‘Nightbreed’ [Review] Clive Barkers Horror-Fantasy Comes To 4K

The recent release of Clive Barker’s fantasy-horror film ‘Nightbreed’ in glorious 4K thanks to Shout Factory offers a chance to revisit this influential work that has left a lasting impact on the horror and fantasy genres. As a reviewer and observer of horror and fantasy novels, Clive Barker’s influence is palpable in ‘Nightbreed,’ showcasing his imaginative storytelling.

The standout element of the film is David Cronenberg’s dominating performance as Dr. Phillip K. Decker. Cronenberg, known for his legendary and iconic filmmaking, brings a level of intensity and depth to the character that elevates the film. The difficulty of portraying such a complex character is underscored, and Cronenberg’s portrayal prevents the role from descending into silliness, marking an underrated acting achievement.

While the 4K release features the theatrical cut, with the director’s cut available on Blu-Ray, it’s lamentable that the highly anticipated ‘Cabal Cut’ may never see a proper release. Nevertheless, the meticulous restoration of ‘Nightbreed’ in this 4K version is commendable, preserving the film for a new generation of viewers. Doug Bradley and Craig Shaffer deliver exceptional performances, contributing to the film’s overall impact.

Clive Barker’s directorial prowess is evident in ‘Nightbreed,’ as he continues to showcase his ability to craft imaginative and visually stunning horror. Alongside films like ‘Lord of Illusions,’ ‘Nightbreed’ takes audiences on an immersive journey, offering stunning visuals that complement the narrative.

The 4K disc’s audio and picture quality are commendable, providing a sharp and clear viewing experience. However, it’s worth noting that a Dolby True HD track or a Dolby Atmos track could have enhanced the audio presentation beyond the basic 5.1 Surround Sound provided. Despite this, Shout Factory’s release ensures that ‘Nightbreed’ has never looked better on home media.

Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) is haunted by terrifying nightmares of a city of monsters. He goes to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg), for help. But what Boone doesn’t know is that Decker is really a serial killer. Decker frames Boone to take the fall for his murders, and Boone is killed by the police. But Boone is brought back to life by the monsters of his dreams, the Nightbreed, who in turn join Boone in his quest to stop Decker from killing again.


One drawback is the absence of a digital code, limiting the accessibility for those who prefer to watch movies on the go. Nevertheless, the overall presentation of the 4K disc is top-notch, offering fans and enthusiasts an opportunity to appreciate the film in a new light.

While the ‘Nightbreed’ 4K release may not fulfill the hope for a masterpiece that includes the director’s cut, there remains optimism for the potential release of the ‘Cabal Cut’ on a larger scale. Fans eagerly anticipate the day when Clive Barker makes this version more accessible, allowing a broader audience to experience the film as originally intended. In the meantime, this 4K release serves as a testament to the care taken in preserving and presenting a classic within the horror genre.

Overall Grade: 4/5 Stars

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