The Bad Movie Report

by Special Guest Dungeonmaster

Howard Paul Burgess

There are few more things less encouraging when looking for a horror movie to rent than an elaborate box, usually a warning that the movie inside needs all the help it can get. Breeders comes in a nice 3-D box with a raised image on the cover. The unwary are supposed to run their fingers over the box and think, boy, this must really be great to have such a terrific package.

Breeders starts off well with an alien spacecraft making its way from behind the moon to Earth under the opening titles. The opening titles don't do a lot for us, though, because none of the names are familiar- for reasons we'll discuss later.

And the movie literally starts off with a bang. The spacecraft crash lands on the campus of a small school near Boston.

And this is where its worst problems start, too. Although the location is stated as being near Boston, we aren't told how near and it seems that this is really on the other side of the Atlantic. First of all there's much mention in the credits about the Isle of Man. And British movies have a look about them, something about the architecture, the light, and the colors.

This wouldn't be so obvious except that the film's makers do subtle things like having two characters take cab rides in vehicles marked Boston Cab Company and a huge gas storage tank has huge markings announcing it as belonging to the Boston Gas Company. And there are many representatives of the Boston Police Department, who are presented here as being so stunningly stupid that they would have filed a class action against the film's makers had this been an American production.

As noted earlier, the spacecraft lands smack dab in the middle of a school campus. A small school. Darned small. There seem to be fewer than two dozen students in the whole school and there seems to be only one teacher. But the alien is in luck. Darned if this isn't a WOMEN's school. And readers, you'll never guess why he's come to this planet.

Well, the film is called Breeders. And sure enough, he's come here to produce more of his own kind.

This is the third film I've seen on this theme. Tommy Kirk was in the first two, Pajama Beach Party and the immortal Mars Needs Women. And now Breeders comes to boldly confront those questions left unanswered by Mars Needs Women.

People on campus start to disappear. No big deal, as far as everyone figures. So what if what they think to be a meteor crashes into the middle of campus and then people vanish? I guess it's too much to ask for people to put these events together. Ignoring these things must be linked to the universal impulse to go into dark houses and creepy forests armed with only a flashlight.

At the crash site there are chunks of metal that the students pick up and make jewelry from. And golly but the unearthly metal starts to make people act strange.

Louise (Samantha Janus) is the coed who starts to figure out that things aren't quite right. She tells her boyfriend Ashley (Todd Jensen) her suspicions and he finally starts to believe her.

Ashley is in an interesting situation. He seems to be the only teacher in the school. He teaches art, which we can figure to be the only class taught. And he's living with Louise on campus, and nobody seems to notice. If I were a student living on campus and taking only one class, I'd have plenty of time to notice what other people are doing.

Meanwhile there's a gorgeous young lady (Kadamba Simmons) wearing a kinky leather outfit and appearing and disappearing around the campus. Wanna bet that she's connected to the aliens.

Eventually the police are summoned. And, sure enough, they figure that Ashley is the guilty party. But there is a maze of tunnels under the campus to explore, so about half a dozen officers are dispatched to see what's going on. Amazingly, the police car parked on campus attracts very, very little attention. A couple of coeds speak to them, but mostly the police car could be invisible.

So here are the police, underground, searching for clues. And they do what any one of us couldn't wait to do if we were in an unmarked tunnel in an area where people have mysteriously been disappearing.

I want to see where this goes, so I'm going off all by myself around this corner and out of sight into the darkness where I can find this seven or eight foot high monster and make him feel welcome on our planet.

Hey, I'm dumb, but not that dumb. But at least they're armed.

So eventually the monster gets all of the police. It's obvious that they had been down there a long time. At one point we see the police car in full daylight. Shortly thereafter a character looks out the
window at the car, and it's night. Boom. Continuity is the stuff of small minds.

Eventually it's cleared up what the alien is doing on Earth. The girls will lose control of their wills and become mindless zombies and have fertilized alien eggs implanted in them. This at least eliminates the inter-species relationship which could be disturbing to some more genteel souls. But it also makes one wonder about the purpose of a protracted scene of the girls in the shower with water from the drain dripping down into the tunnels and, presumably, driving the alien mad with lust.

Ashley returns to his apartment to find Louise turned into a zombie by the stone she wears around her neck. She tries to kill him, but he pulls the stone off her and darned if she doesn't come to her senses. Remember that. It will be important in a few paragraphs.

Now that Louise has come to her senses, she and Ashley go to check out what's going on. Since there's been an explosion and people are acting very strangely, this seems to be a good idea. All of the other students (all dozen or so of them) are marching with blank stares. If it weren't for the fact that all of them are wearing glowing green stones, we'd simply assume that they were returning from a Hanson concert. But they turn mean and attack Ashley and Louise.

Now you remember that two paragraphs ago, Ashley simply pulled Louise's necklace off and she came back to her senses. No such luck for the other girls. Soon every one of them has been killed: shot, karate chopped, forced to listen to Spice Girls cd's (oops, that's not death, it's the fate worse than....) and lie dead in the tunnels. Louise is disturbed that all of her classmates have been killed, but Ashley simply assures her that they were already dead. Whatever.

The alien isn't happy about this. Soon things are blowing up. As they said on the Farm Film Report on SCTV, they blow up real good.

And, presumably, the alien blows up too. At this point Ashley, Louise, one policeman (who, up til now, hadn't believed in ufo's), and the girl in the leather outfit are surveying the damage. Suddenly streaks of light go across the sky. Alien ships are leaving the Boston area, hopefully headed for another planet.

And this leaves Ashley and Louise to walk off into the sunset, uh, excuse me, sunrise. There could be another story with the girl in the leather outfit and the cop. He's a doofus who wears ugly ties and a hat like you wouldn't believe: maybe she can do a makeover on him.

It's hard to be too tough on Breeders because it has some good actors in it, the special effects are ok, and it has nice photography. The two leads have both done lots of films. Todd Jensen has been in several movies made in Europe or South Africa that got American release- Cyborg
, a film of Stephen King's short story The Mangler, and Woman of Desire. Samantha Janus seems to have built herself a solid resume of parts doing action and comedy films and tv shows in England. It's hard to tell if Breeders will advance their careers or be the dark secret in their closets.

The big problem with Breeders, though, is that it's deathly dull. The shower scenes and explosions seem to be a desperate attempt to wake people up. Maybe this would have been a good Outer Limits episode- at maybe 45 minutes. But at an hour and 34 minutes it drags, drags, drags. With so few students at the school, we could have gotten to know some of them better so that there would be some sense of peril to people we might actually care about. But as is, they are just faceless furniture.

Several other films have had the title Breeders. Most video stores have at least three different ones, all of them probably approaching the same concept. Chances are that any one you rent will be more interesting than this one.

On a five scale, Pops very generously gives Breeders one half of a green rock.


The only thing bred here is contempt.

- December 13, 1998