It's got everything from Danny Elfman's music to Cronenberg himself as the main villain, it has interesting costume designs as well, so why does it fail? I think this movie was lost in adaptation, I feel that the cabal's lore has some interesting concepts that can be explored more in depth reading the comics.
Still style and content over storytelling, since it’s Barker, but it certainly makes up for this lack. Nightbreed is a creatively alight dark-fantasy/horror hybrid. Barker sharpens his tone and visual eye that felt appropriately murky, dank, and a bit awkward in his debut, Hellraiser. The film’s canvas is fantastically striking and the film is surging with ravishing visions and unfettered creative wit.
Fascinatingly misguided - plays like a butchered Wikipedia entry of The Iliad, read after drinking ayahuasca. There are so many clearly great ideas and threads whispered and abandoned (a Luciferian hero's journey? allllllllrighty then!). Cronenberg is a blast. If this is ever remade as a limited series on Premium Cable, then I think we'll have something.
At times over-stuffed and banal with simplicity of motivations but it manages to accomplish allegorical prophecy of struggle between life and death through a religious, political and ideological tokens. Creative make-up and set design are placing it into elite of B movies while David Cronenberg steals the show and channels a future blueprint for Cillian Murphy's dr. Jonathan Crane.
AKA " Audrey Horne goes to Hell" I'm convinced on first viewing that this is Barker's true artistic thought made flesh. A fully realized live action comic book without a dull moment and truly deserving of cult status. David Cronenberg was a worthy villian when he has his mask.
Didn't particularly like the book, but the visuals of the film made it more interesting. There's a slightly tired look to the special effects, and apparently I'm not the only one who sees a connection to Jim Henson and especially Labyrinth. It's not an entirely good thing, when the story was originally a lot gorier, and here it's more tame and sluggish. Cronenberg makes me happy, though.
I've rated a half star more than I wanted, but Nightbreed is a formative film for me and it is one I find difficult not to be subjective about. As a teenager the reversal of the other was significant, and the sheer volume of monster types exciting. Magnificent soundtrack. But the narrative is a pie fight and general cheese, thick. Still very connected to this film, however, and I watch it every couple of years.
2014 remastered Director's Cut. After 24 years the infamous 'Cabal' cut is available in all its' glory. Expanded and recut the film certainly makes more sense story wise but perhaps the brevity of the studio cut worked in its favour. Cronenberg and Haid are both dynamite but both roles seemed stronger in the shorter cut and the final shot of the studio version was also more powerful than the conclusion here.