Breeders (1997)
Breeders (1997)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.

Release Date: October 21st, 1997 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Paul Matthews Actors: Todd Jensen, Samantha Janus, Kadamba Simmons, Oliver Tobias, Nigel Harrison, Melanie Walters, Katy Lawrence, Richard Harrington, Amanda Prothero-Thomas

 


 

R

eally, really, really bad special effects compose the opening title moments, full of unconvincing planets, unnaturally moving spaceships, and glittering 3D lettering. It looks like something made for television, but with an exceptionally limited budget. But then, when a meteor strikes the Earth, there’s an explosion – which means that the producers could accommodate at least that much. And, as the smoke clears, the titular alien is shown almost in its entirety; clearly, this remake isn’t concerned with surprises.

The following morning, as the police come to investigate the damage from the meteor, it’s revealed that the impact location was near a girl’s college in Boston, filled with conspicuously attractive young women and a handsome male teacher, Ashley (Todd Jensen), who is immediately hit on by the students – not unlike Professor Jones from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He also takes numerous opportunities to stare at the legs of his newest volunteer assistant, Louise (Samantha Janus), a blonde who is utterly incapacitated by the appearance of a mouse – which sets the stage for an innocent coffee-date compensation. This, of course, segues into the two of them making their way back to his place, where, after sex, he studies a fleshy, face-like piece of rock recovered from the crash site.

Meanwhile, when Jack the janitor (Richard Harrington) snoops around the premises, he discovers a mysterious woman (Kadamba Simmons) with half of her face covered in scars – and her slender figure clad in black leather – who seemingly appeared from the debris of the crash. He doesn’t live long enough to uncover her true origins, however, as the enormous, reptilian “breeder” monster tears a hole in his chest. Later, when principal Ms. Roper (Melanie Walters) and several students (including Myra, played by Katy Lawrence, who is given a handful of speaking lines) are attacked by the ravenous brute, it’s up to Ashley – of all people – to get to the bottom of it.

“Everything’s gotten so weird.” There’s also a missing-persons detective (Oliver Tobias) working on the case, though he doesn’t actually do any investigating around the institution. Instead, he dons a black cowboy hat and a thick trench coat, smokes a cigarette, and makes generic allegations about how the current disappearances are each linked to Ashley. But if anyone is terribly unfitting, it’s Jensen in the lead role, as he can barely keep a straight face during every single delivery. It’s obvious that he thinks his character – and this film – is an absolute joke. And, with the outrageously poor scripting, he’s not far off. The dialogue is consistently laughable, especially when the characters argue over whether or not the culprit is a monster or an alien, and when Ashley happens to witness the extraterrestrial woman tailing the hulking beast. “You look like one of the new students.” Additionally, the inclusion of a locker room scene, for the sake of showing a bevy of girls prancing around and giggling in the nude, is particularly indicative of this B-movie’s exploitive tendencies and cheap enticements.

Copying one of the best details from effective monster movies, however, the alien design is covered in an inordinate amount of slime. But it’s not enough to conceal the rubbery qualities of the costume, or the unconvincing immobility of the man-in-a-suit imagery. At times (and to its credit), the entity resembles the Pumpkinhead demon, which isn’t such a bad thing. Proceeding to steal from several other sci-fi thrillers of the ’80s, a squadron of troopers descend into the creature’s dimly lit, subterraneous lair, with Sergeant Horace (Nigel Harrison) acting tough and cursing at his men as they’re picked off one by one. Inexplicably, girls are hypnotized and cocooned in goop (an undeniable rip of “Aliens”); the mystery woman keeps showing up to alternately aid the monster and help the humans; and Louise arms herself with an arsenal of police weaponry stored in a random cruiser. Even with all the derivativeness and storytelling deficiencies (and mediocre sound effects and bad music), most unforgivable of all is the pacing, which allows for far too much time to pass in between sequences of suspense. In the end, “Breeders” is more offensively boring than anything else.

– Mike Massie

  • 1/10