Clive Barker's monster-filled 1990 flop is reborn with a new director's cut

By Clark Collis
October 24, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

The day after the release of author and director Clive Barker’s 1990 film, Nightbreed, was one of his darkest moments. ”It was the first time I ever contemplated putting an end to my life,” he says. ”I’m exaggerating — I would never have done that. But I felt like it was a total f—ing waste of my time.”

The film, which concerns a group of freakish-looking but mostly well-meaning monsters, was a box office failure and far removed from Barker’s original vision, thanks to alterations and extensive cuts ordered by studio Morgan Creek. ”Morgan Creek said, ‘We hate this crap,’ and took it all apart,” says Barker. Twenty-four years later, horror imprint Scream Factory is releasing a ”director’s cut” on Blu-ray, which incorporates long-lost footage recently found in a storage facility in the Midwest. ”It was beyond emotional,” he says about watching the restoration.

Barker, 62, retired from directing after 1995’s Lord of Illusions — which Scream Factory will also release on Blu-ray this December — because he’d had it with Hollywood egos. ”Life’s too short to deal with a–holes,” he says. But he remains a prolific writer. He’s just finished a second draft of a screenplay for Hellraiser, a proposed remake of his debut film, for Bob Weinstein at Dimension Films. ”We’re waiting for Bob to come back to us and see when we’re going to actually make the movie,” he says.

Barker is lucky to be waiting for anything. Two years ago he almost died when, as a result of dental work, he suffered toxic shock and slipped into a coma. ”I’ve always burned the candle at both ends, and maybe I paid the penalty for that,” he says. ”[But] I feel great now.”