Breeders Review

Once upon a time, many years ago, the roar of Leo The Lion heralded the screen adventures of Judy Garland, Ronald Colman, Greer Garson and Clark Gable. It’s certainly a sign of something, if not the times, that the most recent time the MGM lion appeared on my television it was at the beginning of Breeders. That’s not to say that this product of a company so small that even Charles Band regarded it as a slightly amateurish operation is entirely without interest. Indeed, although Breeders is very, very bad indeed, I don’t resent the 73 minutes of my life spent watching it. For one thing, it’s cold outside at this time of year and it’s always nice to spend an evening watching a giant one-eyed lizard rampaging in a low-budget way around New York City. For another, whatever artistic merits the films of the Golden Age of Hollywood may have had, I can’t remember a single one of them which featured six naked women bathing in a tub full of alien lizard spunk.

We open on a dark, dank night in the middle of the city that never sleeps. A woman wearing a leopard-print miniskirt is walking home when she is attacked by a large, one-eyed lizard disguised as a nice old man. Understandably traumatised by this, she ends up in the suspiciously understaffed ‘Manhattan General Hospital’ under the expert eye of Dr Gamble Pace. Dr Pace isn’t happy about what’s going on – indeed, to avoid confusion, she says, “I’m not happy about what’s going on” – and is clearly not thrilled to be followed about by Detective Andriotti, one of New York’s finest but not, sadly, the sharpest knife in the box. Their encounter leads to some interesting dialogue exchanges - “Her body showed some damage from acid”, “What, LSD?”, “No, corrosive acid!” - and Dr Pace establishes her impeccable feminist credentials by informing us that “This is the kind of case which makes me want to kill every man ever born”. This might strike you as not being entirely within the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath but there’s no time to linger on such thoughts as the plot is continually moving ahead. A key revelation is at hand – “Until this happened, every one of these women had been a .... a.... virgin!” Remember that now.

Before we know it, we’re in a modelling studio – a room remarkably similar to the hospital ward but with the bed replaced by a few free-standing lamps. Breeders, by the by, is full of large, empty rooms in which two characters huddle in the middle and explain the plot. The model is not only virgo intacta – as her friend explains, “I brought her here from Wisconsin. This never should have happened” – but also a raving coke fiend. Anyway, she spends her lunch hour doing some gratuitous nude aerobics as the cameraman strains to get a glimpse of her pubic hair, and is, unsurprisingly, the next victim of the dastardly alien lizard rapist. Her friends can’t understand what can have happened, but suspicion falls upon Ted, the gay stylist – “It can’t be Ted raping these women. He’s gay!”, “Maybe... or maybe he’s just REAL clever!”

As the number of virgins living within a 100 metre radius of each other mounts up, the links between them soon becomes apparent. None of them believes in sex before marriage, none of them went to an acting class and, most remarkably, none of them wear even the slightest trace of underwear. They are also slightly lacking in sensitivity. One of them gets advice from her friend – who, it’s suggested, might not be a virgin but is attacked anyway – who tells her, “I know you’ve never had a man in your life but this is no way to find one”, i.e. hanging around the scene of an alien lizard rape waiting for a vaguely eligible cop to interview you. There’s also a valuable health message for us here. This young lady explains her admirable moral stance by saying, “I don’t want to take the chance with just anybody with all the diseases floating round”. Unfortunately, the film somewhat negates this message by indicating that being a virgin might save you from herpes simplex but doesn’t necessarily stop you being chosen as the host of a superior alien race with very badly tailored rubber outfits.

The plot continues with an astounding left-turn – there’s a strange substance on the bodies of each victim which turns out to be brick dust. Not just any brick dust either, but red brick dust that was used to build Manhattan “two hundred years ago, but they ran out”. So the monster must live under the city, but where ? Perhaps closer than anyone suspects. The victims begin to discharge themselves from hospital and wander, naked, down into the caverns beneath New York where they get a chance to wallow in a tank full of alien semen and we find out which of them had a “no pubic hair shots” clause in their contract. Meanwhile, the Doc and the Cop are painstaking piecing the plot together while engaging in one of the most unlikely flirtation scenes in film history – “You don’t know what this case means to me Doctor. When I was seven, my older sister was raped. She never got over it”, “Sorry!”, “When all this is over, do you want to have dinner with me ?”

Tim Kincaid, who both wrote and directed this opus, has an eye for a gory set-piece which livens up the film to the point of sporadic interest. The last twenty minutes, in which we get to see lots more of the alien than would seem wise given the budget, are amusingly gruesome and there’s a baby alien created by no-budget SFX wizard Ed French which is rather good. The film is patently a rip-off of Alien, although it’s got a lot of similarities to Norman J. Warren’s idiotic Inseminoid and the banal Xtro. Kincaid can’t write dialogue or direct actors but he’s got enough energy to make this an enjoyably bad movie rather than unwatchable trash. He also has the sense to keep it short – at 73 minutes, this is one of the briefest pieces of crap I’ve watched in a while, which might go some way to explaining why it’s more diverting than most.

The Disc

Breeders, a film without any following at all as far as I can make out, has been given the usual MGM treatment. Adequate transfer, no extras. If it was retailing for a couple of quid then I’d suggest giving it a go but at £12.99 someone in the higher echelons of MGM’s DVD department must be having a laugh.

The movie is presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 and looks pretty good. Considering the relative mediocrity of the camerawork, I can’t imagine it ever appearing particularly impressive but this transfer is sharp, clean and quite detailed. The soundtrack, which appears to be in mono, is equally adequate for the job. Indeed, the crappy synth soundtrack is rather too well transferred for comfort.

No extras on the disc, nor even proper menus. The film is divided into 16 chapter stops and is subtitled in English and several other languages.

This piece of American rubbish should not, incidentally, be confused with the similarly titled British rubbish which starred Samantha Janus. As alien invasion movies go, it’s not going to give John Carpenter any sleepless nights, but it’s brief enough to be amusing rather than annoying. Indulgent SF/Horror fans – and lovers of attractive women doing naked calisthenics – might consider renting it. Everyone else is probably quite happy to remain in ignorance.

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