NightBreed has a strange and fantastic journey. Was there ever a more enduring fanbase for a short story that got turned into a movie that flopped at the box office and got disavowed by its author? One that percolated for 20 years accumulating a committed, nailed down fanbase that wanted it to reach a higher potential and a more faithful edit to its original concept.
Barker had always complained that the studio just fucking did not get what made Nightbreed amazing, and that they had tried to edit and market it as a traditional slasher film, but with monsters.
They had filmed the entire story as conceived, but the edits gave a different ending, and immensely cheapened the meaning of the original story. Although apparently enough to generate a very affectionate and enthusiastic fan base.
in 2014, twenty four years after theatrical release, Barker was finally able to release a significantly different version of the film–using the hours of cut footage and storyline that had never been seen as a director’s cut that was closer to the original story line.
Last year we learned that the traditional rebirthing cauldron for old SF —the ‘reimagined concept’ television series—was cooking up a Clive Barker approved, Morgan Creek produced, SYFY hosted Nightbreed Series. One that Barker said in January of this year was ‘coming together’,
Which is quite a story for a minor film with a major following.
Along the way, things got a little wacky—in a super good, THE FANS WIN, kind of way: Let us refer to wikipedia here for the step by step:
“In 2009, Mark Miller, co-head of Barker’s production company, Seraphim Films, helped track down the missing footage that was cut out of the director’s cut of Nightbreed.
Miller discovered, after talking to a production executive at the studio, that the footage was never actually lost but readily accessible. When asked, a studio executive said that there was not a big enough audience to warrant the studio spending money on a new, extended cut of the film.
A VHS copy of Barker’s 145-minute version of the film’s mid-1989 workprint was discovered.
An extended 159-minute cut version, from another VHS found in July 2009, was premiered on March 27, 2010 as part of the HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis.
This new version added almost a whole hour that was cut from the theatrical release, including a musical score and more animation. In an interview, Barker said that he hopes to bring back Danny Elfman “and give us just a little bit of extra music for it.”
In early 2012, Russell Cherrington, a senior lecturer in film and video production at the University of Derby, created a composite cut of the film using the footage found on both VHS tapes as well as a DVD then recently released by Warner Archive Collection,. This version is the most complete version of Barker’s film available and has been dubbed The Cabal Cut. The cut runs 155 minutes long and was shown at that year’s “Mad Monster Party” in North Carolina with actors Craig Sheffer and Anne Bobby attending.
The “Mad Monster Party” projection of the Cabal Cut led to a renewal of interest among fans, especially on the Internet.
A new petition was created and social networks were used to raise awareness for the extended cut and to encourage producers to release it. This would be colloquially known as “Occupy Midian”, a term coined by actress Anne Bobby.
Which brings us to this newest, more awesomest director’s cut. a three hour version of the original 102 minute film.
Following the announcement of Nightbreed: The Ultimate Cabal Cut a few weeks ago, images have been shared on the film’s official Twitter page and a trailer has dropped!
Nightbreed follows Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), a troubled man who is haunted by terrifying nightmares of a subterranean city of monsters. He frequently visits a psychiatrist, Dr. Philip K. Decker (David Cronenberg), for help. What Boone doesn’t know is that Decker is really a masked serial killer. Decker frames Boone to take the blame for his murders and soon after Boone is killed by the police. He is brought back to life by the monsters of his dreams, known as the Nightbreed, who join Boone to stop Decker from killing again.
Check out the teaser below—Its pretty awful as teasers go, but fans will enjoy the flashes of their favorite characters in never before seen footage.