ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES (1959) – The Dungeon Review!
Attack of the Giant Leeches is a super cheapie produced by Gene and Roger Corman. Roger Corman contributed an insane amount of low-budget classics (and NOT SO Classic) horror films through the 50s, 60s and 70s, some of which he directed, others he only produced. Corman ceased directing in the 70s but did return for an encore directing stint in 1990 with Frankenstein Unbound. Corman has produced 100s (I stopped counting at 213) of films and many of them are horror. He is producing up a storm to this day and in fact shows six films in “pre-production” for 2012. So many of these giant monster flicks have terrible ratings on IMDB. Attack of the Giant Leeches may not be a masterpiece but it is certainly unfair in my opinion to fail this film! Sure, there is some sketchy acting, the lead actor/hero is about as dynamic as a brick and the monster is pretty damn cheesy. Attack of the Giant Leeches may not be perfect but it certainly kept me entertained.
The town drunkard claims to have seen a monstrous creature. No one believes him until he along with a few other local yokels goes missing. Victims are found drained of all their blood and covered in sucker like marks. What could possibly be responsible for such horrifying deaths??!!
Giant Blood-sucking leeches! I think that the leech is a great creature to make “giant”. The creature is the size of a tall man which may not sound too intimidating. These however are leeches which even in their normal state freak people out; so just imagine the menace man-sized! Okay, the leeches are far more amusing than terrifying. Despite the monster’s cheesiness the filmmakers manage to pull of some effectively creepy scenes. The best of the bunch takes place inside the leech’s watery cave. An air pocket has provided a dry perch inside the cave. This particular perch is packed with people prey writhing about as the leeches suck the last of their life’s blood.
The characters are a real mixed bag of nuts. We have Liz Walker the philandering wife of the local country store/bar owner Dave Walker. Liz is having an affair with Cal, one of her hubby’s regular customers. One night hubby follows his wife and catches her in the act with Cal. He forces the two into the lake/swamp and is horrified when a hideous creature emerges from the depths pulling the couple below. Then we have the local police who don’t appreciate some nosy wildlife warden poking his nose in their business. And finally we have wildlife warden Steve Benton, his girlfriend Nan Greyson and her father Doc Greyson. Yvette Vickers is definitely the highlight here as the naughty wife Liz Walker. Vickers pours it on thick and whether she is hissing at her husband, flirting with Cal or walking into a room of men whilst brushing her teeth in her negligee she always leaves an impression. The steamy drama of lust and betrayal is considerably more fun than Warden “buzz kill” Benton and his woman Nan. These two are so awkward together but the real issue is with the Warden character played by Ken Clark, and his uninspired delivery. Movies like this always have a straight man but they don’t usually use every opportunity possible to show the straight man without his shirt on. The acting definitely ranges but there are a few stand out performances and really the dialog and story isn’t half bad.
Attack of the Giant Leeches short runtime and spirited pace made the film fly by. The sound effects are slurpy and squishy fun. The bizarre and way quirky soundtrack by Alexander Laszlo is pure brilliance. I absolutely must add this soundtrack to my collection! A decent story and dialog with a banner B-Movie performance by Yvette Vickers that is worth the price of admission. The creature is cheesy; no denying it, but it isn’t without its charms. There are some well conceived scenes that manage to be creepy and overall the film looks pretty good. Attack of the Giant Leeches is not perfect but it is a perfectly enjoyable way to spend just a smidge over 60 minutes! Recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 3/5
Directed By: Bernard L. Kowalski
Starring: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Michael Emmet, Tyler McVey, Bruno VeSota, Gene Roth, Dan White, George Cisar