Last year was when this new re-edited version of Clive Barker’s failed epic fantasy horror movie NIGHTBREED:THE CABAL CUT first made a public screening at one, then another film festival. Almost instantly tickets were selling out for this event, word of mouth and internet buzz was building up around it. The mythical lost footage existed, at least some of it, and it could be worth seeing.
Just to inform those of you yet to see either version of the movie -NIGHTBREED/CABAL CUT is adapted from a Clive Barker novella written only a year or two before filming/production began in the late eighties, and directed by the great man himself. It centers on a young man by the name of Aaron Boone, who has a troubled mind and has been seeking help from a doctor called Decker. As they discuss Boone’s dark dreams and troubles, a number of gruesome murders have been happening which seem extremely linked to those dreams. Is Boone a killer? His dreams also tell him of a place called Midian, where bizarre creatures exist, and he feels a need to know and find it himself.
As he begins to questions things, Decker manipulates Boone, who then goes to find Midian, and refuge. When he reaches it, having been framed by Decker who is the real killer, Boone is shot at repeatedly, falling down. Does he die there? Do the creatures of Midian exist?
Even the 1991 cinema version of NIGHTBREED had more than enough fantastic elements to enthrall and excite, to leave us amazed and confused equally. It was such a huge film for the time, Clive having gone from the humble budgets of the first two Hellraiser movies, onto this gargantuan film shoot. It involved many, many special effects artists creating what we now know to be so many mind-blowing creatures and set pieces, so many which went unseen for decades. The psychiatrist doctor Decker in the movie is played by the one and only magnificent and provocative film director David Cronenberg, most likely his only real large full acting role.
There were some very good acting performances, some underrated, a few questionable, but the actors involved must have seen the movie as definitely a very unusual and special production. Is it a terrifying film? No, not in a regular horror movie sense but that is not the point of the film. It is an epic tale, fantastical and unusual. It has, like a number of Clive Barker’s other books, a good few bloody horror moments, but then it is also at times enchanting, beautiful, tragic, strange, bold, and magnificent.
One of the things that stands out strongly in my own mind is just how this film seems to be really one of the most horribly butchered, re-cut and misunderstood films made ever in film studio history. There are nowadays, with all of our dvd and Blurays boxsets; all kinds of commentaries and extras, unused scenes, deleted scenes, extra footage for most and many movies, but this film was so unfairly distorted and reformed against the will of the director and very likely due to that fact, became a tragic box office loss on release in 1991.
So, what did I think of THE CABAL CUT? Well…