Director: Clive Barker
Cast: Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg
Release Date: August 1, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9/10
Boone (Craig Sheffer) may be a troubled young man, but his troubles are just beginning. Set up as the fall guy in a string of slasher murders, he decides he’ll hide by crossing the threshold that separates “us” from “them” and sneak into the forbidden subterranean realm of Midian. Boone will live among the monsters.
Hellraiser creator Clive Barker writes (adapting his novel Cabal) and directs this vivid leap into horror that asks: in the battle of man vs. monster, who’s really the monster? The answer supplies flesh-crawling suspense, sudden fear, a colorful Danny Elfman score and a creepy array of shape-shifting beings. They are the Nightbreed, denizens of a world beyond death, beyond the imagination, perhaps beyond anything you’ve seen.
Please Note: Shout! Factory provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
From horror legend Clive Barker, ‘Nightbreed’ tells the haunting story of a man named Boone who finds his life quickly unraveling when he is set up for a string of horrific murders including men, women and children. Oddly unable to back up his innocence and with his therapist insisting that he turn himself in, Boone soon chooses to investigate a town of legend called Midian where monsters supposedly live in peace unencumbered by the troubles and judging nature of man. What Boone didn’t expect was for Midian to in fact be real with monsters actually residing there, but unfortunately things are only about to get a whole lot worse as the monsters initially reject him while both his caring girlfriend Lori as well as his doctor with the authorities in tow all come hunting for him.
Written and directed by horror icon Clive Barker and based upon his own novel ‘Cabal’, ‘Nightbreed’ was first released into theatres in February of 1990 and has gained a massive following in the decades since, especially after fans learned that the studio had heavily interfered with the film almost completely destroying Barker’s intentions for the story, but more on that later. Even without his true intentions for the film coming through you can still sense Barker’s touch on much of the tale throughout and it still makes for an enjoyable watch regardless of everything else. The film’s cast includes Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg and Charles Haid, the majority offering generally solid or at the very least fitting performances for the most part in each of their respective roles, although there’s no arguing that some are certainly better than others.
‘Nightbreed’ has certainly had a unique history since its release and the confirmation of studio interference on ‘Nightbreed’ and the rise of the internet age on top of it both eventually, and honestly rather miraculously resulted in the discovery of the film’s believed to be lost footage and has since spawned fan-praised releases of ‘The Cabal Cut’ as well as a true Director’s Cut guided by Barker personally. It’s no secret or surprise that many fans still truly love the Theatrical Cut regardless of its drastically different tone and content, and those fans in particular should be thrilled with this new 4K Ultra HD release of the Theatrical Cut and the impressive quality it delivers. While the director’s cut is not included on 4K, it is featured on one of the Blu-ray discs within so fans who don’t own the film on either format can rest assured knowing that they’ll have the best available version of both cuts, along with hours among hours of tremendous extras.
Scream Factory’s new 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition release of ‘Nightbreed’ brings the film home in a massive 4-disc set (comprised of one 4K UHD disc, plus three Blu-ray discs) that features the film’s Theatrical Cut in full Ultra High Definition with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, from a new 4K Scan of the Best Surviving Film Elements and it looks rather outstanding as a whole, further complemented by the option of 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack offerings. While many fans will surely be disappointed by the absence of the Director’s Cut in 4K, they can at least rest assured that the new cut is indeed at least included on Blu-ray within the set. Also included in the release is a Blu-ray disc featuring the Theatrical Cut taken from the new 4K master, as well as a fourth disc dedicated solely to supplemental content that features quite a few additional extras that don’t disappoint. If you’re fully 4K capable and a fan of the Theatrical Cut that’s already considering a purchase, then this new release is definitely recommended and shouldn’t disappoint. For those of you that aren’t interested in the Theatrical cut or simply don’t intend to ever revisit it, you’d probably be better off just picking up a copy of Scream Factory’s 2014 Blu-ray release of the Director’s Cut instead.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Nightbreed’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation of the Theatrical Cut with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, from a new 4K scan of the best surviving film elements. The video presentation looks rather impressive as a whole and provides a clean, sharp and appropriately filmic presentation that holds up well throughout. It shows noticeable improvement in detail and clarity in almost every aspect within from character faces and monster specifics, along with the backgrounds and often expansive outdoor and underground environments, while holding up nicely even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences which never result in any issues arising. The Dolby Vision addition also provides a solid color palette with some richer, improved coloring throughout that’s complemented by deep, clean black levels. Overall, this is a very nice new Ultra High Definition video presentation that doesn’t disappoint and should excite fans of the film, especially those that are fond of the theatrical cut.
The 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition release additionally includes the Theatrical Cut on Blu-ray which is also taken from the new 4K scan, in addition to the ‘Director’s Cut’ featured in full 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on another Blu-ray disc although not featuring a new transfer.
The Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features both 5.1 channel and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the included Theatrical Cut. I opted to view the film with the 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack utilized which sounds pretty good altogether and provides a clean, crisp and at times quite immersive audio presentation throughout. It regularly takes advantage of all five available channels throughout in order to send Danny Elfman’s iconic score throughout the various speakers, along with some action effects, creepy noises, nature content and a fair amount more, while never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a nice and fully capable 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that may not be overly aggressive but certainly shouldn’t disappoint the film’s fans.
The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Nightbreed’ is packed with tons of notable extras and content that’s spread throughout the release’s 4 discs. The release also includes reversible artwork on the case’s sleeve. For the sake of simplicity and easier navigation, I’ve broken down the extras by disc below.
Disc One (4K UHD – Theatrical Cut) includes an ‘Audio Commentary with Critics Adrian J. Smith and David Flint’.
Disc Two (Blu-ray – Theatrical Cut) also features the ‘Audio Commentary with Critics Adrian J. Smith and David Flint’, in addition to a few Interviews/Featurettes including ‘Memories of Midian with Actor Nicholas Vince’ (running approximately 30 minutes in length), ‘Walking the Line Between Heaven and Hell with Critic/Podcaster Kat Ellinger’ (running approximately 23 minutes) and ‘Speaking Up For the Monsters with Critic Kim Newman’ (approximately 18 minutes). The film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (1 minute) is also included.
Disc Three (Blu-ray – Director’s Cut) includes an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Clive Barker and restoration producer Mark Alan Miller’, along with an ‘Introduction to the film by Clive Barker and Mark Alan Miller’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), and the expansive Making of Documentary ‘Tribes of the Moon: The Making of Nightbreed’ (running approximately 72 minutes). Also included on the disc is ‘Making Monsters: Interviews with Makeup Effects Artists’ (approximately 42 minutes) and ‘Fire! Fights! Stunts! 2nd Unit Shooting’ (20 minutes). The film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (1 minute) is once again also included.
Disc Four (Blu-ray – Bonus Disc) is solely dedicated to extras and includes plenty of other great additions including numerous ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 23 minutes in length altogether) and the ‘Extended Torture Sequence’ (approximately 3 minutes), along with various Featurettes, Interviews and other behind the scenes and retrospective videos including ‘Monster Prosthetics Masterclass’ (approximately 11 minutes), ‘Cutting Compromise with Editor Mark Goldblatt’ (14 minutes), ‘The Painted Landscape’ (5 minutes), ‘Matte Painting Tests’ (9 minutes), ‘Makeup Tests’ (5 minutes), ‘Stop-Motion Lost Footage’ (7 minutes), ‘Rehearsal Test’ (3 minutes) and a collection of ‘Extensive Still Galleries’.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Remastered Theatrical Cut Blu-Ray disc included in the release and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 9/10
Clive Barker’s ‘Nightbreed’ is Now Available to Own in a 4-Disc Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Set from Scream Factory!
You can purchase your copy of the ‘Nightbreed: 4K UHD Collector’s Edition’ by clicking on the Amazon icon below, or purchase it directly from Shout Factory HERE!
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