Nightbreed is a Comfort Horror Film
The last refuge of the world’s monsters is in… Canada? Midian, home of the Nightbreed, sits in the countryside of Alberta, Canada. Underneath an old cemetery, in a space unpolluted by technology or living human beings, the world’s monsters, freaks, and outcasts go about their nights just doing their thing. Baphomet, their savior, gave them laws to keep them safe, so they no longer hunt and kill humans.
The world had forgotten about them, but Aaron Boone, our hero, dreams of Midian.
I love this movie. It came out in 1990, is based on the Clive Barker novel, Cabal, and was written for the screen and directed by the author himself. It’s got monsters and mayhem, practical and dated-but-cool special effects, interesting characters, and a supernatural horror-thriller-adventure plot that just pulls you into its layers.
The opening credits show us a mural that we later learn is a prophecy. Upon first viewing, it just looks cool and maybe you can piece together what happened or what’s going to happen. After you know the story, however, watching the intro credits and looking at that wall is like revisiting an old story with an old friend.
After that, we get a manic opening scene that teases the monsters and mayhem to come. But are they really monsters, or are they just different? Some of the score feels almost circus-like, which seems to fit thematically if Midian is home to monsters, freaks, and outcasts. Lori’s trek into Midian (spoiler alert!) has an old-fashioned circus freak show feel.
Boone dreams of Midian, and it’s bad enough that he — previously in the movie’s timeline — sees a psychiatrist about it. Why was he having those dreams to begin with? It’s not really covered in the movie, so I’ll have to read the book to get any insight on the topic.
When we’re first introduced to the doctor, Decker, we can tell right away there’s something off about him. He’s played by David Cronenberg, and the way he plays this character is a bit unsettling. His voice is supposed to be the soothing tones of an experienced doctor, but the quiet lyricism in his cadence disguises something else. Take a sugar cone and fill it…