of character development or story coherence? Dive in.

Score: 3 out of 5 pumpkins.
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