The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, January 25-31

NIGHTBREED, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, 1990, TM and Copyright (c)20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

Nightbreed (1990)
Directed by Clive Barker
“He’s not Nightbreed.” Barker’s practically animated spookshow is a shibboleth for those obsessed by monsters, ghouls and long-legged beasties. It’s about not just the dark power of imagination, but the sensation of discovering yourself inside imaginary worlds—specifically cult film and literature. Barker’s exquisite corpse of high and low culture (e.g. the aristocratic names for his hideous mutant cabal: Peloquin, Narcisse, Baphomet) is the foundation of cult oddities like this, lousy with ambition but saddled with studio dictates. Craig Sheffer is a greaser with psychotic delusions that manifest when he loses all hope in his own redemption. His psychiatrist (played, splendidly, by David Cronenberg, who knew a thing or two about cult success and secret societies) is carving up innocent people and framing him. Who but the violent outsider, a man whose dreams conjured up a demon realm called Midian, could possibly be capable of such horrifying behavior? Of course when Sheffer goes on the run and finds Midian and its colorful inhabitants, his loyalties quickly switch from human to nightbreed. The flamboyantly monstrous denizens of Midian are the misfits we all hope to fall in with, the supernatural hotrodders who might help us discover our long-lost purpose, whose degenerate camaraderie would help us justify our obsessions and fetishes. The right monsters and creeps could make us finally feel at home after feeling like a missing piece for so long. Scout Tafoya (January 27, 28, midnight at the Nitehawk)


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