Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Nightbreed (1990, Clive Barker)

A good way to tell if you are in a horror movie is that David Cronenberg is your psychologist. Plus you are having recurring nightmares of murders and a place that is not found on any map. If you also encounter a strange man who ends up carving off his own flesh and speaks of a mystical place known as Midian, the very place you have been searching for, well you are most likely in a horror movie. Clive Barker created a cult film in Nightbreed, a twisted yet oddly captivating and moving fantasy horror movie about a man’s search for a place to call home.

Boone is the name of that young man, troubled because he is being framed for crimes he has never committed. Midian happens to be something truly else, a community that is almost out of this world. Only Barker, the creator of so many gruesome and yet intriguing films and books could give birth to something as inspired and fascinating as this film. Lucky for me Netflix had the director’s cut which was released by Scream Factory, and thus I was able to witness Barker’s vision as intended. Studios never care about the artist and what they are trying to accomplish.


Even after I saw this film I still was not sure what the creatures of Midian were, and I’m not sure if they were really good or not. Compared to a twisted mask wearing serial killer, rednecks and corrupt local law enforcement the beings of Midian are saints. Also its too bad that Craig Sheffer never became a big star, as he’s great in this movie as Boone. Matching him rather well is Anne Bobby as Lori Winston, his girlfriend, who does not understand what is going on with Boone and searches for him despite it clearly not being a good idea. Cronenberg manages to be rather creepy as Boone’s psychologist, Dr. Decker-although I cannot say more about what occurs-and he really should have been in more movies, as he is that rare director who can act.

I also liked how the film uses so many different creature effects, and of course Doug Bradley, who famously played Pinhead, makes an appearance in this movie. I also prefer the alternative ending, which is the one that is used for the Netflix copy of this film since it is the director’s cut. I know of the original ending and it sounds weaker by comparison. Although just like Hellraiser this film falls short of greatness, I still think of both films rather highly and I have so far enjoyed Barker as a director. Its worth noting that both Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions were both meant to be franchises, and yet it was Hellraiser that ended up being the series, for better or for worse.

Horrorfest 2013 Presents: Hellraiser (1987, Clive Barker)

Pinhead and his minions have such things to show you. Oh yes they do-pain and pleasure, violence and hate. Love is not involved and tears are a waste of good suffering. Open the puzzle box and enter their world at your own peril. For they may tear your flesh and soul apart. This is not one of the goriest movies I’ve ever seen but it digs under your skin like a parasite.

I was mentally exhausted from my first time viewing of Hellraiser. The film is gross and disturbing even before the main villains reappear to destroy lives. Despite some clearly dated FX this is still a really gruesome movie that plays its material straight. If anything it has more in common with nasty 70s and 60s horror than the mostly goofy and fun horror films of the 80s.

Oh and I did pick up on the obvious sadism and sexual references littered throughout the movie. You have human and literal monsters, graphic sex scenes and mentions of sex and creatures offering the ultimate experience. Few movies are quite like this one and there have been few movies like this one since. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.

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