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Nightbreed (1990)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
Director:
Clive Barker Clive Barker
Starring:
Craig Sheffer Craig Sheffer
Anne Bobby Anne Bobby
David Cronenberg David Cronenberg
Charles Haid Charles Haid
Hugh Quarshie Hugh Quarshie

6.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Creature Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: September 07, 2004
Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) is plagued by dreams about monsters and a place called Midian, so he starts going to a psychologist by the name of Dr. Philip Decker (David Cronenberg). Boone tells Decker about his dreams of monsters and murders, but when some real-life murders start occurring that are exactly the same as those than Boone was describing, Decker gives Boone some sort of medication and sends him on his way. Boone gets quite fucked up on this medicine and attempts suicide, but fails in his attempts. He winds up in the hospital, where he's told that he had been given hallucinogens, presumedly by Decker. While in the hospital, Boone meets up with Narcisse (Hugh Ross), an insane guy who rambles on and on about this Midian place. Boone asks some questions, and Narcisse reveals the location of Midian to him; it's beneath a graveyard out in the country. Meanwhile, the cops come into the hospital looking for Boone, as Decker has turned him in for the murders. Boone hauls ass out to Midian, and meets up with a few of the residents there. Kinski (Nicholas Vince), a normal enough guy except for the fact that his head is shaped like a crescent-moon, and Peloquin (Oliver Parker), a vampiric demon with dreadlocks. Peloquin bites Boone on the shoulder, and they then chase him out of the cemetery, right into the waiting police force. Boone is shot down and killed by the coppers, but he ends up coming back to life as a Nightbreed due to the bite from Peloquin, and returns to Midian to live with them. When he realizes that Decker framed him for the murders and is attempting to destroy this Midian place, a war begins...

Before watching this movie a few hours ago, I remembered watching this as a kid and having very fond memories of it. I was hoping that rewatching it wouldn't be reveal another case of me having bad taste back then, and it most certainly did not. Some of the effects aren't as great as I remember them being (Narcisse in the hospital as a prime example), though they certainly weren't bad either. The storyline flows along flawlessly, with every scene leading into the next bit of the storyline or twist and keeping things entertaining throughout. There's no padding to be found here, and things really don't slow down until the credits start to roll. Also, there's a good deal of social commentary to be found here, dealing with mans tendency to be prejudiced and cruel to those who are different; remember the Holocaust? With this in mind, the "monsters" here are portrayed as the good guys, and the humans are the villains. That was definitely a change from the norm, and it worked out nicely here.

The acting here was much better than one would expect. There's a number of routine roles to be found, but the actors handling these roles make them work out. Craig Sheffer handles the main role of Boone, a biker-looking tough-guy. While the role has been done to death, Craig did handle it well and bring enough uniqueness to the part to keep it entertaining. Hugh Ross plays the comedic-relief role of Narcisse, and while I usually find these types of characters to be annoying and unnecessary, Hugh made it work out here with a great performance. It certainly didn't hurt that he wasn't shoved down our throats in every other scene, either. Director David Cronenberg does a decent enough role as the insane psychologist Decker, though he does tend to do a bit of overacting in some parts... nothing too ungodly bad, however. Doug Bradley (Hellraiser) has a small role as Dirk Lylesberg, the leader of Midian, and does great in his scenes as usual. How can the leader of the monsters be considered a small role, you may ask? Well, he certainly did have some important scenes, but the quantity of these was surprisingly low. A bit of a shame, really. All of the monster-cast do decent enough in their roles, typical of what you'd expect a sympathetic sort of demon to be. The highlights, however, would be Oliver Parker (Peloquin) and Catherine Chevalier (Rachel). Oliver Parker makes Peloquin into quite the excellent part of the movie, bringing in some nice energy and life to the character while being careful to not over-do it in the process, while Catherine Chevalier does the same with the Rachel character. This results in some classic lines and scenes from both, and makes the movie that much better.

Overall, the movie was pretty damned entertaining, and another job well done from Clive Barker. I've not read the book of his that this movie was based on ("Cabal"), but the movie itself was quite entertaining. 8/10.
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. #1: . - added 09/13/2005, 08:57 PM
Fucking awesome.
Dametria #2: Dametria - added 04/24/2007, 12:19 PM
One of the stranger movies Ive watched but pretty spiffy none the less
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