Features Regular Columns Beyond Casual Observation BJ (Ancient Shores) on Nightbreed

Beyond Casual Observation

Regular Columns: BJ (Ancient Shores) on Nightbreed

The story of Nightbreed’s production goes back to the pre-internet days reading fangoria magazine and conversations among those who were into horror movies and fiction. Clive Barker’s journey with this film started in the late ‘80s and continued into the early 2000s.

The story of this film is as relevant as the film itself. We have Clive Barker fresh off of Hellraiser working with a bigger budget, David Cronenberg himself as a central character, and a score composed by Danny Elfman. From the end of production, to the theatrical release and the “found’ cuts” that emerged more than a decade later, this movie teaches a lot about the production process. I’ve included some links to help you go down that road. For now, let’s take a look at the movie itself based on the version I recently watched: the 2014 Director’s Cut.

For additional information: http://www.clivebarker.info/nightbreed.html

Let's give this movie context for reflecting upon its odyssey and ultimately the presentation of the Director's Cut release. Basically the original is the theatrical cut and comes in somewhere around 100 minutes. There is what is called the Cabal Cut which is the theatrical version plus the working footage which totaled out to be something around 150 minutes. This circulated in the early 2000s. The Director's Cut was issued mid-2014 and is around 120 minutes with Clive Barker's approval (and is on Netflix). It is essentially the theatrical cut except that some of the scenes are replaced by versions of those scenes that Barker preferred (this totals out to something like a half-hour) plus some of the found working footage. (A thorough breakdown can be read here. Be sure to like movie-censorship on Facebook.)

The intro is fun and relevant. Good score track and some pertinent info. I really like the late ‘80s/early ‘90s intro style: long pan with centered credits and good music. The Batman (1989) intro is one of my favorite intro pieces and also features a Danny Elfman track. As a viewer you are kind of already in the plot from the start. The setting is important as the characters and the events. We follow our lead, Aaron Boone, amidst dealing with his psychological conflicts. This conflict ultimately drives his development and the characters around him. His initial plight helps introduce us to his psychiatrist (who leads us to police characters), and his love interest (who some contend is the heart of the film). The characters, all well established, create a mood with slightly odd dialogue styles.

The world, Midian, that lives alongside this contemporary world is also established early. The mysteries of its existence, however, are slowly revealed. Again, the exploration of Midian is a central reason for the existence of this movie. Plot is plot; it is a word defined. Where some movies are all plot-essential (and some will argue all movies must be plot-centralized), Nightbreed is introducing viewers to a world to be explored. As the film moves forward Aaron’s world collides with Midian and the story takes off from there. Paying close attention is paramount as we get bits of history about Midian as well as a better feel for the people. Nightbreed has moments of intense violence, and fans of the genre will surely have visual comparisons to other films. The special effects and makeup bring Midian to life vividly and keeps the viewer further interested in the movie.

Elfman brings a visually-inspired approach that (more recently) Hans Zimmer took for the Batman trilogy, an approach that framed Nightbreed similarly in the way Carpenter’s scores help frame his own films. This world, Midian, and these circumstances are somehow slightly recognizable and grounded. To Elfman’s credit his score, along with key allegories in the film, keep Nightbreed eerily comparable to our own world.

Barker exudes care for his work and an affection for the worlds/characters he creates. This endearing quality elicits a very real feeling for fans. Nightbreed’s spirit will live on thanks to tireless work that occurred over nearly two decades. An essential element of art, and the creation of art, is endurance. Fans and supporters wanted to give to Barker what he tried to give to all of us: a complete film adaptation as he intended. No one gave up on this film and that approach is something we can all take with us as we tackle our own endeavors. Thank you to Mr. Clive Barker and everyone who worked to bring this picture to life.


Posted on April 17, 2015, 4:39 p.m.

KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment
BJ (Ancient Shores) on Nightbreed

Posted by BJ Rochinich on April 17, 2015, 4:39 p.m.

Share this content
KFAI - Root Of All Evil

Series: Beyond Casual Observation

A wide-ranging guest column written by BJ from Ancient Shores, mainly covering film but extending into philosophy and aesthetics too. Check out BJ's work on the A389 podcast.

More like this

John Morgan Askew on production, engineering and composing

Regular Columns John Morgan Askew on production, engineering and composing

Posted Jan. 27, 2019, 4 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

In the previous installment of Beyond Casual Observation, we visited with three films to briefly illustrate the pleasant entanglement of music and storytelling in cinema ...

Soundtrack in film

Regular Columns Soundtrack in film

Posted Sept. 30, 2018, 4:05 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Thanks to insight from professionals in the field, and the freedom to explore the use of sound in film, Beyond Casual Observation has featured a ...

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Music Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Posted Nov. 6, 2017, 3:23 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum is a Grammy Award-winning and Juilliard-trained composer. She was born in New York City. She grew up listening to classical music “by the ...

Jeffrey Roy on ADR mixing and Andrei Tarkovsky’s "Stalker"

Regular Columns Jeffrey Roy on ADR mixing and Andrei Tarkovsky’s "Stalker"

Posted Aug. 6, 2017, 3:56 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Jeffrey Roy is busy. Check the link for his credits and you will see a vast list of projects. In this edition of “Beyond Casual ...

Ashley Lynch on film editing

Regular Columns Ashley Lynch on film editing

Posted July 11, 2016, 2:50 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

For this edition of Beyond Casual Observation, Ashley Lynch, owner of Burnaby, BC-based Gingerbreadgirl Post—a versatile post-production studio that specializes in genre film-editing, colour ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on Claudio Marino

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on Claudio Marino

Posted Feb. 21, 2016, 3:34 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

For this installment of "Beyond Casual Observation" Claudio Marino of Artax Film and Swedish band Tid took some time to speak about the processes of ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on audio production / Shallow Grave (1994)

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on audio production / Shallow Grave (1994)

Posted Sept. 6, 2015, 4:55 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Jason Alberts is an audio engineer with an extensive career in post-production, along with location sound. His recent work includes mixing on Paralytic, Dead Body ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on sound

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on sound

Posted July 5, 2015, 3:37 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

As young as 14, Jeff King was drumming in bands and in years after would continue writing music and touring. He was the final drummer ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on Heat

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on Heat

Posted June 25, 2014, 1:37 a.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Considering the phrase “making movie history,” one could allude to films with big budgets, big actors, new innovations, or otherwise. For the 1995 film, Heat ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on The Long Good Friday

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on The Long Good Friday

Posted Feb. 17, 2014, 1:53 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

For those who have seen The Take (a four-part British mini-series starring Tom Hardy) or for those who appreciate the differences between British and American ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.