BREEDERS. Veeery politically incorrect sci-fi horror
… in Hollywood, and the loudest opposition in the history of this industry – might seem at least inappropriate. However, let’s not be swayed by “political correctness” because we may lose an important tool that provokes discussion – the stick. A stick used to poke the anthill.
I put “political correctness” in quotation marks because there is no uniform definition for it; for everyone, it may mean something different. In a broad sense, it involves making every effort not to offend various social groups. An important element – often overlooked, and its absence makes “political correctness” perceived as censorship by many – is the “justice” of judgments. It would be unjust to stop a driver, subject him to inspection, and issue a ticket just because of the color of his skin; it would be fair to perform the same actions if he exceeds the speed limit regardless of how he looks. One could argue for a long time about the essence of justice and its definition, but in the context of Breeders, it’s important that the violence of the rubber creature from another planet applied to innocent Earth women is not the goal in itself. Yes, it is portrayed through the lens of B-movie tackiness, and for this reason, it may amuse, but Tim Kincaid (director and screenwriter in one) did not write an instruction manual but a warning.
“Model, actress, reporter, nurse… all beautiful, but for the invaders from space, they are just… Breeders” – today, no one would dare to propose such an advertising slogan, but on the covers of VHS tapes from the 80s, there were plenty of such oddities. Offensive? Some argue that it is and that one should not hide behind participation in innocent, kitschy entertainment. Contemporary reviews of Breeders often focus solely on the content known from the description – a cosmic invader luring young virgins to force them into giving birth to its slimy offspring in an act of brutal rape. Additionally, the film is filled with lengthy nudity scenes typical of softcore porn, which, from a plot perspective, are as justified as the presence of Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars universe. All of this is true; however, the tone of this – in some circles cult – production absolutely does not incite glorification of crime. On the contrary, in such a cheap, poorly acted story, there is room for reflection. Superficial, but a serious social commentary here would border on mockery.
I’ll use my favorite anecdote, which I have told friends dozens of times, each time answering the question of how I can watch such bad movies. In the early 20th century in the United States, there was a thief with exceptional skill in his trade – Willie Sutton. His career lasted four decades during which he escaped from prison three times. When asked why he robs banks, he replied briefly: “Because that’s where the money is.” Pop culture or its particular branch, B-movies, is similar – that’s where the people are. Therefore, I believe that anti-war messages from Plan 9 from Outer Space or ecological reflections from the original Godzilla or Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno have a greater impact than artistic cinema, which is usually approached by people with already well-defined views, mature viewers. Criticizing, for example, mass deforestation in these kinds of images is preaching to the converted; it’s different when a group of friends watches a badly edited, poorly acted, compulsively laugh-inducing horror-comedy, and suddenly it hits a second layer that can leave a trace in them after the screening. Probably not conscious reflection, but maybe at least noticing the problem.
The rape in Breeders is not merely visualized. It is discussed by the heroines, dressed alternately in fear and extreme hatred towards men. There is an element of justifying the presumed criminal, and on the other hand, awareness that anyone, even the seemingly most docile and likable person, could be the perpetrator. This perspective is presented by a man who, in another scene, confesses: “When I was seven, my older sister was raped. I saw how, in one day, she transformed from a happy teenager into a bitter, old woman. She never freed herself from it.” Actually, every time a crime occurs, a germ of discussion appears in the next scene. You just have to want to see it.
An important part of the puzzle is the character of the director himself, whose fans of “bad” movies know from Robot Holocaust or Riot in a Women’s Prison. The same person (or rather his alter ego – Joe Gage) is almost cult-like in the American gay community. It is said that he was the first to show a true, unscripted relationship between two men in pornographic films (his Working Man Trilogy is a bit like the adult version of Brokeback Mountain), for which he was once controversially awarded the GayVN Hall of Fame. I’m not claiming that someone like that couldn’t display sexist behavior, but not to deepen the column character of this review, I refer to interviews with Kincaid, from which it clearly emerges that he is a man with broad horizons and great respect for others.
Of course, if you look at the trailer of Breeders, you will quickly notice that we are dealing with a horror film that could also be placed on the same shelf as Embryo’s Revenge or The Brain. On the one hand, there is very subtle moralizing, on the other, very aggressive kitsch that must satisfy connoisseurs of this kind of indigestion. The beauty of practical special effects; nervously, annoyingly buzzing giant insect-like music in the background; women possessed by a cosmic parasite bathing in disgusting slime, and the obligatory nightmare of the main character suggesting that the sequel may happen… If not for such films, in 2018, who would insert a VHS tape into the VCR? I don’t know for what.