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The Dream Realized: Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut (1990/2011)

"Men or money? Whenever I cry it's usually men or money"

nce 1987, I have been a huge Clive Barker fan. I collected Coenobium (The Clive Barker fanzine), had all the books and even owned “Transmutations” and “Rawhead Rex”. So when I caught wind of Nightbreed, I was crazy excited. I saw it at a 9:00 showing on Hollywood Blvd. It might have been the Egyptian but I’m not sure (it was a long time ago). I enjoyed the film but immediately noticed scenes that were misng that were featured in Fangoria Magazine.

Soon I learned the truth; the studio had heavily edited the film and had done some reshoots as well. They sold it as a slasher film with a great poster and weak TV spots. The film all but failed and Clive Barker was dilluoned with Hollywood. However, slowly the film began to build the following, thanks in part, to the excellent epic comic book series.We all knew that there was an extended cut of Nightbreed to be seen, the question was when and where. This past Sunday, we got the answer. The 2 1/2 hour cut of Nightbreed was screened at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood, featuring a vit from Clive Barker and actor Craig Scheffer.

For the uninitiated, Nightbreed tells the story of Aaron Boone, a young man with a troubled past who is desperately trying to put his life together. He's fallen in love with Lori, a young nger who thinks the world of him, and vice versa. He swears he would never leave her and she does the same. Boone also has an odd relationship with Dr. Philip Decker, a local psychiatrist. Dr. Decker seems as if he is a jealous rival of Loris’, the prize being Boone’s soul. When the police bring Dr. Decker a stack of crime scene photos, he points them in Boone's direction, setting off a chain of events that would lead to the on earthing of Midian, a refuge for the tribes of the Moon, immortals, shape shifters and other various creatures of the night. Boone and Decker's true selves are revealed with Lori and the tribes of Midian caught in the middle.

The story, in a way, is told from Lori's point of view. It's her journey to be with the man she loves at all costs. She is lied to, manipulated, and attacked, yet she stops at nothing to find the truth. We take this journey with her, discovering, as she does, how evil the "good guys" truly can be.

The veron of the film shown was rough, obviously, having been cut together from Various VHS sources, but is a truly beautiful thing to behold. This veron dubbed the Cabal cut, runs about an hour longer and is truly the work of its creator. More twisted, more psychological, and more sexual, The Cabal Cut is what Nightbreed was supposed to be.

We now see that Boone works in Welding, where he is vited by Lori, on her way to rehearsals. There's a nice scene of Boone and Lori in her dresng room followed by Lori on stage nging the song, “Angry Johnny”. Boone burns his journal pages, and has a drug fueled sexual vion of him and Lori. There is a deeper understanding of Decker and his strange psychos as well as much more breed. The police inspector, Albright, is really fleshed out and given a soul of his own. I will not spoil the ending for those who haven't seen it, but is completely different, and true to the source material.

If you are a fan of the film or the comic book series, this is what you've been waiting for. Mark Millar and company have done a fantastic job at reconstructing this lost gem. You could definitely feel the love in the room for Clive and for the film.

Craig Scheffer is very likable as Aaron Boone. We feel his pain and definitely get a sense that he's a good guy that had been dealt a bad hand. He comes off as a mple man looking for a mple life and having it escape him at every turn. We see more of Boone before his journey to Midian, and having a sense of his life we have a chance to mourn its pasng (in its traditional sense anyway).

Anne Bobby plays Lori with conviction. Her additional scenes really give her character a credibility and believability that was absent in the theatrical cut. I really like Lori now and understand why she would travel to hell and back for her man.

David Cronenberg is interesting as an actor. Dekker appears to have an almost fatherly relationship with Boone however he can turn on a dime, cold as ice. He performs his dialogue in a lyrical manner, and I have to say, I feel it really brings something to the character.

I also want to give a special shout out to Debora Weston, who plays Sheryl Ann. Lori meets her at a bar on her journey to Midian and she momentarily steals the show. She definitely leaves you wanting more.

And then there are the breed themselves. The creatures of the night who really just want to live in peace, whether that life last days, years, or centuries. They are led by an older man like creature called Lylesberg (played by Hellraiser's Doug Bradley). Their god, Baphomet, who is essentially a spirit encased in a stone likeness, built Midian to give them a safe refuge. Many of the breed are docile, a notable exception being Peloquin, a tough guy if ever there was one. There are also many children like Babette (Kim Robertson), who forms an intense psychic bond with Lori. There are all kinds of Breed and though we only glimpse many, their presence and personalities are embedded in the texture of the film.

If you've never seen Nightbreed before, I do recommend checking out the DVD. For a better enjoyment I recommend reading the book or the comic adaption, this will at least tide you over until the Cabal cut comes to your local theater are home video collection. In any case, it is a film worth fighting for. Clive Barker has given so much to us, the least we can do is stand by his de for this.
sinful Celluloid Wednesday 6/13/2012 at 03:52 AM | 93634