Nightbreed (1990)

nightbreed poster 1990 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Like the scope and size of the story

Too much going on

Movie Info

Movie Name: Nightbreed

Studio: Morgan Creek


Release Date(s): Morgan Creek

MPAA Rating: R

nightbreed boone kinski nicholas vince

So can I join your gang?

Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) finds himself a tortured spirit.  Thought his girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby) sees Aaron as a good man, his psychiatrist Dr. Philip K. Decker (David Cronenberg) tells Boone that his fears that Boone visions of murder and death is something darker.  Convinced that he is a murder, Boone seeks out a place called Midian where monsters dwell.  Boone’s evil impulses might not be entirely true and the real killer might be lurking closer.  When Boone finds himself among the monsters of Midian, Boone could discover that he will become a leader for the people of Midian as the threat to their way of life grows.

Written and directed by Clive Barker, Nightbreed is a horror fantasy movie.  The movie is an adaptation of Clive Barker’s 1988 novel Cabal and was a box office failure.  The movie gained a cult following and a re-release of both a Cabal Cut in 2009 and a Director’s Cut in 2014 helped restore the film to its original editing.

The idea of Nightbreed was always appealing to me.  I saw the movie, read Cabal, and read the Nightbreed comic book which adapted and then continued the storyline.  I can see a lot of faults in Nightbreed, but I liked what Clive Barker attempted in the film and story.

nightbreed killer david cronenberg mask

Who’s the man with a plan?

The movie feels like a Star Wars-esque type story but with horror and monsters.  Nightbreed feels bigger than this movie with tons of characters, different warring factions, the police, the serial killer, and the minister…far too many for the movie (especially when it was only an hour and a half).  Boone story could probably have carried the movie itself, but instead a whole mythology is set up, and it ends up almost like a cliffhanger.

The cast isn’t very good.  Craig Sheffer and Anne Bobby struggle at carrying the movie.  Much of the rest of the monsters are fun with Oliver Parker (Peloquin), Nicholas Vince (Kinski), Hugh Ross (Narcisse), Tony Bluto (Leroy Gomm), Simon Bamford (Ohnaka), and Christine McCorkindale (Shuna Sassi) having the bigger roles among the Nightbreed while Hellraiser vet Doug Bradley plays the Nightbreed lawgiver Dirk Lylesberg.  Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, and Malcolm Smith play the generic men trying to bring the Nightbreed down.  The scene stealer of the movie (and genuinely creepy in his acting) is director David Cronenberg who plays the killer Decker.

nightbreed david cronenberg craig sheffer

I don’t know you like that, Boone

The film is rich with creatures, but in many ways the creatures don’t make much sense.  The Nightbreed are monsters, but Boone can transform into a Nightbreed…but the other monsters don’t seem to be able to turn human (which indicates they born monsters).  You also add the Berserkers which live in the tunnels of Midian and you question if the Nightbreed were ever human (like Narcisse and Boone) or if all them were born from other Nightbreed.

Nightbreed is a quirky horror film that is more fun than horror.  While scenes involving Decker and his attacks are more traditional, the rest of the movie feels epic and larger than most horror films.  I wish that Nightbreed had been a bigger success when it was released simply to see if it would have continued like Barker’s more popular film series Hellraiser.  As mentioned, if you do have interest in seeing where the Nightbreed headed next, Marvel Comics released a twenty-five issue series under their Epic imprint that even had the Nightbreed facing Rawhead Rex and the Cenobites.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response