February 23, 2015

Nostalgia Time, 23 February 2015: Nightbreed, The Band Concert

Let's celebrate two pop culture anniversaries today: one turning 25 years old, and the other a sprightly 80.

25 years ago Clive Barker's dark fantasy film Nightbreed was released into American cinemas. The film was adapted from his own novel Cabal, and got pretty mercilessly cut and edited by Morgan Creek Productions before it saw released. A rediscovered director's cut has recently been released, and I look forward to checking it out. Even in its original compromised form I have always had a lot of time for Nightbreed. It's an imaginative, atmospheric movie with an early Danny Elfman score, some stunning prosthetic make-up work and an unexpectedly great turn by director David Cronenberg as the film's villain.

Some films you love because they're great. Some films you love because, despite all their flaws and compromises, you can see the great movie looking out from inside. Nightbreed is the second kind of film.

Also celebrating an anniversary today is the Walt Disney animated short The Band Concert. It's bright, it's enthusiastic, it's funny, and most importantly of all it's the first Mickey Mouse cartoon ever produced in colour. Disney was a trailblazer in American animation, and he certainly made an impact with this one. It was directed by Wilfred Jackson, and remains a tremendously entertaining film today - exactly 80 years later. It continues to be cited as one of the all-time greats; Jerry Beck's The 50 Greatest Cartoons claimed it was the third-best cartoon of all time, and the only one in his Top 5 not produced by Warner Bros.

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