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Nightbreed / quad / UK

22.02.17

Poster Poster
Title
Nightbreed
AKA
Cabal (France, Italy)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Clive Barker
Starring
Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The masters of the macabre join forces... with the Nightbreed

This is the UK quad for the original release of ace British writer/director Clive Barker‘s 1990 film Nightbreed. Based on Barker’s own 1988 novel Cabal, which was the sixth and final entry in his celebrated series ‘Books of Blood‘, the film was notoriously a flop upon its original release. The director has been candid in the years following its release and maintains that studio interference and a lack of understanding of how to market the film ultimately hampered its release. Having scored a hit with Hellraiser (1986) on a budget of just under $1m, 20th Century Fox gave Barker over 10 times that for Nightbreed, but with it they took away the freedom he had on the previous film. Ultimately the studio made extensive cuts to the film just before release without Barker’s input and marketed it as a slasher film, which was far from accurate.

The story focuses on a man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) who has been having vivid dreams about a city called Midian where monsters are accepted and live peacefully with each other. We learn that his girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby) has encouraged him to see a psychologist named Dr. Phillip Decker (the cult Canadian director David Cronenberg). Decker tells Boone that he’s been suffering from a type of psychosis, is responsible for multiple murders and that he should turn himself into the police. In reality, it’s Decker who is a serial killer and he’s attempting to use Boone as a shill to cover his crimes. After being hit by a truck on his way home, Boone wakes in hospital where he meets a man named Narcisse who talks about accessing Midian before mutilating himself with a pair of blades. 

Boone follows Narcisse’s instructions and makes his way to an old cemetery in the middle of nowhere (the film is set in Canada). Once there he is confronted by a pair of monsters, Peloquin (Oliver Parker) and Kinski (Nicholas Vince), who block his request to enter Midian. Peloquin attempts to eat Boone, biting his shoulder before the latter breaks free and escapes the cemetery. Outside he is confronted by Decker and a squad of police officers and when Decker falsely shouts that Boone has a gun, he is gunned down by the squad. After Lori visits the morgue to identify Boone’s body, the bite given by Peloquin causes him to reanimate. He returns to Midian where he meets a whole host of monsters who call the city home. This time he is accepted into the city after being touched by the blood of their deity Baphomet. Meanwhile, Lori wants to understand why Boone traveled to Midian. She is eventually allowed into the city and discovers that it is a refuge for monsters after centuries of them being hunted to near extinction by humans. Unfortunately Decker has tracked her down and he plans to destroy the city and the monsters within.

One of the things that the studio struggled with is that the monsters are ultimately depicted as being the ‘good guys’ and this was obviously something of a departure from standard horror film tropes. The film has incredible production design and make-up effects, particularly the look of the various monsters in Midian. Despite critical and commercial failure in 1990, Nightbreed quickly garnered a cult following and for many years fans had been calling for the release of the longer cut that Barker had promised existed. An unofficial ‘Cabal cut’ was compiled using VHS-quality material a few years ago but in 2015 the original film elements were found and a special director’s cut released by the American video label Scream Factory, much to the delight of horror fans around the world.

This British quad differs greatly from the disappointing American one sheet and includes several photographs of the Nightbreed and is dominated by an image of David Cronenberg. The minor spoiler (for those that were yet to view the film) that he is the masked killer obviously didn’t bother the distributors! The tagline also makes a deal of the fact that Cronenberg and Barker were working together, perhaps understandably.