The 1980s were filled many horror trends: endless sequels, crazy FX, creature features, satanic panics, and much more. But one of my favorite '80s subgenres has always been the New York City horrors. These were a grouping of horror films that took place in the city that never sleeps, with the city itself becoming a key plot point. Why was New York a reoccurring theme during this time? It provided the perfect environment for something horrible to happen right under the city’s unaware nose. Who has time to pay attention to C.H.U.D, driller killers, Frankhookers, and winged serpents named Q when the whole city is filled to the brim with crime, overcrowding, homeless, and general chaos? My personal fave of the '80s New York horror wave is a saucy little T&A creature feature called Breeders.
After several women are raped in New York City, police are on the hunt for a serial rapist. All the victims are covered in some strange organic matter, and they are all virgins. The search leads to an abandoned subway system that has become home to aliens who are impregnating New York ladies in an attempt to spread its seed... kind of like horny C.H.U.D.
Helmed by Tim Kincaid, Breeders did a short theatrical run in 1986 and was released to video under the Wizard Video label, part of Charles Band’s Full Moon Entertainment. Kincaid, who both wrote and directed Breeders, is best known for directing homosexual-themed sex films under the name "Joe Gage," and this film is not far from the sex portion as it features ample gracious nudity throughout, culminating in what I can only call an “alien pool orgy”. The effects in Breeders are a tad cheesy, but are just believeable and gory enough to push the film along.
So why watch Breeders? It’s a hilarious '80s gem! The hair is big, the blood spray is bigger, and this is a fun amalgam of the '80s T&A flick merged with a creature feature. Don’t expect a plausible horror script, a gripping plot, or high quality scares; just sit back and enjoy this lost treasure from a past decade.
Breeders, along with several other Full Moon titles, were recently part of a large controversy in the horror community. Owner of Full Moon Entertainment, Charles Band, allegedly “discovered” a goldmine of old VHS box covers in the Full Moon warehouse. These "big box" covers that defined 1980s horror video culture are now rare and incredibly valuable to avid genre collectors like myself. Full Moon reprinted VHS copies of his older titles and placed them inside these supposedly vintage VHS big box covers, selling them for $40 apiece... and then the turmoil began. Fans began studying the original old box covers next to the supposedly “just discovered” vintage ones, and found noticeable differences in paper quality, fonts, and graphic design.
Full Moon launched back against the fraud accusations, sticking to the “we found them in a warehouse” story and maintaining that they were real vintage items. Both sides fired volleys back and forth online until finally the roars died down to a rumble. I’m not stating whether or not I think these are vintage, nor am I denying the stark differences between the versions. But ultimately, who cares? If nothing else, these are cool limited edition collectibles that many fans probably would have bought without the “vintage” claims. Numerous recent films have done limited released on VHS format releases: V/H/S and Beyond the Black Rainbow come to mind. These are of course not vintage titles, but still maintain the same collectability to fans. Who cares if it was printed in 1986 or last week? It is still a nice homage to how horror culture has changed over time.
Breeders is not rare or hard to find. It’s just a campy little '80s romp that has been lost by fans over time. Copies of Breeders on DVD can be purchased on Amazon for literally a penny. Or spring for the “maybe vintage” big-box VHS version now available on the Full Moon website. Regardless, this one needs to be part of your horror collection.