I'm changing it up a little and picking another movie (Meet the Feebles being the last one) that is already available on DVD... well at least 108 minutes of it are. As many horror fans already know, two versions of Nightbreed exist. One being 108 minutes and readily available on a bare-bones DVD release. The other is a 159 minute directors extended cut of the film.
Clive Barker has stated numerous times that he is quite disappointed with the theatrical cut of the film. For years he has wanted to release his intended extended version of the film. Over a year ago, it seemed like it would only be a few months before a Nightbreed Director's Cut would hit store shelves. Unfortunately, all of that came to halt shortly after.
Back in March 2010, HorrorHound magazine tracked down a 159 minute VHS work-print and screened it at their HorrorHound Weekend. Many thought that would lead right into a remastered DVD release. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
I'm going to just copy exactly what Clive Barker's website has to say about everything. This was the last statement from his official website regarding the Nightbreed extended version....
It’s been a little over a year since our good friend Mark Miller was told by someone at Morgan Creek that Nightbreed’s “missing” footage was in fact safely stored in their vaults, simply needing a reason to dig it out – but that no-one at the company could see a reason to do so.As soon as we heard that the near-mythical footage had survived, we asked for your help to show how much support exists for a director’s cut of the movie.
Over that period – during which Clive located two VHS workprints containing an hour of cut footage, one of which Morgan Creek authorised for a screening at HorrorHound last March – more than 2,000 people have added their names to the ‘Release Nightbreed’ petition on this page, as well as spreading the word in magazines, on news sites and blogs and at conventions.
A huge, huge thank you to each and every one of you from Clive and ourselves: your support has been instrumental in moving Morgan Creek from an initial “there’s no interest” position on releasing an extended DVD or Bluray to one where they have actually been into the vaults to pull out the footage…
…and that’s where the good news turns bad...
We’ve just had the following conversation with Morgan Creek:
Morgan Creek: “So I have a bit of sad news to relay. After MUCH digging, hunting and trying our best to unearth where (if at all) the missing Nightbreed footage might be, we’ve come up empty handed. Therefore, that VHS that was screened at the convention is the ONLY footage that exists of a director’s cut.”
Revelations: “Wow, that's tough news! A year ago we had no idea whether or not the footage still even existed and it was only when we heard the company knew exactly where it was that we and Clive even got up hopes to be able to construct an extended cut of the movie. Sounds like the initial comments to Mark were unduly optimistic?”
Morgan Creek: “Unfortunately yes – we were wrong about this one.”
There’s not much that can sweeten a blow like this when so many hopes have been so raised…
We’ve given the news to Clive and will be talking more with him about whether this might be a final death knell for a true extended Nightbreed. In the meantime, again prompted by your visible and vocal support, Morgan Creek have offered us access to all the Nightbreed material they have and have granted us permission to pull this together into a comprehensive illustrated anniversary book about the movie. We’ll draw on this as well as on unpublished material in Clive’s archive and we’ve started discussions on whether this package might gain permission to include a release of the workprint too…
At this point, we and Clive and Mark need to again thank everyone who has been moved to support Nightbreed so eloquently. That passion has not been wasted and has motivated a studio to spend time and effort looking to rescue the lost work of filmmakers who shared a heavenly vision of monsters… We’ve not given up all hope…
So there you have it folks, this may truly be one MIA on DVD we'll never see realized in a remastered Blu-ray/DVD release. Still, if Warner Bros. has the courage, I think they should release the theatrical version on Blu-ray and include the entire extended edition on a bonus DVD, even if it is only a VHS print.
The movie is also dying for a commentary with Clive Barker. I've also heard there is plenty of behind-the-scenes footage to create a making-of documentary.
Here's some possible artwork they could use on a new DVD release...
US One-Sheet - also used for the VHS release
Artwork by Ralph McQuarrie
If they ever decide to re-release the movie on Blu-ray or the extended version, I would be happy if they used the original one-sheet/VHS artwork or alternatively the artwork from the Thai release. Truly an amazing piece of artwork. If I ever hear of a DVD/Blu-ray release of Nightbreed, I will be sure to post it here in a heartbeat.