Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NIGHTBREED - THE CABAL CUT


So...NIGHTBREED - THE CABAL CUT came rolling into town last weekend and we got a chance to soak it all in before Morgan Creek ever decides to give it its proper Blu-ray release. How was it? Let us discuss...shall we?

Before I go on with our little in-depth review of this definitive version of one of Clive Barker's best moments in his all-too-brief cinematic career, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our newest Film Deviant staff member. The lovely Jessica Moreno is a horror film psychopath. She has watched a ton of horror films in her young life and probably knows more than the most astute horror fan. I dragged her along with me for the midnight showing at Chicago's historic Portage Theater and what follows is a sort of discussion review of the good and the bad that this "Cabal Cut" had to offer.

There won't be any of our usual "bloodshot film score" this time around...because I just didn't think it would be fair to score a film that is basically still in editing progress (Russell Cherrington, the man responsible for this version, was on hand to tell us how the film gets edited every time before an actual showing). However, Jess and I dig deep into this new version of a film that basically helped shape our love for the genre. Be warned, though...this discussion review is filled with spoilers that would only effect you if you've never seen the original Nightbreed. But, then again...if you've never seen the original Nightbreed...I honestly don't know what the hell you are doing here. Seriously...stop reading this and go get yourself an old VHS copy of the film and watch the hell out of it. Then, meet us back here for our little discussion review. 'K...glad we had that talk.

For all others...please enjoy...



BRYAN: I remember watching Nightbreed  when it first came out in theaters over 20 years ago (fuck, I'm old!). Now, I realize you're a bit younger than me...but, did the (original) film have the same awesome impact on you when you first watched it?

JESS: Well, I saw the original Nightbreed  in, like, 2003...so yes, Bryan, you are old :) ...I was 13 and had no idea such great horror movies even existed. I was really "finding" myself so it was one of the films that really made me find my love for the genre. The first time I actually saw the film was just magical. I have a huge imagination and my favorite book was Where the Wild Things Are, so you can just imagine my fascination with monsters and different worlds. Things that exist beyond us humans are always just so intriguing to me . So it just fit perfectly. My favorite thing about Nightbreed  is obviously the "monsters" and the fact that they weren't really the horrible kind. They were compassionate in a way. This movie wasn't really the stereotypical horror film. And I say that because, as you should know, they are actually the "good guys". So i liked how Clive made it apparent to everyone how easy it is to kind of unleash the evil within humans (if that makes sense).


BRYAN: Oh my God...I didn't know that Where the Wild Things Are is your favorite book...I love that book! That's rad! I like that you watched the film around the same age as I did because the story really appealed to me more at that particular age as I was really coming into my own within the genre.

Anyway...we just got done watching this really long version of Barker's classic. What did you think? What are some of your first impressions?

JESS: Well, it was very interesting to watch the film in its original intended form. But I personally love the theatrical version. The theatrical version did bounce around a lot and was confusing to some so it was nice to get a little more insight on some things. Like the scene where Boone gets hit by the semi. In the original, it kinda seemed like he had barely left the doctor's office and instantly got hit. But, in the Cabal Cut  you see him taking the pills and wandering around. So you're basically getting a more informative version on the film. Which is good to some but, for my taste, it was a bit too long and it took forever (emphasize the forever) to get to the good stuff.

BRYAN: I totally agree about the "Cabal Cut" being way too long. I mean, as you said, it did have a lot of material that made much more sense. And it would be really cool to have a version of this film cleaned up and trimmed to show the really important stuff. I feel like there's a perfect version of Nightbreed  hidden in all the unnecessary stuff. Speaking of the good stuff...how awesome was it to see Peloquin on the big screen again?


JESS: Well...Bryan, I've never seen him on a big screen before :) haha so, for my first time experiencing it in a theater, it was pretty amazing! The first encounter Boone has with him still brought chills to my spine.

BRYAN: Hah! You're so mean! Totally gave me chills, too! Would you say that Peloquin is your favorite from the film? I remember I had a crush on Rachel (the naked smoke girl) for obvious reasons. I liked all the added scenes with Narcisse. More Narcisse!

JESS: Peloquin is badass! Of course you're a fan of Rachel (typical guy lol). Narcisse is awesome...buuuuut my favorite from the entire film has to be Dr. Decker. Dude, he was inconspicuous! I mean the guy was a damn psychotherapist and, ironically, he's a serial killer! Nobody would ever suspect him. And how genius is it that he made Boone believe he actually committed the murders?! He was a guy with a purpose and that's why I like him so much.


And.......the wicked iconic mask!!! That mask haunted me for many nights! It also reminded me of Scarecrow's mask from Batman, which was an added bonus due to my love of comic books!

BRYAN: Oh my God...Decker is fuckin badass! I've always thought that Cronenberg should've done more acting in the genre. His portrayal of Decker is perfect and goes down as one of the more iconic serial killers in horror film.

I think Decker's mask is one of the most underrated horror movie masks in the history of horror cinema! It's the perfect blend of simplistic creepy evil. The introductory scene where he kills that family is shot so flawlessly. That one shot where he's looking up at the little boy from the bottom of the stairs haunted me for years. Fucking amazing!

So, now that we've discussed the good stuff...we must delve into the bad stuff.
 
 
JESS: Hmmm the "porno quality" (Russell Cherrington referred to the rough quality of the restored footage as a porno VHS that's been recorded over several times) of the added scenes was very distracting. So, with that said, this cut does run about 40-50 minutes longer than the original. So, you're really in for some waiting time before Boone actually goes to Midian. Which also means that there's a longer wait for that awesome "cop vs monster" mini war that goes on later. Although it is great to see the film back to its original intended form, this version just drags out the film and in my opinion loses the audience's attention/ interest (at least for my attention span). But, I will say this...If the quality of the added footage was clear and in sync with the rest of the film's scenes it would have been much better and I might have stayed a bit more interested.

BRYAN: You know...if someone ever turned this into a TV show...I think I'd be super stoked! However, as an almost 3 hour film with stretches of unimportant material in super poor quality, it just felt tedious. Especially that whole battle scene towards the end. It was hard to see what was going on and who was doing what. I did appreciate this version's ending, though. Very faithful to the book.

JESS: The last battle scene was ridiculously confusing! And as for the ending, I liked it. But...I've never read the book so, I wouldn't be able to compare it.

So, in all, its not the best quality and it does take forever to get to the good stuff but it's pretty cool to see the original uncut version of the film!

BRYAN: Agreed! Now...go read Cabal!




VERDICT: For purists of Barker's original Nightbreed, this version is a must! It delves further into the mythos of Cabal and really ties together some key elements in the script. However, the casual horror fan may want to stick with the original cut version because it does tend to drag quite a bit. Russell Cherrington stated to us that Morgan Creek would only get involved if all these screenings of the Cabal Cut  raised enough money to foot the bill for a proper release of the film. He said that the goal is to release a deluxe Blu-ray of Nightbreed  by this time next year that would include the original theatrical cut of the film and a (hopefully) much smoother version of this Cabal Cut. If that ever happens...legions of Nightbreed fans will finally get the version that they've always yearned for...the most definitive cut of the film that Clive Barker originally intended.



Thanks for reading!




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