Psychotic shrink Decker (Cronenberg) and racist police chief Eigerman (Haid) are icons of modern evil; the Nightbreed are a variegated tribe of shape-shifters, whose subterranean lair is attacked and overrun by the genocidal forces of law and order. Caught in the cultural crossfire are confused, colourless hero Boone (Sheffer) and transparently doomed love interest Lori (Bobby). Convinced by Decker that he is a serial killer, Boone panics, escapes from custody and heads for Midian, a mythical necropolis to which he feels drawn by an inexorable fate. Pursued by Decker's homicidal alter ego, Boone unwittingly fulfils an ancient prophecy... In adapting his own novella Cabal, Barker aims for a carnival feel, a breathless ghost-train ride through a fantastical world of grotesquely glamorous monsters. For all their dangerous exoticism, however, none of the myriad monsters has an identity that is more than skin deep. Barker calls his shambolic, uninvolving narrative 'scattershot'; put less kindly, it's as explosive and directionless as a blunderbuss.
Cast and crew