Our next contributor to this year’s Halloween Horrors series is Anthony Pantazis. Anthony first joined us for 2017’s “Fiends, Freaks, and Final Girls” character-themed series with his fantastic take on “Pinhead“, a piece that I’m still quite fond of.
Anthony returns this year with another look at a twisted fable from the mind of Clive Barker, 1990’s Nightbreed…. as well as “Cabal”, the novel that served as its basis. Again, the line between monster and man gets blurred.
PS No thanks needed, sir!

Nightbreed (Cabal) – 1990

Everything is true. God’s an astronaut. Oz is over the rainbow. And, Midian is where the monsters live.

The monsters I’m going to be talking about are from Clive Barker’s theatrical story of “Cabal”, Nightbreed. Those of you who have read the story and watched the film know that the film doesn’t do much justice to the book. That’s unfortunately true for most movies adapted from books I think. Anyhow, let’s go!

Aaron Boone is just a regular guy living his regular life somewhere in Canada, watching the hockey and going to maple syrup tastings on the weekends with his girlfriend, Lori. Seems pretty normal until Boone starts having these vivid dreams about a place called Midian and it’s horrifically strange citizens. It gets so bad that Boone needs help and decides to go see a therapist to try to figure out what’s going on.

Here’s where things get strange. Boone starts talking to his therapist, Decker. He is an excellent therapist and does a good job to help Boone get these strange dreams out of his head. The only problem is, unbeknownst to Boone, or anyone for that matter, that Decker is a serial killer and sees an opportunity to use Boone as a patsy for his murder spree.

Let’s talk about Decker for a moment. I think he’s one of the most interesting characters Mr. Barker has created. Sure, he looks like you and I on the outside, which is the point. He hides in plain sight. But when he gets the itch, he puts on a mask that is truly unnerving. Large black buttons are stitched over the eyes and the mouth is a zipper. Very BDSM, but that’s nothing new if you’ve read any of Mr. Barker’s stories. Also, Decker carries a blade that would give Michael Myers knife envy.

Anyways, Decker has Boone convinced that he’s the one going around killing people and soon convinces the authorities the same thing. Boone becomes a wanted man and actually ends up finding Midian, which is more of a sprawling cemetery full of crypts and mausoleums, and is gunned down.

Of course, Boone doesn’t die. He becomes one of the citizens of the Nightbreed, a tribe of ancient people who each have unique powers or looks. Think X-men, but more twisted. They were driven underground after being hunted down for being different. Midian is their home, deep within the catacombs and they keep their god down in the basement. Kinda rude, but he’s kind of like a living statue, so he doesn’t mind.

Well, Decker isn’t having any of this. He turns his sights on the Nightbreed and decides he want’s them dead. He enlists the help of a nearby town’s police chief, who is about as redneck as you can get by Canadian standards. Throw away perceived notions that all Canadians are friendly tolerant people. Chief Eigerman is a straight up asshole and he has a small well-armed army of like-minded minions behind him.

The redneck brigade encircles Midian and then starts to lay waste to the Nightbreed. Some of the Nightbreed are impervious to bullets, but can be killed by fire. Others can only be killed by water, and so on. Most of them don’t react well to bullets though, so Boone rallies his new found friends to fight back and to save what is left of Midian and its inhabitants.

Of course, Decker makes his way into the melee and justly meets his fate at the hands of Boone. The impolite police chief also has a similar end to his story.

So, now Boone basically saves the day and the town of Midian. However, he now shoulders the responsibility of protecting what’s left of its inhabitants and needs to find them a new place to call home and keep them safe from the outside world. Nice guy, considering he’s the reason they all got into this mess to begin with.

What I really like about this movie/story (besides Decker) is that it’s something familiar. We’ve heard it and seen it before and some can relate to it personally. There are things out there that are different from us. Things that may seem scary or strange and that makes us unsettled. However, chances are they really aren’t strange or scary. They’re just different. Except Decker, he’s a psychopath.

Thank you for reading and I wish you and your loved ones the best Halloween season you could possibly have. And thank you Dustin Fallon for giving us fans and readers an opportunity to write about the things we love!