Articles from the Boston Compass, Film, Psychotronic Movies in our Zone

NIGHTBREED (1990) dir. Clive Barker

5/[email protected] // Psychotronic Movies In Our Zone


Psychotronic Movies In Our Zone
Originally appeared in the May 15′ edition of the Boston Compass

As the Brattle website states, 1990 was a weird year for movies. One of the lasting pieces of evidence in support of this statement is Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, a film whose cult has continued to grow over the years with several different versions of the film making the rounds, finally culminating in a director’s cut released on blu-ray last year.

I’ve always had problems with Clive Barker’s films (I’ve never read his books). The twisted darkness of many of his premises rarely hits the mark on screen. Hellraiser is the most well-known example of the filmic thinness of Barker’s on-screen horror, but I feel as if similar issues also effect Nightbreed. This is a weird movie. I don’t even really know that I like it, but that doesn’t mean that seeing it projected on 35mm at 11:30PM on a Saturday night at the Brattle is a bad idea (it’s not). This one does not screen often folks.

Lots of weird, well-crafted monster types inhabit Midian, the film’s underworld. Our anti-hero, Boone, is convinced by his psychoanalyst (David Cronenberg (!), stiffly) that he is a serial killer, then dosed with LSD, and finally he is off to hang out with the monster people under the cemetery. He finds family amongst Midian’s bizarre denizens (echos of our BRAIN Arts Org my friends) and eventually leads them into battle against militarized norms who just don’t get it!

This flick is good midnite movie fare worth checking back in on (especially for Cronenberg’s character’s mask), and drinking a beer with, despite its flaws. A Nightbreed video game was produced for the Commodore 64.

dir. Clive Barker
92 min.

Part of the ongoing series: Reel Weird Brattle: 25 Years Weird
Saturday, 5/30, 11:30 PM, Brattle Theatre (Click here for tickets & screening info)

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