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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    French, Spanish, English - Hearing Impaired
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Filmographies


Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 101 mins . M15+ . NTSC


Nightbreed, written and directed by Clive Barker from his novel, Cabal, is a simple tale in which traditional roles have been reversed, and make-up does not a monster make. Created after the second film in the Hellraiser series, for which there were initially no plans for a sequel, Nightbreed was developed as the opening chapter is a series of films, as is evident from the closing scenes. Unfortunately, due to poor marketing at the time of release, the film did not obtain enough interest for a sequel to be discussed.

Over the space of months, several families have been murdered by an unknown slasher, and Aaron Boone (Sheffer), a young man disturbed by dreams of strange creatures and a city called Midian, is convinced by his psychiatrist Dr Decker (Cronenberg) that he is responsible. Set free by Decker with 24 hours to turn himself in to the police, Boone crosses paths with a madman looking to gain entry to Midian, where all his sins will be forgiven.

Having discovered the city's location, Boone flees there to find an old cemetary inhabited by the creatures of his dreams. Turned away for being a "natural" and innocent of the murders he believes he has committed, Boone runs afoul of Decker and the law. Before long, Boone will discover the truth about himself, Midian, and Decker's interest in both.


Despite being a Region 4 stamped NTSC disc, we have a pretty decent transfer here. Colours are muted to meet the tone of the film but still maintain a variety of shades and gradients. Black levels are strong, as is shadow detail, something you would expect from a film that spends a fair amount of time at night and underground.

Sharpness is fine, without betraying overuse of any edge enhancement, and the few film scratches and dents that are present are minor enough that you probably won't notice them. On the down side, the aspect ratio we get is of the 1.78:1 variety, rather than the 1.85:1 it mentions on the packaging.


The primary audio track is a newly remixed 5.1 surround, which does great justice to Danny Elfman's moody score. Your subwoofer will get a good workout, though fortunately in a sensible manner, and surrounds are used mostly for the score and ambient sounds rather than discrete effects. Dialogue is clear throughout with no obvious synching issue, though monster voice effects may have you reaching for the sub-title button at one or two moments to be certain of what you thought they said.


Fairly light on the extras, we get filmographies for the principal cast, Barker, and Elfman, as well as the theatrical trailer presented in similar quality to the film, and also 16x9 enhanced.


A fairly unconvential monster film as horror moives go, Nightbreed draws a number of parallels to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and it is unfortunate that the obviously planned sequels never eventuated to let us see how the story truely ends. A must have for any Barker fan, Nightbreed makes an excellent introduction to horror with it's emphasis of good story over gore.

Although it's disappointing that we don't receive a PAL transfer, hope may lie on the horizon, as reliable rumours abound of a Director's Cut being released in the US that returns 20-some minutes to the film that was cut after initial test screenings had been made. Perhaps we'll be lucky, and see a PAL Region 4 release of a Nightbreed: Director's Cut in the future, who can say? Only the Tribes of the Moon would know for sure, and they aren't telling anyone. Not even Dr Decker.

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      And I quote...
    "Sometimes, the scariest monsters are the ones that look just like us."
    - Andrew MacLennan
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-515
    • TV:
          Philips 29PT6361
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2700
    • Speakers:
          Aaron ATS-5
    • Centre Speaker:
          Aaron CC-240
    • Surrounds:
          Aaron SS-120
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-240
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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