The story of Clive Barker’s fabled 1990 film Nightbreed is one of monsters and madness, both on and off screen. The follow-up to Barker’s groundbreaking directorial debut feature Hellraiser, Nightbreed (based on Barker’s novel Cabal) suffered the misfortune of having a short-sighted studio seize control from Barker and make drastic cuts that left his vision — of a troubled young man (played by Craig Sheffer) seeking safe haven in the creature-filled realm of Midian — butchered, its cut footage lost for all time. Or so Barker believed. As it turns out, years later the fan group Occupy Midian worked tirelessly to retrieve the excised footage from numerous sources. The fruit of their labor, Nightbreed: The Directors Cut, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD by Scream Factory on October 28th, just in time for Halloween.
“This is film history and beyond my wildest dreams of realization,” says Barker in a statement released through the horror specialty label. “When Scream Factory told me that they found the Nightbreed film footage I was gob-smacked! This is the ultimate validation of choices made by myself and Mark Miller [of Seraphim Films] all the way back in 2008.” The writer-director adds that “There’s never been a reconstruction that’s had as little chance of succeeding and yet has succeeded on as many fronts as this film has. It’s unprecedented.”
Excitement for Nightbreed isn’t contained to only longtime Barker devotees — Scream Factory notes that its production company Morgan Creek “is actively developing a television series based on this film.”
The two versions of Nightbreed that will be released by Scream Factory are the Limited Edition Set (of which there will be five thousand) — featuring both the unrated Director’s Cut and the R-rated original theatrical release as well as an exclusive bonus disc full of extras, retailing for $79.97 — and the Special Edition Set, featuring the unrated Director’s Cut on both Blu-ray and DVD and retailing for $29.93. The cover art for both sets can be seen below.
Having seen the work-in-progress “Cabal Cut” of Barker’s Nightbreed that he introduced at a special Halloween screening last year at LA’s Egyptian Theater, I can testify that it is indeed a worthwhile journey into the horror legend’s fertile imagination, made all the more memorable by a first-rate Danny Elfman score and filmmaker David Cronenberg in a terrifically bizarro supporting role. Miss it not!