Clive Barker’s brand of horror is hard to define. Falling somewhere between the popularpulp of Stephen King and the more erudite terrors of Peter Straub, it is mainly Barker’s short stories and novelettes which have made their way to the big screen, with varying degrees of success.

Nightbreed (1990) follows Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), a troubled young man hauntedby vivid dreams of a strange graveyard city inhabited by legions of freakish half human creatures. Despite the concerns of his girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby) and psychiatrist Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg), Aaron feels increasingly drawn to try and find the graveyard and its inhabitants for real, with devastating results for all involved.

Where as the original Hellraiser (1987) is still chilling and has stood the test of time due in main to its otherworldly dimension, the monster flick Nightbreed unfortunately lacks any real bite. Despite some standout gore, atmospheric scenery (particularly the pan shots of the country highways that lead to the creatures abandoned graveyard refuge of Midian) and a characteristically broody performance from Cronenberg, the film’s overall feel is too heavily imbued with an early 90’s aura to hold interest as anything other than a period curiosity. This new edition, Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut—in which the original film is spliced with recent newly discovered footage—makes for a pleasant diversion, though is unlikely to be of any lasting significance to those outside the film’s diehard fan-set.

By Cleaver Patterson

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