Listen, I know that under normal circumstances Clive Barker could repackage the London phone book and I would eat it up with a spoon.
He could make a movie about a tap dancing Christmas tree and tell me that it’s about the plight of modern man and I would totally agree-because coming from Barker, it probably would actually be the plight of modern man.
I don’t know if it’s something to do with the set design or I’m just not in the right frame of mind for this film today…but Nightbreed just hits me like Barker having a bad trip while watching the Muppets. There certainly is something there-with Barker, there always is- but there’s much less there there than with most of Barker’s pieces. Part of what is there are either universal themes or images just happening to hit at the right time for 2014- ‘he reached into his jacket’ sounds a lot like ‘I didn’t know it was a bb gun, even if it was carried by a 12 year old’. The obvious misuses and overreaches of institutions and powers, Barker’s continual and favorite theme of man-as-monster.
Nightbreed reads a lot as Hellraiser lite. If you don’t like/can’t handle the sexual themes and imagery in Hellraiser, want an easier to watch film (which is not to say an easy to watch film, just an easier to digest one) or want a film with similar themes that falls closer to a traditional horror movie, then Nightbreed is probably going to serve you better than Hellraiser. But I feel that Hellraiser plays the themes better.