Shot of the Day 12.163: Back to Midian
Tonight was a long time coming.
Clive Barker's NIGHTBREED is well-known for having a troubled production past (boy, don't know how that feels) and the film released into theaters was far from Clive's vision of an oppressed, underground culture and the civility they yearn for (metaphor alert). I, for one, was terrified of the film when I saw it opening night-Feb 18th, 1990 at the Coram Multiplex to be exact-but being an avid reader of Fangoria, I was also aware of scenes, shots & creatures cut out of the film. But I wasn't aware that it was more than 45 minutes of footage cut out, which was thought to have been lost forever like the ancient caverns of Midian, the fictional town inhabited by Barker's creature creations. For years, fans discussed if we'd ever see this footage as the film bombed when it was first released and fell into cult obscurity, with little hope for any new remaster or release.
Thankfully, I was not the only one affected by NIGHTBREED, and a campaign called OCCUPY: MIDIAN was formed to try to collect the old footage and create a new version of the film that skewed closer to Barker's original cut of the film, and the hard work paid off; NIGHTBREED: THE CABAL CUT was screened tonight at the New Beverly and hell yes I was there. The film was cut together using the theatrical cut as a base/spine, inserting shots and even whole scenes (some finished, some less so) that were on 2 VHS screeners long-thought lost. It's not a polished product by any means, but fans of the film will get a much clearer picture of what Clive, coming off HELLRAISER and at the peak of his game & fame, was trying to achieve, which WAS vastly different than the studio cut. It's an experience for sure and a labor of love for all involved.
Here is Clive, who has been embroiled in his own share of drama this week alone, giving the rapt audience a bittersweet, funny introduction to the film, one you can tell was close to his heart and also broke it thanks to those who did not share in his vision for his own story. Again, I couldn't help but relate myself, in a way I never thought I would. Hey, if it only takes 22 years...
Best moment of the night was the standing ovation given to the artist as he thanked the crowd for supporting the film, and everyone in the room felt the emotion as he did. It was a small triumph for Midian. Hopefully fans will finally experience this cut as well, the way Clive wanted.
For more info on the new cut of NIGHTBREED, click here.
God bless you, Mr. Barker.