The Nightbreed Cabal Cut, with special guest Clive Barker!

933911_10151443621741344_1309589823_nLast Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the screening of the “Cabal Cut” of Nightbreed at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood!
Described as a kind of “kitchen sink” cut of the film, an hour of new found footage was cut in with the previous version of the film, in what has long been said was Mr. Barker’s true vision.

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A film that had a huge impact on me in my formative years, Nightbreed has remained a favorite, despite its flaws. I even attempted my own continuation of the story, which can be read here. It was very exciting to see the new version of the film on the big screen in the same room as the creator!
With over an hour of new footage, the film definitely feels truer to the book.
Over all, it was a treat to see these long-lost scenes, but it made for a somewhat disjointed experience, with the quality of the new footage sometimes jarringly at odds with the print of the original.
Honestly I would prefer to see the new footage separately, as to me the original film is beautiful in its own right. In the brief Q&A after the film (transcribed below), Mr. Barker addressed the issues of the quality difference, saying :

The differences in quality make it hard to see and hard to fully comprehend whats there. I think when you actually do see it in it’s final form, when we’ve gone through everything meticulously and edited all out it is going to be pretty amazing. And there is still stuff to put in, believe it or not. There are some really cool effects that are going to go in.

Mr. Barker and the producer Mark Miller have promised that there is still a lot of work to be done before the release of the director’s cut on DVD next summer.
Finally it will be a work that  the creator is proud to call his own.

After the film, we were treated to brief chat with Mr. Barker, which I have highlighted below!
Check it out to hear Clive’s thoughts on what went wrong with Nightbreed, the upcoming reboot of Hellraiser, and why he hates the dentist!

CliveBarkerHe began by recounting the story of the film :

It was screwed up for a lot of reasons.
The main reason was that it was bought by Morgan Creek which was owned by two men, Joe Roth and Jim Robinson and they didn’t like each other.
Joe actually bought the movie and he liked the idea of the monsters being the good guys.
Jim did not understand the movie. He was selling Subarus somewhere in the midwest.
When Joe left the project out of frustration, he said “I’m leaving you to the mad dog,” which wasn’t very promising for the future of our working relationship.
Jim came on board and said, “What is this? The monsters are the good guys? This is crap.”
I said, “It is a little late to re-shoot the movie.”
He said,”Oh we have ways.”
And we went at it really badly and became very angry with one another.
What happened was the movie was a disaster creatively.
It killed me. I couldn’t tell people that this was my movie.
I couldn’t bring myself to lie about it.

I was a lousy promoter for my own movie.
I’d go on a press tour and say, “Yeah it sucks doesn’t it?”
It wasn’t my vision. They marketed it like a slasher movie.

tumblr_mqg18mVQLi1s8tq9ao1_500I made the whole movie to work on lots of layers, and one of them was the homosexual layer. As a gay man, I wanted to tell a story that was about worlds within worlds.
Gay reviewers were about the only ones who understood the movie.
God bless them. There were about three of them at the time.
It was a different time. There wasn’t the same idea that popular culture could contain nuggets of something else which was a subtext for something which was valid and interesting.
I still think that genre film making is undervalued and under respected by reviewers.

In 2008, producer Mark Miller began the search for the lost footage after learning that it existed from IMDB.
Clive Barker says,

I tried for years to find the footage. It wasn’t as though I had given up on it. I knew the material was there, I knew I had shot it. But nobody knew where it was, or cared actually.

Fox has a huge warehouse (warehouses) all over the country in really weird places. I envisioned it like the end of Indiana Jones with movies pushed into a trunk in little slots, and I assumed that somewhere was the missing hour of Nightbreed.
Nobody knew where ; nobody cared to find out. Morgan Creek had never made any money from the movie, they didn’t care anymore.
It wasn’t an expensive movie to make. We got a lot more value on the screen than I think we would be able to nowadays. No CGI, of course. Some lovely stop-motion.
I think we got a lot of value for $11 million.
A lot of that was credit to the people I was working with, who were willing to go the distance for me, even after we’d had all these difficulties.
And it was doubly embarrassing to all of them to deliver to the world a movie I wasn’t proud of.
This new version is a validation to me, that I wasn’t completely off-base and that it did have the power to move people.
There were so many wonderful things in the movie.
Danny Elfman’s score is superb.
The make-ups are amazing. The performances are cool.
There is so much that is great in the picture, and at the same time I couldn’t get that out in a form that made sense to audiences, and that frustrated me.

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When asked by an audience member how he feels about the trend of metafiction in horror, Mr. Barker responded :

I think Nightbreed is a metafiction. I think this is about monsters and monster movies and why we like monsters and why we need monsters. I mean the movie is called Nightbreed and they call themselves Nightbreed ; they know they are monsters. The monsters are the victims and we see a history of that.
It would be hard for me not to like metafiction given that I am authoring them. And I’ve written a collection of stories, coming soon, called Chilead which is a metafiction.

1003176_487377081345883_1120833954_nWhen asked about the possibility of a sequel to Cabal, this was Mr. Barker’s response :

Absolutely.
I am 61. Time is catching up with me. I was 13 yesterday.
The fact is that time has caught up with me, and I still have a lot to do.
And one of those things is at least one more Cabal story.
There is a lot to do. If I stop inventing things now, and stop making new things and carry on with all of things I have got to do (and will do, by the way. Will do.) it would keep me busy until I am 81, at least.
This is why going into a coma 18 months ago would have been scary to me, if I had known it was happening.
When I woke up I was like “Fuck me!”
I have got to be careful. I still have a lot of books to write, paintings to paint and movies to make.
And that is what gets me up in the morning. It is what has always gotten me up in the morning. The idea of being able to give stories and ideas to everybody else, and have a response. It is a two way street ; its an exchange. Its a wonderful conversation which has gone on for forty years and long may it go on.
It really was very scary to be out of consciousness and very strange to have a large chunk of my life missing. But, I viewed it as a big old wake up call.
I got toxic shock from going to the dentist, and went into a coma. So the lesson is DON’T GO TO THE DENTIST!

tumblr_muxk8zWqN31qfzcnbo1_500Of course the question of his recently-announced intention to reboot Hellraiser came up, and here was his response :

For the longest time, there have been sequels made which I cannot watch.
They are absolute abominations.
Did anybody have any doubts about my feelings about that?
The Hellraiser mythology was something that was very close to me. I’ve watched the pictures lose sincerity, more than anything else. Lose gravitas.
When we made the first Hellraiser movie we decided “Let’s not make any jokes.”
‘No tears please, its a waste of good suffering’ will be the best joke in the film. That will be the laugh line.
I’m sure the people making them were trying their best with incredibly small amounts of money, but I felt that the thing that was so precious to me had gone out the window.
For 4 years or thereabouts, there has been talk of doing a reboot (whatever that means) of the first movie. Somebody talked to me about it and I said no no that wasn’t something I wanted to get involved in.
And yet, as I saw all the alternative reboots that were being proposed, I became more and more melancholy. I thought, “Christ this is worse.”
Not only have they gone on and made countless sequels, now they are going to take my movie, the first movie, the one that is precious to me and they are going to reboot it.
And what will it be? Hellraiser on Ice? Or what?
It was frustrating to me that this movie might be made as a remake of my movie, and it would probably have CGI all over it, and probably wouldn’t star Doug Bradley and so on. It appalled me.
This is only the eighth time I have been out of my house in the past two years. I had a coma and it was not pleasant. So I invited Bob Weinstein up to my house and pitched making the movie the way I would make it, by just intensifying and keeping what’s great about the first movie. He agreed.
I will write the script and what happens after that I have no power over. But I definitely will not violate anything from the first movie that I think is valuable or canon. That is part of my problem with the later movies is that they didn’t treat stuff as canon. They violated all the rules, as I saw them.
We will be doing our damnedest to give a new generation another Hellraiser film that has even more balls than the first one!
We need to take it even further now. I said to Bob we would definitely be going for a hard R. It wasn’t going to be a PG-13 affair.
Hellraiser, or any horror movies that are PG-13 are fighting their own destiny, as far as I’m concerned.
The whole point about horror movies is that they are taboo. They take you places that you don’t even think you want to go.

nightbreed-deleted-1He left us with these words :

The frustration has gone away, and now it is more about separation. It is about techniques of reconstruction being available to us. Back in the day, there wouldn’t be a chance to do what we are doing.
For years, you have all seen the fucked up version of Nightbreed. People have had the faith to believe in a movie that I was simply trying to forget. That was an act of faith on your part, and by god you stood up for it!
Let me be clear, however persuasive I am and might have been at the time, it would not have happened if it weren’t for those thousands of voices. So we owe this to you.

I made the movie, I dropped it, you picked it back up.
Even though the original film Nightbreed was screwed up in a lot of ways, it was still Barker. And there was enough of me in there for an audience to find it, and want it, and have it fixed. And that is important to me.
If you are true to yourself, nobody can take that away from you.

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Doomsday is coming. What are you going to wear?
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