Review: 29 Years on, Nightbreed (and David Cronenberg) Gets an Action Figure
For those who’ve never seen it, Clive Barker‘s Nightbreed plays like a horror-tinged X-Men. At a certain age, protagonist Boone starts developing special abilities. He’s convinced he’s a monster, notably by his doctor, Decker. But it turns out Decker is secretly a serial killer framing Boone — and Boone flees to the city of Midian, where other powered monsters dwell. Despite persecution from the small-town residents nearby.
Particularly in the recently released director’s cut, Nightbreed plays the persecuted minority card heavier than X-Men, as an obvious metaphor for small-town LGBT folks who find themselves in the bigger urban areas. It’s a massive in-joke that the real monster, normal human Dr. Decker, dons a monstrous mask to kill. And he’s played by horror directing icon David Cronenberg.
Nightbreed is full of creative mutations (see the card insert above), and fans have asked for toys for decades now. It’s ironic that the most normal-looking of the bunch finally became the first to get a figure. But fitting, since a Cronenberg figure has more cache than one of star Craig Sheffer. And there’s something more creepy about “Buttonface” than most of the actual Nightbreed. They’re crazy creatures, but he’s almost normal in that nice suit. And yet…not.
Decker comes in plastic clamshell packaging that NECA says is resealable, but I’ve never managed to get open without destroying. Maybe with a lot of patience, it can be separated cleanly, but sooner or later, however well I try, there’s always a jagged crack somewhere. He’s loaded with accessories. A briefcase opens up to carry two knives and a straight razor, while the remaining long knife and machete can be held in his silver gloves.
The figure uses a generic body, which is how the company keeps costs down for niche licenses. Headsculpts on this series tend to be softer on the likeness, but since this figure is only trying to recreate a mask, that’s no issue. Cronenberg’s rights were presumably not included, but the mask recreation is as heavy on the detail as anything NECA does.
The suit, at this scale, will obviously be a tad loose. But in general it hangs well, and the tie doesn’t get weird. The toy could even double as a figure from The Strangers among your less-cultured horror friends. For fans of the likes of Living Dead Dolls, which use traditional doll styles and infuse them with horror, this fits right in. Albeit in a different (8-inch) scale. He’ll run you between $30-$40.
Now, how the heck did he ever see through that thing? Or is it like Coraline, where living in the other world requires buttons for eyes? The answer is that as long as it looks cool, and seems functional within the movie itself, none of the rest matters.
Peep at more images of the demented doctor in our gallery below. Will you covet this Cronenberg collectible? Comment beneath and channel your thoughts.
Review: Nightbreed (and David Cronenberg) Finally Gets an Action Figure