It's really a bit paradoxical, but Danny Elfman has never done a pure, serious horror score. Nightbreed comes close, but even this one is filled with the kind of burlesque humour and tongue-in-cheek feel all of Elfman's scarier scores contains. Most of the frightening moments are delivered with a twinkle in the eye. Some of the action cues and the main, choral theme (a superb, ingenious four note motif), are dark and ominious but Elfman never leaves the tonal, melodic base of the score. Nightbreed begins with the kind of choral "sense-of-wonder"-music you would expect in this kind of film, but Elfman adds some unusual elements into the fabric, notably pan flute which gives the introduction a very special atmosphere. This is very much what it's all about: adding the unexpected to well-known cliches. In the case of Nightbreed, Elfman adds a "Carnival from Hell" dimension to the score. All in all, Nightbreed is a pretty entertaining and listenable score, although some of the action material is a bit messy. The "End Credits" cue features the thematic material in its most developed form, and also brings the score to a surprisingly beautiful resolution.