Within the subcultures of Clive Barker film-fandom, there are two “lost scenes” that have been perused with Holy Grail-caliber fervor: The infamous “surgery” scene from Hellbound: Hellriaser II and a steamy “love scene” between demonic Peloquin (Oliver Parker) and sexy, quilled Shuna Sassi (Christine McCorkindale) from Nightbreed. While the first has been unearthed and reassembled (with questionable results) on the recent Hellraiser: Scarlet Box collection, fans were seriously disheartened when the Director’s Cut of Nightbreed was released in 2014 without the “lost” love scene’s inclusion.
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The official word from Barker’s camp was that Nightbreed’s love scene was unsalvageable because there was no audio for it. But this answer was unsatisfying, as modern filmmaking techniques exist that could have easily remedied such an issue (i.e. voiceover, et al). Months after the film’s reissue, however, restoration producer Mark Alan Miller gave a very different (and slightly shocking) explanation.
“There was no audio for the scene, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. It was never a part of the story itself, it was never a plot point, it had no place in the film. It was only filmed for the intro, on one of those random days when Image Animation did their thing and the actors were improvising and doing fun, gnarly stuff in character. You know the title sequence, where the word ‘Nightbreed’ flashes across the screen, and behind the letters you see the monsters doing things that you don’t see in any version of the film, like Peloquin’s jaw unhinges, and there’s all these radical things happening? It was just one of those things; there was a lot of footage shot just to go behind the title sequence. But the title sequence already existed, and we didn’t want to mess with it. I think a lot of people think there’s this whole subplot we cut between Peloquin and Shuna Sassi, but…”
The idea that the love scene was never part of the screenplay left many feeling a “Mandela Effect” effect, so to speak. Rumors of the scene’s existence have existed for as long as the film itself. And even if the scene was the product of actors improvising, it’s astonishing that Barker wouldn’t have identified this interaction as cinematic gold. Not only is monster love sexy as hell, it adds volumes of subtext to both characters, especially fan-favorite Peloquin.
While seduction is clearly part of Shuna Sassi arsenal, it’s a window into Peloquin’s soul. The dreadlocked enforcer is presented as completely sinister, always threatening and potentially dangerous. Even a hint at a relationship with Shana, just a few moments, would have revealed the fiend to be a complex being, as capable of love as violence. It’s a powerful reminder never to judge books by their covers, while erasing the arbitrary boundaries between humans and monster—and wasn’t that one of Nightbreed’s intentions: Proving that so-called monsters can be more human than humans?
So while we must resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll never see proof of love between Peloquin and Shuna in an official Nightbreed release, a talented uber-fan has given the Tribes of the Moon what they have so long desired.
A YouTuber identified only as Aaron Boone (the name of the main character in Nighbreed, played by Craig Sheffer) has reassembled the “lost” love scene through various sources. What’s more, the elusive filmmaker disputes Miller’s claim that the scene was never intended to be part of the film:
Contrary to what has been said about this scene, it actually WAS in the screenplay and was probably cut for pure pacing reasons. I cut this together using bits and pieces found on the ‘Tribes Of The Moon’ documentary found on the Director’s Cut DVD of Nightbreed. I understand there was no synch sound for a lot of the film footage, so I’ve just played some appropriate soundtrack music underneath.
However, here is the scene as written in the final draft of the screenplay, which can be found easily through a quick google search.
136. INT. MIDIAN CENTRAL CORE
Ominous rumblings urge them on, as Boone and Lori make a stumbling ascent through the core, trailing Ohnaka’s urgent lead, watched from the doorways by a variety of creatures. We cut to the ledge, and move to a chamber, where Peloquin and Shuna Sassi are making love. Peloquin hears Lori urging Boone on as they struggle across the bridge, and looks away from Shuna, out through the door.
PELOQUIN: Well, well…
He goes to the door.
PELOQUIN [cont.]: Guess he couldn’t take the heat.
SHUNA SASSI: I dreamt him. He’s strong.
PELOQUIN: That’s only because the bite was mine.
SHUNA SASSI: No, don’t you see? He’s the one from the prophesies. Cabal. The seventh saviour.
PELOQUIN: So why’s he leaving?
SHUNA SASSI: Everything has its purpose. Maybe he hasn’t learned to hate his tribe enough. He’ll be back.
Peloquin kisses her.
While “Boone’s” recreation doesn’t include any dialog, it’s absolutely astonishing. Nothing about it would look out of place in Barker’s Director’s Cut. And while the results are immensely satisfying, it makes the scene’s exclusion from 2014’s Nighbreed a complete mystery. Have a look and I think you’ll agree: It’s close to perfect!
If you enjoyed this video, you’re not alone; Christine McCorkindale, the actress who played Shana Sassi, gushed over it:
“Wowwowwow! I had so much fun making this scene, and was so disappointed to see it cut from the theatrical release. At least there are snippets of it in the Director’s Cut.Thank you. Seeing this means a lot to me!”
If you’re not familiar with the cult phenomenon Nightbreed, check out the trailer and synopsis for the 2014 Director’s Cut below.
Official Synopsis: Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) is haunted by terrifying nightmares of a city of monsters. He goes to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg), for help. But what Boone doesn’t know is that Decker is really a serial killer. Decker frames Boone to take the fall for his murders, and Boone is killed by the police. But Boone is brought back to life by the monsters of his dreams, the Nightbreed, who in turn join Boone in his quest to stop Decker from killing again.