Despite being primarily a literary artist, Neil Gaiman is the kind of author connects well with the audiovisual medium even if it has a style and works that are complicated to bring to said medium. That is explained because, first, Gaiman is a splendid storyteller, and that can be transferred well to any medium as long as the same intention is had. Comic, illustration, cinema, etc.
This multifaceted character connects him well with other multifaceted artists. As is the case with Clive Barker, to whom he not only joins a good friendship or being part of a generation of British artists as brilliant as they are extravagant, but also share a sensibility for the creation of supernatural or dark fantasy worlds, in addition to ambition to use these worlds to comment on the strength of the union and the community. It is something that is in the undervalued jewel ‘night races‘.
the lords of the night
This movie is available to watch on Netflix (although only for a limited time since September 1 comes out of the catalog) and it is a wonderful piece that revalues the figure of the monsters, which Barker presents in a different way, just as he did in his influential ‘Hellraiser’.
This resignification of dark myths is something that also connects with the author of ‘Sandman’, who makes an unexpected cameo in the director’s cut of this movie -and Barker would return the favor later with punctual collaborations in the Gaiman comic-.
The film follows a young man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer), considered a patient with unstable mental health. haunted by terrible and recurring nightmares that his doctor (an amazing and wonderful David Cronenberg) tries to make him believe that they are symptoms of a serial killer. But Boone manages to escape his surveillance and the pursuit of the police, hiding in an abandoned cemetery.
Or that you think it’s abandoned. Unintentionally, he finds access to the underground city of Midian, where the races of the night live. These bizarre, mutated, monstrous, hellish creatures who have been hidden for centuries, they pose no threat at all and they take young Boone into their fold, even opening up the possibility of becoming a full-fledged night race.
‘Night races’: imaginative and unique
Just the kind of movie that would be a nightmare for a major studio like 20th Century Fox, which produced the film, and not because of the film’s horror genre or outlandish monster designs. The type of film that, due to tone and story, they don’t have much idea of how to sell, and therefore seek alterations to bring it closer to a more salable aspect. That’s why Barker criticized the studio for trying to make it look like a violent slasher..
And it is not surprising, since his approach to monsters is celebratory and accepting, showing the positive of a community that embraces what defines it and is strengthened in the union (and making a clear allegory of the gay community to which Barker belongs). All without giving up touches of macabre humor or terrifying fantasy. Just the kind of details that make it as unsaleable as it is suggestive and daring. An interesting piece to rescue while it is available in streaming.