Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on September 30, 1959
Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski
Written by Leo Gordon
Cast: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Michael Emmet, Tyler McVey, Bruno Ve Sota, Dan White, Gene Roth, George Cisar, and Guy Buccola and Ross Sturlin as The Giant Leeches
There’s something creepy terrorizing the local swamp—something that “had regular arms on it like a man, but had suckers on ‘em like one of them octopus things”—and though the sheriff suspects it’s a gator, the new game warden thinks otherwise. And so begins Attack of the Giant Leeches, a Z-grade monster movie from the team that brought us Night of the Blood Beast (producer brothers Roger and Gene Corman, and director Bernard L. Kowalski); this time, instead of a mud-covered bird, we had two large garbage bags with tentacles terrorizing the backwater denizens of a small Florida Everglades town.
There wasn’t much here to keep one awake—the direction, the story, and no-name actors were all rather blah, and the picture was rather murky, which may have been the fault of the source print—but we did have the always-delicious Yvette Vickers playing a local hussy, who made quite the eye-popping entrance in her loose-fitting kimono. Actually, the game warden’s girlfriend, played by Jan Shepard, wasn’t that bad to look at either, which as far as concentrating on the movie went, made spotting a well-built female far more entertaining than spotting a giant leech.
For 1950s schlock, this one was pretty schlocky, and even at 62 minutes it still dragged a bit, but the germ of a good idea was in there somewhere, and we were treated to Yvette dropping her kimono for a startling bra and panties shot, so at least the hour wasn’t a complete waste of time. And there was a truly disturbing scene at about the halfway point, a chilling moment where we witnessed the leeches in their subterranean lair, gurgling and clicking and sucking the life out of their helpless victims, a scene that was probably well worth the price of admission in its day.
Unfortunately, that was about it for creature mayhem; everything else was heavy drama and small-town ignorance, with far too much valuable plot time spent on Yvette’s tramp-like antics, and their cause and effect on her cuckold of a husband, Bruno Ve Sota (who went on to direct the hopelessly ridiculous Invasion of the Star Creatures). But don’t blame the girls for orchestrating this or the leeches’ demise; in the end, it wasn’t beauty killed the beasts, but a hefty dose of concussion dynamite. (2/10)