Plot: What’s it about?
Boone (Craig Sheffer) is having strange dreams of creatures in a place called Midian. He has been talking about his dreams to his psychiatrist Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg) and his girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby). Boone has had other dreams which involved murder. Meanwhile a family in the suburbs is slaughtered by a masked killer. Boone believes that he is responsible for the killings, a guilt reinforced by Decker who gives him a pill that is supposed to help him but really is a hallucinogen. Boone collapses on the street and ends up in an insane asylum and meets a person who also has dreams about Midian. He finds out from the man where it is and he disfigures his face. Boone escapes after the doctors come in and think that he did that to the man’s face and goes to Midian which is a cemetery. There he runs into a couple of the creatures from his dreams and is bitten by one of them in the shoulder. Decker is able to get information from the man who disfigured his face back at the hospital. Decker and the police find Boone at Midian where he is then shot and killed. At the morgue, Boone is resurrected because of the bite on his shoulder. This leads him back to Midian which he discovers is an underworld beneath the cemetery where the monsters and freaks live. This leads to Lori going out there to find him as well as Decker and the police.
“Nightbreed” was directed by Clive Barker and based on his novel “Cabal.” The original version of “Nightbreed” was supposedly 126 minutes but was cut to 101 minutes by the studio due to the length and graphic gore. After seeing the 101 minute version on DVD it feels like the extra footage needs to be in the movie including the gore. I feel that you didn’t really get to know about the creatures. You never get a sense of why the characters do what they do and how they got to be what they are which is pretty much about every character. I think that the original version probably shedded light on these questions. I heard that the longer version might come out on DVD next year which would be great. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy this shorter version. In fact I found it entertaining but feel that the extra footage could make it much better. I liked the cast and thought the action and special effects were good but this needed more characterization and story.
Other films directed by Barker include “Hellraiser,” “Lord Of Illusions,” and the short films “The Forbidden” and “Salome.” Craig Sheffer has appeared in “That Was Then, This Is Now,” “The Program,” and “Hellraiser: Inferno.” Anne Bobby has appeared in “Born On The 4th Of July.”And finally David Cronenberg is going to be in “Jason X” but is also the director of such fine films as “Scanners,” “Videodrome,” “The Dead Zone,” Existenz,” and others.
Video: How does it look?
“Nightbreed” is presented in its 1.85.1 aspect ratio and is 16×9 enhanced. There is some grain in several nighttime and darker scenes but besides this looks good and there doesn’t appear to be any color bleeding and black levels look all right. A decent transfer but not the best.
Audio: How does it sound?
For audio there is a 5.1 surround track and a 2.0 surround track. The 5.1 track sounds good but not as good as a track on a newer movie. There is good balance between the dialogue in the center channel and the music/sound effects in the front right and left speakers. There is also music and other effects coming out of the two rear speakers including gunfire and the subwoofer getting some use but is not as explosive as a newer movie. Again this is a good audio track but not great.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Not much in terms of extras. A theatrical and cast biographies which just list the movies and nothing else. Hopefully that longer version of “Nightbreed” will get released and have a Clive Barker commentary track and other goodies. Lets keep our fingers crossed. At around $14.99 at Best Buy and other online retailers this isn’t a bad price but serious fans of the movie might want to stick it out longer and see if the director’s cut is going to get released next year.