RICH_DUNDAS

‘Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut’ a.k.a Context is Everything.

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm

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In April this year, we had a small intimate midnight screening of ‘Nightbreed’ in the basement of The Monster Company. It was a modest affair with food, hot drinks and a keg of ale, however we were graced with the ever charming presence of Simon Bamford, known for playing Butterball in ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’ but notably for playing Ohnaka in Clive Barker’s mistreated epic, ‘Nightbreed’. We screened it on VHS, warts and all, with all twenty trailers that preceded it and every ident that tape possessed. After the screening (it was about 2am at this point), Simon gave us a short Q&A, slightly tired, slightly drunken, but completely honest and his response to seeing this film was interesting, especially in hindsight.

On Friday 28th September 2012, KBZ attended the second UK screening of the ongoing project ‘Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut’ at Derby QUAD complete with Simon Bamford and co-director Russell Cherrington in attendance for introduction and Q&A. Upon arrival, Simon’s first words to us were ‘I need to pick your brains. After your Nottingham screening, I was unsure as to what the original film had to offer, and this version… well it will certainly be of interest.’ I’m paraphrasing of course, but his enthusiasm and energy certainly matched.

‘Nightbreed’ is a strange film. Embraced by a select community of ‘misfits’ (I mean this with nothing but affection), and misunderstood by many, it walks a fine line between incomprehension and poetry, ambition and incompetence, good and bad. In this author’s opinion it was an awkward yet admirable mess of film, but always enjoyable. We were promised that things weren’t always this way and a version of the film existed somewhere, somehow. Evidently it appeared on PAL VHS tapes within Clive Barker’s home.

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In the words of Russell Cherrington, ‘The Cabal Cut’ is not ‘Nightbreed’, it’s ‘Cabal’. This new version has only 30% of the original film intact. ‘Nightbreed’ has been ripped apart, re-imagined and re-edited to give you a completely new viewing experience. Most of the new footage does resemble a ‘pirated porno tape’ (not my words) but manages not to detract you from the story which, to Cherrington’s insistence, is what this new cut is all about. Boone finally has the time to develop and become the main protagonist that was always promised, but it’s Anne Bobby as Lori that is the revelation. As is tradition with Clive Barker, the female characters are the strongest presence and Lori is seen to be a real driving force of the film. Her motives towards seeking Midian are a lot clearer than the original theatrical release which saw her wandering towards the graveyard like she had nothing better to do.

What the ‘Cabal Cut’ has over the original release is the much needed context that not only provides a depth of character and environment but also of peril and the sheer weight of the circumstances and threat that face the Nighbreed. In one very memorable sequence, we witness the hordes of rednecks climbing into their trucks and firing their weapons, on their way to destroy Midian and everyone within. In the theatrical version, all we see are the police who already come across as incompetent and non-threatening when compared with Dr Decker. The rednecks are not confined by any rules and, like Decker, are motivated by blind hatred. It is details such as this that are oddly lacking within the original cut. On a more basic level, the film benefits from having necessary travel sequences, conversations and…well… context.

Additional characters appear, others are given more of a role. The characters of the priest, numerous police chiefs and even more footage of characters such as Narcisse only add to the rich world that this film had only previously hinted towards in its previous form.

We eagerly look forward to where Cherrington will take this project further and what new elements of Barker’s world will finally be revealed to us.

What did we learn?
1. Peloquin directed ‘St Trinian’s’ and ‘St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold’.
2. The Metro Centre in Newcastle has a roller-coaster.
3. Clive Barker is unaware of what he has on his video shelves.

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