25 years ago studio Morgan Creek essentially threw away Clive Barker's fantasy horror Nightbreed, but times have changed. The much restored "Cabal Cut" of the film is heading to Blu-ray later this year, and just as the original version reappears, a new one is already jostling to take its place. Morgan Creek have announced that they are now actively in development on the long-mooted Nightbreed TV series.
An extremely ambitious adaptation by Barker of his own novel Cabal, the original was envisioned as a spectacular cavalcade of mad creatures, a massive pantheon created with both prosthetic effects and puppets, and monster action. It starred David Cronenberg as serial killing psychiatrist Dekker, and Craig Sheffer as his patient Boon, framed for his murders. Shot down by the cops, Boon is resurrected in the secret mythical city of Midian, where the monsters live, and joins them as they defend the gates of the city against the "real monsters" from the normal world.
Drastically cut for release in 1990, it didn't do well, but the activity around the Cabal Cut (now re-named and re-edited as The Director's Cut) and its attendant Occupy Midian movement demonstrated that a fond audience is out there.
Barker first began talking about a new TV adaptation two years ago. "I don't wish to be immodest," he said, "but our culture has sort of caught up with Nightbreed and we're actively in conversation about doing it for television. The general sense is that the movie failed because people didn't want to associate with the monster. I think our culture is now more ready to embrace that ambiguity..."
Fast forward to now, and Morgan Creek's Michael Plumides reveals that he himself has written four episodes of the potential show, carefully overseen by Barker and his Seraphim Films honcho Mark Miller. He'll also executive produce the show.
"We're staying true to the source material but also modernising the concepts to appeal to this millennium's viewer," says Plumides. "We think the fans will be very pleased. By incorporating great writing, character development, and mind-blowing practical and visual effects with a product that has achieved legendary cult status, we see a winner, especially in the absence of shows like True Blood, Fringe or even Sons of Anarchy. Barker's vision is an amalgam of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror with violent, sexual overtones laced with dark comedy, and the Nightbreed series fires on all cylinders."
It is, he continued when Empire followed up the story, too early to talk about a pilot, or about the series' potential broadcast channel, but Plumides promises there is "significant interest".
"In writing the scripts," he expands, "I made every effort to stay true to Barker's vision for the purists without deviating wholly from the source material - even consulting not just Clive and Mark but Barker experts and aficionados; people that live and breath Barker's work. Also, I will say, it feels American, but the British accent shines through. We hope to partner with a network that understands and appreciates the "monsters of Midian" as we do, but also recognizes the viability of the Nightbreed property."
Nightbreed: The Director's Cut is released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory in the US on October 28. Nobody has yet picked it up for UK release, but, says Plumides, "we're working on it".