Rev. Warlock DRACONIS BLACKTHORNE (dblackthorne) wrote,

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N i g h t b r e e d
{XXV A.S. Directed by Clive Barker. Starring Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker, Carolyn Jones}

[Warning: This allegorical review contains "spoilers", so you may wish to watch the film before reading this analysis.]

A young leather and jeans clad man named "Boone" {Craig Sheffer} returns to the mental hospital for sporadic evaluations, and is brainwashed by the resident psycho-the-rapist into believing that he was a serial killer, when in fact all the while it was transferrence to divert culpability from Doctor Decker {David Cronenberg}, whose alter-ego manifests as a button-eyed, zipper-mouthed masked killer in a black trenchcoat. It is later divulged that he feels he is on a mission to exterminate The 'Nightbreed'.

The Nightbreed themselves are anthropomorphic were-beings comprised of various animalistic attributes each with their own unique abilities, which speaks to the acceptance of man as an animal. From a porcupine lady {Shuna Sassi}, a devil man {Lude}, a dark delectible succubus {Rachel}, a slug-like creature, a moon-faced man {Kinski}, to a tendril-wielding denizen {Leroy Gomm}, a double-faced resident {Otis & Clay}, and a morphing little girl collectively named "Babette". [Character Biographies]

After conversing with a crazed man named "Narcisse"* at the asylum, Boone divulges the location of this mystical place known as Midian, which perhaps represents a state of being to attain carnal purity with the acceptance of oneself as a part of the animal kingdom. Driven by an inert gnosis, Boone is subsequently inducted into "The Tribes of The Moon" by elder Lylesburg, undergoing a ceremony to determine his worthiness to be part of the breed, which he passes, revealing his true nature, thus becoming "Cabal", the embodiment of the antihero of the night.

This inherent desire may speak to the dynamic of self-realization, as in "born, not made", as well as perhaps a mythological comparison with Milton's 'Paradise Lost', wherein rebel angel Lucifer tranforms into Satan. Thus, self realized, forms his own kingdom with focus and personally-determined purpose. The Rebel stage is indicative of turmoil and confusion, yielding a metamorphosis unto the higher evolution of self-deification.

After Boone escapes the bloody beatings and cruel clutches of the local crooked Police, Decker's deceptions motivate the corrupt and brutal officers to travel out to Midian to aid him in destroying its inhabitants under the guise of destroying a murderous cult. In defense, the "Berzerkers" are loosed, and the bloody battle ensues. The Berzerkers seem to represent 'demonic forces unleashed from the gates of Hell' / focused emotions power-driven into the ethers to attain revenge and restore justice.

In a metaphorical sense, the Nightbreed characters equate to Satanists in many respects, as I see it. Despite some inconsistent terminology, such as referring to the herd as misnomered "naturals" {I would argue the term "commoners" is more appropriate}, for as we know, Satanists are truly purely natural creatures; instead, what we are concentrating on here is the essence of being a breed above the common herd.

For instance, Nightbreed reside in their own subterranian total environment named 'Midian' beneath a gargoyle-laden cemetery, overseen by a being known as 'Baphomet', which seems to be the concentrated energy / lifeforce / black flame of the Nightbreed. Parallels can be drawn of it representing the sigil of Baphomet - a symbolic reflection of The Self, as Dr. LaVey observed. Living their lives to the fullest unobstructed by the herd or their mediocre concerns.

The neurotic Decker and the priest represent death-cult spiritual religions seeking to enslave and destroy, wherein the true source of their being is divulged in the film's finale. Decker goes out of his way to impinge upon the breed, fostering a genocidal messianic complex based upon what he wishes to become, but can never hope to be; thus spurned and imbalanced, reacts to eliminate what he cannot resolve within himself, by projecting outwards upon those he resents.

The film derives from Barker's well-named "Cabal" story. The term cabal itself is defined as an "artistic, literary, theatrical group" within an organization of free-thinkers.

The splendiferous musical score is rendered by the hell-flamed genius of Danny Elfman, enhancing the adventure and enchantment manifold, intensifying the moods with evocative compositions, creating the aural Magic so indicative of this Master Maestro.

As an aside, on the subject of music, the metal band "Cradle of Filth" would eventually record an album by the name of 'Midian' in Year XXXV A.S.

Also of note: As a fantom of The Addams Family, it should be mentioned that Carolyn Jones {Morticia} plays a psychiatric nurse herein, which was quite a delightful surprise indeed.


* Sarcastically named, considering he spent countless hours staring into a mirror imagining the monster behind the face seeking to come forth. He eventually joins with the Nightbreed after tearing portions of his scalp from his skull, leaving the face intact.

Tags: film review, spechtreum

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