Author, artist, and director Clive Barker seems to have few qualms about inflicting injury on characters, as those familiar with his Books of Blood short stories or the 1987 film Hellraiser know. But Barker himself had a painful experience with his 1990 fantasy-horror film Nightbreed. The tale of a suspected serial killer (Craig Sheffer) who joins a group of freakish-looking outcasts the film was, to Barker’s enduring dissatisfaction, re-cut before its release, and some of the movie’s original elements were subsequently lost forever…
… or were they? This week, the horror-oriented imprint Scream Factory confirmed the release details of Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut, which the company will put out on DVD and Blu-Ray, October 28. This new version of the film will be available in two formats, a special-edition DVD and Blu-ray collection with as-yet-unannounced bonus features and a limited-edition, three-disc Blu-ray release which will also include a booklet with essay and rare photos, a slipcase with Barker-approved artwork, and an exclusive-to-the-set disc of extras.
“This is film history and beyond my wildest dreams of realization,” Barker said in a statement. He continued:
When Scream Factory told me that they found the Nightbreed film footage I was gob-smacked! This is the ultimate validation of choices made by myself and Mark Miller [of Seraphim Films] all the way back in 2008. As we embarked down the road of attempting to track down the lost footage, we looked at each other and said, “Maybe one day they’ll find it.” It’s my pleasure to announce that the day has come. Speaking personally, I didn’t allow myself to believe that it would. Even if we did find some footage (which we did in 2009 in the form of heavily degraded VHS tapes) and even if we did find a company willing to release the film (which we did in 2013 with Scream Factory, God bless them) the prospect of finding the actual lost film materials was remoter than I’d wanted to admit out loud. If the footage could not be found by those who had worked closest on it the same year it had been released, then what were the odds we’d be able to find anything 20 years on? But Scream Factory, in their commendable determination, kept up the search and thanks to them total reconstruction has been made a possibility. There’s never been a reconstruction that’s had as little chance of succeeding and yet has succeeded on as many fronts as this film has. It’s unprecedented. To now have a movie that we can put together in the way that I fully intended it to be seen when I first set out to make this film in 1989 is extraordinary.
Watch a vintage trailer for Nightbreed below.