Nightbreed appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an inconsistent but acceptable presentation.
Sharpness was usually fine, but exceptions occurred. Wide shots occasionally became tentative, so some of those could be a bit on the fuzzy side. Still, overall clarity was positive; I couldn’t call this a razor-sharp image, but it looked reasonably precise. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects appeared, but some mild edge haloes occurred. Print flaws were also modest; occasional small specks popped up, but those were infrequent.
Colors looked decent to good. 1990 film stocks didn’t tend to be the most dynamic, and Nightbreed could reflect those trends, but the hues usually looked reasonably peppy and full, with only a little muddiness at times. Blacks were fairly deep, and shadows showed acceptable clarity; some low-light shots lacked great definition, but they were mostly fine. I thought this was a “B-“ presentation.
Similar thoughts greeted the dated but decent DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Nightbreed. Actually, the movie exhibited pretty positive spread across the front. Various elements like vehicles moved smoothly across the front, and the track managed to provide a fair sense of place. Music also demonstrated appropriate stereo spread.
In terms of surround usage, the back speakers didn’t have a lot to do throughout the film. Nonetheless, they added general dimensionality and contributed pizzazz during the movie’s louder sequences.
Audio quality was fine for a 24-year-old soundtrack. Speech remained natural and concise, with only a smidgen of roughness along the way. Music showed nice fidelity and range, and effects appeared fairly accurate and robust. The track didn’t boast a ton of oomph, but it showed decent low-end. Nothing here impressed, but the result was good enough for an age-based “B”.
As we move to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from writer/director Clive Barker and restoration producer Mark Alan Miller. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters and changes made for the Director’s Cut, cast and performances, music, sets and locations, creature design and various effects, cinematography, and other topics.
Expect an erratic commentary. On the positive side, we learn a fair amount about the movie and its history, especially in regard to its restoration. On the negative tilt, the track tends to focus too much on semi-self-congratulation about the efforts and not enough on the nuts and bolts of the film’s creation. The piece comes with enough useful material to sustain it, but I can’t call it a truly engaging chat,
When you start the film, you’ll find an introduction from writer/director Clive Barker and restoration producer Mark Alan Miller. It goes for five minutes, 30 seconds and tells us about the problems with the theatrical cut and the reproduction of the version on this disc. Barker and Miller deliver a good overview of how they brought about the Director’s Cut.
Tribes of the Moon: The Making of Nightbreed, we find a one-hour, 12-minute, 17-second documentary. In this, we hear from actors Anne Bobby, Craig Sheffer, Doug Bradley, Hugh Ross, Simon Bamford and Christine McCorkindale. “Moon” examines Barker and his work, the film’s development and casting, characters and performances, dealing with creature makeup, different versions of the movie and its release/legacy.
Calling this a “making of” program seems wrong, as it only includes the actors’ perspectives; a true “making of” piece should touch on a broader variety of subjects. As it stands, though, “Moon” seems like a pretty good effort. I can’t call it the most fascinating show I’ve seen, but it delivers a fair number of informative tidbits.
Another documentary ensues with the 42-minute, 11-second Making Monsters. The piece offers notes from special makeup designer Bob Keen, creative technician Martin Mercer and creature artist Paul Jones. As implied by the title, this one looks at characters and creature/makeup/effects design and execution, and reactions to different versions of the film. “Monsters” offers a terrific look at its subject matter. With good observations and plenty of solid archival footage, this becomes a strong show.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with a featurette called Fires! Fights! Stunts! It fills 20 minutes, 20 seconds with info from action unit director Andy Armstrong., as he discusses his work on the movie as well as his thoughts about the restored Director’s Cut. Armstrong offers a nice array of comments here.
A second disc brings us a DVD copy of Nightbreed. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
A commercial flop in 1990, Nightbreed gets new life via this Director’s Cut. I’d like to say that it delivers an excellent fantasy/horror experience, but I think the movie comes with too many problems to ever be more than moderately compelling. The Blu-ray brings us generally good picture, audio and bonus materials. I’m glad fans can finally see a version of Nightbreed closer to Clive Barker’s original intentions, but the movie doesn’t do much for me.