The masked family killer found in Nightbreed is played by no other than intellectual horror auteur David Cronenberg. Like Cronenberg’s own films, his performance in Nightbreed is calmly calculated, progressively unexpected, disturbing, and sexually conflicting. Cronenberg’s performance wasn’t wasted as it was on the Friday the 13th franchise sci-fi slasher shitfest Jason X. A film so horrible that it makes me wonder if David Cronenberg was having monetary problems forcing him to join that wasted cause.
Nightbreed features a virtual circus of monsters that have yet to appear in such vast number before it. This array of diverse monsters alone keep the film interesting enough for viewing. Mental case Boone decides it’s time to live amongst the monsters in Midian (located under a graveyard with striking architecture). Many scenes featured in the monster realm of Midian look to derive influence from Federico Fellini’s masterpiece Satyricon. Both films feature a variety of sequences briefly introducing interesting yet sometimes horrific individuals. These scenes are both surreal and in your face (as surrealism often is and should be).
The weak elements found in Nightbreed are the result of poor editing and film construction. Clive Barker fell victim to the lack of faith 20th Century Fox had in the film. Barker was disappointed in final cut of Nightbreed and has recently promised a new cut with 25 more minutes of extra footage. I just hope the extra footage adds to the film unlike the director’s cut of David Lynch’s Dune.
Despite it’s shortcomings, Nightbreed is a very enjoyable film that is very unique. One can only wonder the cinematic accomplishments the film could have made if it had a larger budget and greater support from 20th century fox. Studio systems have a vast and evil history of limiting film directors creative potential in the production of films. I just don’t get what makes some lardo, cigar smoking degenerate think that he knows more about what the audience wants to see than the artist. The masses don’t just enjoy films that cater to the lowest common denominator. They will support and follow great art if actually exposed to it.