Nightbreed is an American horror film written and directed by British author Clive Barker. It is based on Barker's novella, Cabal, first published by Poseidon Press in 1988. The film was produced by Morgan Creek Productions and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. It premiered in the US on February 16th, 1990 in 1,488 theaters. The film was primarily shot in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with some scenes filmed at Pinewood Studios in England. The premise of the movie revolves around a tormented young man named Aaron Boone - a man consumed by dreams of violence and murder. Convinced that he is unconsciously responsible for the deaths of several people, Boone seeks refuge in a mythological subterranean city from his dreams - Midian; a city where all is forgiven. Boone's journey takes him beyond the small Canadian town of Shere Neck and into the dark territories dominated by the Nightbreed.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Aaron Boone is a young man plagued by dreams of a city called Midian, a place where monsters can go to be forgiven and accepted. As a means of coping with these recurring nightmares, and at the request of his girlfriend Lori Desinger, Boone is seeing psychotherapist Doctor Phillip K. Decker, who is in reality a serial killer. Donning a grotesque mask, Decker has been murdering families who he sees as disgusting "breeders". In their last session together, Decker attempts to pin the blame for his killing spree on Boone. Decker cites the fact that Boone has described the victims while he was under hypnosis as the key evidence. He gives Boone a bottle of Lithium and twenty four hours to turn himself in. Boone wanders the streets in a hallucinogenic haze, and is hit by a truck. He is taken to a hospital where the doctor informs him that he was under the effects of LSD and not Lithium. Boone realizes that Decker has set him up.

As he lies in his hospital bed, Boone overhears the drug addled cries of Narcisse, a denizen of Midian who is desperate to get back. He convinces the mentally unstable man to tell him how to get to Midian, but is horrified when Narcisse takes a pair of razors and begin to tear and pull the skin from his face, in order to show his "true form" as a Midian creature. Boone escapes the hospital just as Decker arrives with a team of police in tow. Upon losing Boone, Decker turns on Narcisse to interrogate him.

Boone makes his way to Midian, an entire city standing under a massive graveyard, and almost immediately runs afoul of the "Nightbreed", the supernatural creatures who inhabit the city. He is accosted by Kinski (Nicholas Vince) a man with a head shaped like the quarter moon, and Peloquin an angry, reptilian figure with snake-like dreadlocks. Boone's pleas that he is a murderer and hence belongs with the monsters fall on deaf ears, and when he asserts that he's killed fifteen people, Peloquin laughingly assures him that he can smell innocence, and Boone is innocent. Peloquin bites Boone on the shoulder intending to devour him, but Boone escapes. With the help of Kinski he leaves the graveyard, only to run into an entire squad of police led by Decker. Decker approaches Boone, ostensibly to convince him to surrender, but then yells that Boone is armed and gets out of the way as the police gun him down.

Lori is brought in to identify the body, which she does, breaking down in tears. Shortly thereafter Boone comes back to life, due to Peloquin's bite, and makes his way back to Midian, a full Nightbreed at last. Lori, seeking to understand why Boone left her, resolves to investigate Midian for herself. She heads to a bar near the graveyard where she meets Sheryl Anne (Deborah Weston), who consoles her. The two become fast friends.

Meanwhile Boone, after being schooled in the laws of Midian by Kinsky, is inducted into Midian's society by Dirk Lylesburg the leader of the Nightbreed. He is then made to touch the blood of Baphomet, the deity of Midian. Narcisse has also returned, the skin around his face still gone. Boone also notes Shuna Sassi, a beautiful woman covered in porcupine quills as a creature he had dreamed of in his old life.

Lori meets with Sheryl Anne who recounts an impromtu rendezvous with a handsome stranger the previous night. Lori convinces her to drive her out to the graveyard. She wonders into the cemetery, leaving Sheryl Anne waiting at the car. It is then revealed that the man Sheryl Anne met the night before was Decker, who kills Sheryl Anne. Lori meanwhile finds a dying wolfen creature in the sunlight and at the pleading request of Rachel, picks it up and takes it into the shadows where it becomes a little girl; Rachel's daughter Babette. Rachel thanks Lori for her kindness, and Lori asks after Boone, only to be rebuffed by Lylesburg, who ensures her that Boone is now Nightbreed and hence, no longer part of her world. Lori tries to make her way into Midian but is scared off by Peloquin. As she leaves the graveyard, she is greeted by the sight of Sheryl Anne's body and her killer, who reveals himself as Decker and tries to kill Lori in order to bring Boone out of hiding.

Decker chases Lori back into the cemetery where he knocks Lori unconscious. Boone then reveals himself, and even though Decker stabs Boone, he is horrified to learn that Boone can't be killed. Decker escapes and Boone takes Lori into Midian. Lori regains consciousness deep inside the city where she is told of the history of Midian by Rachel; that the monsters of lore were peaceful beings, hunted to near extinction by frightened and superstitious humans. Lori is then shown a series of prophetic drawings portraying, among other things, Peloquin biting Boone. She is also shown the Beserkers; monstrous, feral breed who are imprisoned due to their sheer insanity. Boone and Lori are banished from Midian by Lylesburg.

Decker meanwhile has formed plans to wipe out Midian, who he now sees as the ultimate breeders. He interrogates a local mechanic who once wanted to join the Nightbreed but was not accepted, and kills him. Armed with new knowledge of how to kill the breed, Decker then murders the residents of the hotel where Boone and Lori are staying. Boone finds the murder scene, and unable to control his thirst for blood, begins to drink. The police find him and take him into custody. At Decker's urging, the local police and militia, led by Captain Eigerman (Charles Haid) form up a small army to attack Midian. They release a drunken priest named Ashberry (Malcolm Smith) to serve them as God's servant in the battle. They begin their assault by dragging Ohnaka (Simon Bamford), a mild mannered and powerless monster into the sun where he dissolves into dust.

Meanwhile Lori, Rachel, and Narcisse race to the jail to release Boone. Rachel turns to smoke and kills the guards. Lori shows Boone that she loves him even as a "monster" and the four head back to Midian. When Boone returns, Lylesburg is trying to convince the breed not to go out and face their persecutors, but Boone convinces the crowd to fight. He says that if the Nightbreed are to have a life, it won't be in Midian and won't be governed by Lylesburg's rules.

During the battle, Ashberry is horrified to learn that here are women and children among the Nightbreed and tries to stop the attack but is roughly beaten down by Eigerman. Meanwhile other Nightbreed such as Shuna Sassi, Peloquin, Leroy Gomm (a fat man with two barbed tenatacles protruding from his stomach) and Devil Lude, fight back admirably, allowing the less powerful breed to escape. Boone and Decker face each other in the burning wreckage of Midian and Decker is killed. Boone finds Lylesburg and tries to convince him to try and escape, but Lylesburg states it's too late. The blood of Baphomet is burning and will soon destroy all of Midian. Boone convinces Lylesburg to release the Berserkers. Lylesburg succeeds in opening the cages, but is shot down. The Beserkers then attack the humans furiously, turning the tide of the battle.

Baphomet revealed.

Boone goes to Baphomet and is taken up by the deity. Baphomet tells Boone that he has brought about the end of Midian, but also that this was foretold. Bephomet then charges Boone with finding a new home for the Nightbreed, and renames him Cabal. Boone makes his way out of Midian with Lori. Ashberry stumbles into the city and finds the statue of Baphomet. He drops his cross and bible and moves forward to swear allegiance, but is splashed and severely burned by the blood of Baphomet.

The remaining Nightbreed meet in an old barn, and Boone says his goodbyes to Narcisse, promising that he won't forget the Nightbreed, and will find a place where they'll all be safe.

In the final scene, Ashberry, now a Nightbreed, has nailed Decker to a cross. He states his wish to exact vengeance on Baphomet, saying "I saw their god, master. He burned me. I want to burn them back." He then takes some of the blood of Baphomet and pushes it into the knife wound where Decker was impaled by Boone. Decker suddenly springs back to life with a scream, as Ashberry chants "Hallelujah" over and over again.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The tagline for this film is "Come meet the dead of night".
  • Charles Bodycomb, Tony Gardner, Paul Jones, John Skipp and Craig Spector were all uncredited in the film.
  • The original VHS and Betamax home video releases of Nightbreed included an introduction by Clive Barker. Barker sat amongst a set of various masks and props featured in the film.
  • First horror film role for composer Danny Elfman. Elfman is also known for creating the theme song for The Simpsons and for his distinctive stylistic scores as featured in films such as Beetlejuice and the 1989 Batman film and its 1992 sequel, Batman Returns.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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Clive Barker logo.jpg
This article relates to the works of Clive Barker.
Nightbreed logo.jpg
This article relates to the Nightbreed film and comic book franchise.
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