Anatomy Of Some Scenes That Didn't Make It...
Nightbreed Deleted Scenes

Ahh, what might have been... With an original running time of well over two hours cut down to just 102 minutes for the eventually-released theatrical cut, Nightbreed is a compromised movie in many respects.

Many of the scenes were cut for pacing reasons, resulting in a rollercoaster ride of a movie at the expense of a good deal of narrative structure, many because certain executives feared audiences would start to root for the "monsters" against the humans (the very point of the movie... it was right there, after all, in the screenplay the studio greenlit...) and many to make way for re-shoots that placed the final movie's focus very firmly on Decker's mass-murderer character.

As a labour of love on our part and drawn from a variety of sources - not least the stunning video footage below, courtesy of best-selling author and all around great guy Craig Spector - we have pieced together two sequences that are otherwise held in the vaults. We're asking for your help on an extended director's cut version here but until a miracle happens and the long-rumoured and long-dreamed-of footage is one day dug out, here's a brief glance at a couple of Nightbreed's "could have beens".

"Fox has 25 minutes that were taken out of the movie, and they're somewhere in some huge warehouse that probably looks like the final shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark. They have promised me over and over again that they will do a special edition and I can put the 25 minutes in and so on, but they've never done anything about it... I'd really love to restore that material, and there's plenty of it. There are a bunch of monsters missing, and there was wonderful work in it. There's a lot of stuff I would like to put back, so the answer is, it's never gone from my head as something to do. It hasn't really worked to simply send letters to Fox, or even have my agents ask questions."

Clive Barker's Dark Plans

By Joe Nazzaro,, 2 December 2004

"Bits of everything [are in the 25 minutes]. Anne Bobby has a song, there's a performance, a two-minute song. There's violence, ten minutes of violent footage."

Darkness And Light

By Mark Schaefer, Penny Blood, Issue 2, Spring 2005

"How cool! Good for you for tracking that down! Thank you. I'd completely forgotten that he was there with a camera. I remember a still camera, I don't remember a video camera."

Mister B.

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 18 June 2007 (note - full text here)

Scene 1
The Posse Versus The Cycle Slut Sisters...

The two sequences both occur during the attack on Midian by the Sons of the Free. The first is part of an extended sequence of violence in the combat between the Posse and the scattering Breed.

The POSSE led by PETTINE invade the entrances to the Necropolis, engaging in hand to hand combat with the BREED.

BOONE races through the Necropolis, finding that other POSSE members are breaking in from other sides.
BOONE: They're everywhere!

The NIGHTBREED CHILDREN hear the sound of slaughter approaching. One of the BREED with enormous, dark eyes, speaks.
LEOPARDO: We can't stay here.
NARCISSE: He told us to.
LEOPARDO: He can't help us. He's too late.

We see the POSSE shooting BREED as they move towards the children. Several are entering doorways that lead undergound.

POSSE enter the Core, firing at anything that moves.

Second draft - December 1988, revised 27 February 1989

The fight sequences involved numerous Breed whose stories were cut from the movie - including a notorious trio played by the inimitable combination of authors Peter Atkins, Craig Spector and John Skipp. The latter pair wrote up a production journal for Gorezone (now enhanced below with previously unpublished photos and video footage) that recorded the sequence of events through the day of their "big scene", starting in the make-up chair...

John Skipp and Craig Spector: "'I'm not satisfied with this at the moment,' Clive frets... Though Bob Keen suggests a nice grey shawl for Peter, Clive is still not satisfied. 'What we also need is just tons of jewellery on these guys,' Clive decides. 'Every bit of jewellery we can get our hands on. I want them to look like 18th-century whores, only dressed in a sort of Indian tradition. You know, just dripping with the stuff.'
"'This level of detail,' Peter inserts, 'it's what make the novels so good, isn't it?' Clive laughs and Bob daubs away."

Always A Breedsmaid, Never A 'Breed

By John Skipp and Craig Spector, Gorezone No 12, March 1990

Clive in the Nightbreed make-up room

Clive in the Nightbreed make-up room, ordering jewellery

John Skipp and Craig Spector: "Skipp sashays in, pallid and dainty and, well, just precious, his ratty ivory Victorian gown swishing behind him. His painted face is cast in lines of perpetual puckered surprise, as if a Betty Boop-ish 'Ooooooo!!!' could escape at any moment. Craig appears behind him, mighty-thewed in his shimmering black strapless evening gown and combat boots, and grins from behind his great twirling mustachio. 'Yo, dudes and dudettes,' he chirrups in masculine falsetto. 'I feel pretty, oh so pretty...'
"In that moment, the Cycle Slut Sisters are born."

Always A Breedsmaid, Never A 'Breed

By John Skipp and Craig Spector, Gorezone No 12, March 1990

The Cycle Slut Sisters

Pete Atkins, Craig Spector and John Skipp, together The Cycle Slut Sisters, in a corridor at Pinewood, singing 'I feel pretty, oh so pretty...'

John Skipp and Craig Spector: "The sudden presence of the Sisters in the Nightbreed production offices temporarily derails business-as-usual, caused a jaw-dropping slippage in producer Chris Figg's normally unflappable British reserve, and prompts supervising producer Gabriella Martinelli to utter an uncharacteristically splendid expletive. And our pitstop by the Cantina caused the grips from the cheesy sci-fi flick next door to wrestle with one of life's big decisions: whether to laugh, buy us a pint or kick the living shit out of us.
"We decide that this power must be used only for good, and a simple walk-on will never do. So, with the help of stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong, we vamp out a scene.
"Perry the stuntman hustles off to wardrobe, destined to join us in Sisterhood. Skipp is wired with squibs across his back and torso, and Spector is given a foam prop sledgehammer. One of us will kill, one will be killed. Ah, symmetry!"

Always A Breedsmaid, Never A 'Breed

By John Skipp and Craig Spector, Gorezone No 12, March 1990

The Cycle Slut Sisters

Pete Atkins relaxing on set.

John Skipp and Craig Spector: "Unit Two sets up to capture the moment. We're supposed to flee the murderous redneck lynch mob who have descended to blow Midian's collective brains out. We rehearse a few times, practicing sledgehammer trajectory and optimum squib/smear impact, not to mention running down stairs in dresses. Then a hush falls over Midian. The cameras roll. Clive gives the word -
"And suddenly we're running, scuttling down a very narrow staircase while a very loud gun fires behind us. Skipp hits the wall as three great seeping holes blow glutinous red out the back of his formal promwear. He slides down and out of frame as Peter and Craig scurry through an open doorway, leaving Perry the hapless stuntsister to get blasted off the cliff, blood spurting through the air behind him.
"Andy empties the clip into the doorway, an explosion of flame and flying brass, then smugly turns to reload just as Peter and Craig come hauling ass back through the door, bloodthirsty 'Breed in demon drag. Peter spins Andy around as Craig deals out a load of sledgehammer vengeance, the force of the blow dragging Craig to the brink as Andy goes hurtling over---
"Then Craig, too, plummets headfirst into the foam-bagged bowels of Midian below!

"Actually, Craig wasn't supposed to go over the cliff. He just got carried away. But that's the way it is on a Clive Barker set. Enthusiasm is the name of the game."

Always A Breedsmaid, Never A 'Breed

By John Skipp and Craig Spector, Gorezone No 12, March 1990

The Posse Versus The Cycle Slut Sisters

The Posse Versus The Cycle Slut Sisters.

Click here for rehearsal and filming of the Sisters fighting the Posse...!

Note: File size = 3.5 MB

Scene 2
Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul...

BOONE and ASHBERRY are on one of the walkways, which are swinging violently. BOONE hears the Berserkers' roar, and heads towards the door that leads into their corridor, leaving Ashberry on the bridge, tears pouring down his face. Then he follows BOONE. As he reaches the ledge he looks back to see a fabulous beast, the MEZZICK-MUUL, and its beautiful rider, DIADARIA, appear. He watches, awestruck.

Second draft - December 1988, revised 27 February 1989

The sequence of a beautiful leopard lady astride a mighty beast has been the stuff of internet message board rumour for years, so here's what we know about it, kicking off with the never-previously-published original storyboards and some video footage taken when the scene was very much planned for inclusion - your host in this clip, Pete Atkins, footage courtesy of Craig Spector... (turn up your volume, the clip's a little quiet)

Pete Atkins on Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul

Click here for footage of Pete Atkins at Pinewood explaining the sequence...

Note: File size = 2.1 MB

Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards

The stop motion animation of Diadaria (originally called Nesta) and the Mezzick-Muul was one of twelve animation sequences initially approved for development under the control of Rory Fellowes as Animation Designer - a similar role to the one he'd taken on Hellbound: Hellraiser 2.

Rory Fellowes animating Diadaria and Mezzick-Muul

Rory Fellowes on-set, animating Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul

Rory has recently and very kindly donated his fascinating production diary and other production materials to us here at Revelations and has set out his memories of his own part in the torrid and troubled Nightbreed shoot - read the full text written by Rory here. On this particular scene he notes his regret that months of work never made it on screen.

Rory Fellowes: "By the time we began to make the animation models the list had been cut to six sequences. We eventually shot tests for five sequences plus a test for an animated make-up concept to be tried on Peloquin and Boone. We went to Final Shoot on three sequences and just two of those made it into the movie.
"The sequences I was most sorry to lose were the transformations of Peloquin and Boone and the sequence involving Diadaria on the Mezzick-Muul (known as Nesta's Beast during production). The shot I was happiest with in the final movie was the Barabus creature, known during production at first, as the Thief, and later during the shoot, as Barabas. The other creature that made the final cut was the flying mouth that avenges the death of Lylesberg. We called it Manta as a manta ray was the basis of the design, which I started but the modeller finished, and that remained its official name. The sequence that went to full dress test but didn't go to final featured a creature called Gobstopper, designed and modelled by Howard Swindell who also made Barabus. It was some sort of compensation for me after the whole sorry saga was over that the two shots that made it to the final cut both started life with my concept drawings.
"At the end of the shoot David Barron called me to his office. By then I was exhausted and had had such a bad time with the management at Image Animation I had given up all hope of defending my position. David asked me what would have happened if they had wanted all six sequences since I had used up all of the schedule to finish three. I didn't answer, or rather, I mumbled in a surly growl, "I'd have asked for more time." As it happens, I still have my production diary. I checked it recently while preparing to write this, and I discovered that out of the 37 days allocated to the final animation shoot, we spent exactly 16½ days actually shooting, while the rest of the time was spent sitting around the Westbury stage waiting for Clive to view and approve or re-direct the rushes. But by then I had lost him and any sense of support from him or from Image Animation. My wonderful cameraman and general all-round right-hand man and ever since then confidant, mentor and life long friend Karl Watkins told me to keep my head down, stop annoying people, and live with the situation. Sound advice I didn't entirely follow. The delays and misunderstandings are all too complex to reconstruct here and anyway what is the point? I wasn't the only one suffering from the shoot. There were people on the crew ready to walk some days. On F Stage during the shoot of the final battle there was so much smoke the crew were staggering outside just to catch their breath. I remember passing by one afternoon and seeing a small crowd gathered by the low wall alongside the stage. The cameraman was there and he was furious, ready to slaughter or anyway sue any producer or director who wandered by. I don't know how the actors stood for it.
"There were four or five months of sculpting, moulding and making the armatured foam latex models before I shot the first tests, and two months more after that before we began the Principal Shoot. Everyone at Image Animation was working all the hours God sends six and, during the actual shoot, seven days a week. And I do mean all the hours: a basic 18 hour day often ran on to anything up to a snatched nap in the studio before starting the next day's work. The animation was turning into a gruelling slog as we tried to achieve a perfection of movement that only CG has managed since. I have a note in my Nightbreed archive in which I have written down a calculation of the time required for two minutes of finished film. I must have written it before actual shooting of the animation began. It takes as its basis a production rate of 5 frames an hour or 50 frames per day. My actual average across all the final production shots we completed was closer to 30 frames per day, And on the Barabus shot I was getting about 12 frames per day, or a little less than one frame per hour (we were working around 10 to 14 hours a day when we were shooting)...
"The fact is we were too late for stopmotion and too early for CG. We were trying, with our triple exposures and video cross-referencing, all our clever schemes and techniques, to get around the limitations of stopmotion. This wasn't like the days of Ray Harryhausen, when the stopmotion was part of the charm and appeal of the movie and usually a central feature of the production. We had a few seconds on screen, it was meant to be invisible, and Gods bless us, we more or less managed that in the two shots that Clive used (and we got pretty close as I recall, in the Mezzick-Muul shots, if that sequence is ever released). But it probably came at too much of a cost: too much for the production (I dread to think what the money to seconds ratio was like); for my self-esteem (though I got that back quickly enough. You don't survive in film if your self-esteem is not robust); and for the job satisfaction of my crew, though I am sure none of them regrets the experience."

The Making of Nightbreed - An Entirely Personal Memoir

By Rory Fellowes, February 2009 (note: read the full text here).

Nightbreed - Scene 230 Storyboards

Rory Fellowes's storyboards for the Diadaria scene - note the enforced revision down from 35 seconds to 15 seconds before the sequence was cut entirely.

The photos below run from initial sculpts through to an on set photo of the scene being shot and, finally, a formal photo that looks a little to us like it might have been planned for the Nightbreed Chronicles photo book.

An early sculpt of Mezzick-Muul

An early sculpt of Mezzick-Muul

Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul

Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul

An up-close shot of Diadaria in the Image Animation workshop

An up-close shot of Diadaria in the Image Animation workshop

Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul

Diadaria and the Mezzick-Muul

In Conclusion...

This ongoing research has only served to heighten our appetite for someone to actively dig out and assemble the footage that we now understand lies safely in in Morgan Creek's vaults... We still dream of a full, unexpurgated version of Nightbreed being released - and...
of course, since we wrote this page, first there has been the discovery of a two VHS workprints and, more recently, the whole Cabal Cut reassembly of Nightbreed from the theatrical release and the workprints, and a subsequent US Director's Cut release - see here...!

Huge thanks in particular to Craig Spector (visit his site here) for his kind help and generosity in allowing us to present his unique behind the scenes footage and to Rory Fellowes (visit his site here) for his candour and unique insight into the creative process on Nightbreed and the often difficult trials that serve to limit the creative process when making movies. We're grateful to you both.

Click here for Anatomy of Nightbreed's opening scene
Click here for Anatomy of Nightbreed's closing scenes

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