Nightbreed: the Cabal Cut Interview

Gorepress‘ own Clive Barker fans Mark Pidgeon and James Simpson (with trusty voice recorder in hand) were lucky enough to have an exclusive sit down interview with some very important people before the last ever UK screening of Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut. In attendance was restoration director Russell Cherrington, actors Simon ‘Ohnaka’ Bamford, Hugh ‘Narcisse’ Ross and Nicholas ‘Kinksi’ Vince. Thanks go to James Watson for making the interview possible.

Interviewers: Mark Pidgeon – MP, James Simpson – JS

Interviewees: Simon Bamford – SB Russell Cherrington – RC, Hugh Ross – HR, Nicholas Vince – NV,

MP : How has the Occupy Midian exprience been for you?

RC : It started at a screening in North Carolina when the lead actors shouted out that we should “Occupy Midian” and get people to know this film. It went from one screening to getting requests almost everyday to screen it; it’s just built and built. We have over 13,000 signatures on our petition so if anyone wants to sign that it’s occupymidian.com or search us on Facebook. Its a great way of showing that fans can make things happen. When we first arroached Morgan Creek about doing it they laughed in our faces saying “Who would want to see that (the Cabal Cut)?”

MP : Well, Morgan Creek changed the whole tone of the movie, so how was it trying to get back to what Clive Barker wanted with a film version of Cabal?

RC : It was released by 20th Century Fox but Morgan Creek ‘did everything’ in regards to creating Nightbreed; they also had the battle with Clive when they thought they had another Hellraiser-type movie, when that wasn’t the case. When Clive presented the first rough cut they panicked and said “Woah, this is not what we want! If you want this released you MUST do re-shoots.” So, as Clive after this had said publicly that his version is better than what had been released, the film has been ‘supressed’ with tactics like the fact it has never been released on DVD here (Great Britain). In America it’s only DVD by demand, manufactured in some back room.

SB : I had to get mine from Germany where it is called ‘Cabal’.

JS : Have you looked into avenues of release like Kickstarter or other crowdfunding websites?

RC : Absolutely, but whatever we do and say Morgan Creek still ‘own it’. They have given us permission to screen it, to show there is an audience out there and by doing that they will release it. There are plans to release it now but Morgan Creek will be involved.

MP : How have you found working with them?

RC: As said, they laughed at first but not any more. Now there are people wanting this, and seeing it Morgan Creek are thinking in dollar signs and money. After three screenings, one being a big sell out in LA, they became supportive and they phoned me up and said “Yeah, Nightbreed!”

SB : That’s a real difference, they phoned you up instead.

RC : Yeah, that was when they agreed I could screen it for a year, which ends in late October.

JS : For this to be the final UK screening, is that an indicator that the interest has warranted an official release or is it because of the deadline?

RC : We finish in Erie, PA on October 20th, and it will be screened all over until then. Nothing else in the UK; a lot more in the US at festivals more than conventions. Australia is ready. Highly likely we will do Japan. But I cant do any more after October 20th. There is a company who may do a limited one week release of it at a chain of cinemas at some point but that’s not for certain.

MP : How has it been travelling and meeting all these fans?

NV : It’s been really enjoyable. For Simon and I, we were on Hellraiser, we were used to meeting fans and being at conventions. They would sometimes ask about Nightbreed and that was interesting.

SB : For ten years we did just Hellraiser, yet I always took Nightbreed photos to sign that no one really noticed. Then all of a sudden people would say to me “Oooh, I remember Nightbreed!” The interest came back into it and Clive mentioned that those films, er, with the vampires and teens?

Everyone : Twilight?

SB : Yeah! Twilight started a whole interest with the baddies being goodies; monsters being good. That’s what Nightbreed is about and it has helped in a lot of ways.

MP : It’s that idea of the bad being good that made Nightbreed ‘stand out’ for so many upon its release.

JS : I saw Nightbreed when I was 12 and have to admit that the idea of the monster being good was something I couldn’t understand. It’s only been since then, as an adult, I understand what Clive was ‘doing’.

SB : At the original screening we were half-and-half which didn’t make it clear. People are different.

RC : With Ray Harryhausen dying yesterday I told Clive; not knowing, he hadn’t heard and he was very upset. Clive said that without Ray‘s work there would be no films like ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind; I think that goes for Nightbreed too. They influenced this film too.

MP : Re-reading the book, Cabal, it is like a grim fairytale due to its dark undertones; is that more in the Cabal Cut?

RC : I became a Clive Barker fan since I could read. I remember a friend gave me The Damnation Game on paperback and I hadn’t even read Books of Blood (Barker‘s early work) as I was too young. The book just blew me away and I got everything. I was a huge fan of Clive‘s from then. I saw Hellraiser at the cinema, I’d finished work and went straight to see it. I read Cabal and saw the film which was a disappointment. So when the opportunity came to change that, it was great. My biggest geek-out moment was when I had finished the edit and had it on DVD. I went downstairs by myself and watched The Cabal Cut on a huge TV. I was the first to see it as it was, and not even Clive had seen it! I had pins and needles, goosebumps, just everything. I took it to Clive and at first he didn’t watch it as his assistant forgot, so I handed a copy to Mark Millar who got Clive to see it. Clive sent me a message saying “This is the most amazing film I have ever seen, you have made my film for me!” He only wanted 4 little trims to happen and that’s it.

JS : To the three actors, what did you think when you heard your original performances would be restored and seen for the first time in decades?

HR : It was extraordinary. In this cut you will see my character is decapitated. When there was test screenings in LA the reaction to that was bad so they, the studio, decided my character shouldn’t be ‘killed off’. So when we did re-shoots a little after this my part was greatly enhanced. Actually, I’m not too sure I like this Cabal Cut now! (laughs) There isn’t much footage of the decapitation as it was difficult to shoot.

RC : In this we see your (Hugh‘s) head on a spike! That was in the novel as well.

HR : It was; that was very weird having my head cast taken for it. There is actually a photo somewhere of me holding my own head in my hands.

NV : As you mentioned, its very much like a grim fairytale and that was always my take on the book and original script. It’s a very European folktale and there’s something dark and nasty in the woods. Watching this cut was extraordinary, to see so much of the story.

MP : In Nightbreed, despite being in heavy make up you could still perform, whereas in Hellraiser you sort of, well, didn’t?

(laughs)

SB : In the Hellraisers it was odd because Clive kept shouting “Do less, do less!” The more you tried to do anything, in fact Doug (Bradley) said this, the more pantomime it seemed due to the make up. It’s better to do nothing at all. Let people imagine.

MP : What was it like to have to use prosthetics again in Nightbreed?

NV : He (Simon) didn’t have any!

SB : I just had my nipples.

JS : That’s why the film was cut! Nipples.

SB : Yeah! (laughs)

NV : It wasn’t much different. I was taken to the studio at 4am and had five hours of make up. But on Nightbreed you could talk and interact.

SB : You were cut off in Hellraiser, it was bizarre, but on Nightbreed you could see the set and actors!

NV : On Nightbreed the crew introduced themselves to me, I just said “You did two movies with me! You have no idea because you’ve never seen me out of make up before!” (laughs) For me the great joy of Chatterer was, yes it’s difficult, but it was MINE and my mask work. The way you bring it to life and make it believeable, I enjoyed that challenge. On Nightbreed, Kinksi is a nice guy. Chatterer…not so much!

JS : I’ve shown my wife photos of the Chatterer and she’s so scared from them she won’t watch Hellraiser!

SB : You should try showing it to your grandparents (laughs). “But grandma, its the only film I’ve made!” My mam watched it with her hands over her eyes. “Mam, watch! These are the bits I’m in!” (laughs)

JS – With Nightbreed and Hellraiser – are the fans different in some ways?

SB : I’d say they’re from the same stock. Clive has such a huge amount of fans and he deserves them, he sees life in a different way. I was reading something and, er, actually its in Barbie Wilde’s book (The Venus Complex, Comet Press)…

HR : Just 6.99! (laughs)

SB : …about how outsiders see things differently in life and I think Clive can do that with being gay. He has said that with being gay you grow up being an outsider so you always see life from a different viewpoint. I think that’s true; you always perceive things differently.

NV : With being an outsider and Clive only being a few years older than us…

JS – But you’re ‘only 40′ aren’t you?

NV : (laughs) Yes, you’re so nice! We lived through the AIDS thing; people labelled as monsters certainly helps this stuff from Clive.

SB : Clive grew up as a gay; even as a kid he was an outsider and it made him think “I can go one of two ways, be bullied or become an outsider.” I believe he used that to his advantage.

NV : With your Hellraiser / Nightbreed fans question I think its because were very lucky with Clive. We are lucky to have worked with him and I was lucky enough to work on some of his comics too. I am very grateful to Clive.

SB : You’ve gone on to write ‘What Monsters Do‘ as well!

(Simon cheekily holds up Nicholas’ book. Everyone laughs)

NV : Cheaper than Barbie’s! (laughs) Her’s is thicker mind. More for your money.

HR : You’re planning a sequel too!

NV : Yes, a sequel! ‘Other People’s Darkness and Other Stories‘. Out next month! I should pay you guys commission for mentioning it! (laughs)

JS : Could you talk about the proposed Nightbreed sequel from that time?

SB : It was already in the script. Ready to go.

RC: With some things, they have to make money, and with what happened with the movie stopped Clive on a sequel. However, in the last week he has said he wants to write about the Nightbreed again, and it’s because of The Cabal Cut and the fans. I don’t think we have seen the last of the Nightbreed. There is talk of a TV series; I wont get shot for saying that as it’s been ongoing for a while. You will have more Nightbreed and Clive wants more too.

JS : Thank you for your time everyone, we know you’re very busy so it was great of you to talk to us.

RC : Feel free to record anything later on tonight, too.

JS : Is that permission to get my video-camera out and record bootleg copies of The Cabal Cut to sell?

(laughs)

SB : Its all on tape, they can make their own version!

RC : The Cabal Cut is a bootleg in some ways.

Visit OccupyMidian.com for more info and to find out if a screening is happening near you!
Check out James Watson’s Film Club at The Forum, Darlington

One Comment on “Nightbreed: the Cabal Cut Interview”

  1. Fantastic! I can’t wait to see the Cable Cut! I feel like such a knob for missing it in Dublin last October!

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