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.
FROM CLIVE BARKER HIMSELF
The lesson I’ve learned [making ‘] is that a lot of people don’t want anything different. They don’t want you to have a unique vision. But why make movies anybody else could have done? Well, I’ve paid the consequences, but I’m unrepentant. Again and again I listened to deprecating comments about low literacy levels. There was supposedly no point showing ‘Nightbreed’ to critics because the people who see these movies don’t read reviews, in brackets, even if they can read at all! Immediately it was disqualified from serious criticism. Therefore it had to be sold to the lowest common denominator. Nobody cares for the product I, and a host of other horror directors, make. One [old] guy at Fox never saw it through because he felt it was morally reprehensible and disgusting – the two very things it’s not. Their imaginations are limited and they have a very unadventurous sense of what to do. Someone at Morgan Creek said to me, ‘You know, Clive, if you’re not careful some people are going to like the monsters.’ Talk about completely missing the point! Even the company I was making the film for couldn’t comprehend what I was trying to achieve!”
How Fox Bungled Nightbreed per Clive Barker
“The Knights Templar brought back from the Holy Land a god called Baphomet and they were burned at the stake for worship of him. The Rosicrucians also had Baphomet in their system, as did the Masons. He’s a very ambiguous god – no one really knows where he came from. Some say it was the severed head of John the Baptist that talked brought back by the Knights, others suggested it was some kind of Islamic god… It’s weird, but it does have a sort of Biblical feel. I always think the whole thing about the ‘lost tribe’ is Biblical anyway, as is the idea of a lost tribe being found and led to safety or salvation – or attempting to but failing as in this particular case – but also because, and this is always true in what I write or do in the movies, there’s a kind of religious subtext, an iconographic thing going on. It’s the flipside of the morality which usually informs this type of movie, in that here the monsters are the good guys.