Nightbreed (1990)

Clive Barker directs Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby and David Cronenberg in this horror fantasy where a troubled young man, his girlfriend and a serial killer are drawn to a community of monsters living underneath a remote cemetery.

The 18 certificate unofficial X-Men movie you’ve never seen! I remember renting this and absolutely loving it. I was still figuring out if horror was for me and Nightbreed gave you all the gore and outlandish make-up FX I was cautious of but curious about. Maybe what worked for me then was it kept the real villains human. Infamous now for being butchered by the studio and ridiculously misold by an uncaring marketing team, I discovered Nightbreed organically and it has lived in my memory for three decades as an overlooked romp. This revisit with Natalie, we watched the director’s cut on Arrow blu-Ray and I don’t really think it is an improvement rather than an expansion. The first act is still jerky and disjointed… smooth storytelling and the patience to focus on one protagonist have never been Barker’s strengths. There are points in the journey where we linger way too long on certain superfluous information while other parts of the narrative leap bounds with merely a subliminal shot or a half mentioned swathe of lore to justify them. I’ll put these confusing lurches in pace down to executive interference. Scars of a troubled production. But if you’ve come for creature FX and committed mythology then Nightbreed truly delivers. The underground Midian sequences are monster mashes of a scale never achieved outside of Star Wars. And these monsters, though sympathetic, are still dangerous and threatening. It is better to let the random nastiness and elaborate carnage wash over you like a dream. Possibly casting a recognisable movie star in any of the three lead roles really would have opened this up to a wider audience. Though I’d definitely keep Anne Bobby and Cronenberg as both make an impact with their alternative takes on stock characters. Great stuff.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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