I started watching ‘Pat’ Barker’s Nightbreed on TV one night but, being insufficiently sophisticated, I scoffed at it and switched it off. History has exposed me, like Genghis Khan and Tony Blair, as an incorrigible donkey’s arse. I know that atonement is a slow and arduous journey, but let this review of the film make a few steps in that direction nonetheless.

Hurry, hurry. Hark! the midnight orisons are beginning. See, the shadows fidget and fanny about in the shadows. The bloodfeast is about to begin. Yes, yes, sit down, have a bloodbeaker, sink your gumless, infernal teeth into this man’s nose. Welcome friends, welcome. This is ‘Pat’ Barker’s Nightbreed, and you are his guests.

This film… no, no, that’s all wrong. Sorry ‘Pat’. This primordial roar from the bloody bowels of Pandemonium (Pandemonium doesn’t get much roughage in its diet) will molest your dreams with dark incantations in the forgotten tongue of demonsprache. You will sit agog and agape as the hero, Strong McDangerCool puts on a leather jacket and does a frightening dance in a cave with a malevolent bum-faced troll. You will squirm and perspire as Strong arm-wrestles with a murderous goblin for honour and for the fate of reality.

Everyone knows the old adage that you are never more than twenty feet away from a demon. But how many of us really know it, not just with our brains and minds, but with our spleens and our eyebrows, with our hearts and with our nostrils? Very few, I imagine. But ‘Pat’ Barker (so named because he ‘shits like a cow and shouts like Cerberus’, according to his autobiography)* knows this in every portion of his person. And he wants you to know it too.

This primordial roar etc. is a film for our times, even though it was made in 1990 (before lasers, magic and irony had been invented). It shows us that sometimes what is evil can be cool, and that sometimes what is good and virtuous can be irritating and stupid. Demons are not in fact snotty, leprous undesirables, but are in fact streetwise and savvy, like skateboarders and people who do elaborate high fives. It is not a coincidence that ‘wicked’ means both immoral and rad. There is a very good reason for it, which will have to remain unspecified. And you can’t argue with etymology, buddy. So don’t try.

* I have subsequently learned that he is not called Pat at all, but Clive. He does shit like a cow though. Big horrid cow-pats.


6 Responses to “Nightbreed”

  1. oldrope Says:

    You are a machine. You eat nowt but pocorn and do nowt but not watch films and write about them. Soon you will be reviewing films at a quota that would render it impossible to watch them in the same amount of time. This would, of course, be entirely in keeping with the ideals of the AR, but it does pose some curious philosophical questions. Such as, if I have a shit in the woods, why does it stink so fucking bad?

  2. Banjo Fett Says:

    This is a fascinating entry, JLB. As a teen I was in love with the possibilities that Ronnie Barker’s Nightbreed presented. I was simultaneously aware that the James Dean type main character was a complete tit. This blog entry perfecly captures that dichotomy, while riffing on the nature of good and evil AND making a chortle-worthy shitting gag along the way. Keep it up.

  3. John Le Baptiste Says:

    Thanks chums. Curiously, the lead actor, Craig Sheffer, ended up playing a little dumpy uncle in One Tree Hill. I discuss his role at length in my recently-published monograph on the series: ‘One Tree, Many Cretins’.

    It’s rare that I say this but I really should watch that film. What little I saw was so fantastically cheesy I suspect it would be right up my street. On that note I’ve just been rewatching Lynch’s Dune. Gotta love that spice melange.

  4. Banjo Fett Says:

    Ooh, yeah. I love a bit of spice, me. There’s nothing I like more than a big plate of spice melange and an evening of folding space. Fabbo!

  5. John Le Baptiste Says:

    I feel like the Spice Girls would have fared better if they would have explored the Dune connection a bit more. Perhaps they could even have employed a gigantic spice worm and called it Wormy Spice.

  6. Banjo Fett Says:

    If you wanna harvest melange,
    You better get next to me,
    Watch out for the Freemen,
    They’re led by Paul Mua’dib!

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