‘Crawling horror… rising from the depths of Hell… to kill and conquer!’
Attack of the Giant Leeches is a 1959 American science fiction horror film directed by Bernard L. Kowalski (Night of the Blood Beast; Sssssss) from a screenplay by Leo Gordon. It was produced by Gene Corman and uncredited executive producer Roger Corman and released by American International Pictures (AIP).
The film was one of a spate of monster movies produced during the 1950s in response to cold war fears; at one point, a character speculates that the leeches have been mutated to giant size by atomic radiation from nearby Cape Canaveral.
Has also been released as Attack of the Blood Leeches, Demons of the Swamp, She Demons of the Swamp, and The Giant Leeches.
In the Florida Everglades, a pair of larger-than-human, intelligent leeches live in an underwater cave. They begin dragging locals down to their cave, where they slowly feed on them, draining their victims of blood. Two of the first victims of the leeches are local vixen Liz Walker (Vickers), who has been cheating on her husband (Bruno VeSota), and Liz’s latest paramour.
Game warden Steve Benton (Clark) sets out to investigate their disappearance. Aided by his girlfriend, Nan Grayson (Sheppard), and her father, Doc Grayson, Benton discovers the leeches’ underwater cavern. The creatures are destroyed when Steve, Doc and several state troopers blow up their underwater cavern using dynamite.
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“Yvette Vickers manages to fairly much steal the show with her performance here, winding husband Bruno VeSota around her little finger or sensually oiling her legs in the middle of a scene. Bernard L. Kowalski generates passable atmosphere and tension during the searches and all the lurking around the swamps.” Moria: Science Fiction Horror and Fantasy
“Save for one serious, heartbreaking scene, Leeches is all about laughing along with the movie as the predictable plot winds down and plays off all the cliches in the book. The main reason to watch these monsters Attack is to laugh at the garbage bag style “effects” and you’ll without a doubt spend most of the film’s short 60 minute running time giggling at the escapades of the hick characters.” Oh, the Horror!
“The sound effects are slurpy and squishy fun. The bizarre and way quirky soundtrack by Alexander Laszlo is pure brilliance… 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.” Goregirl’s Dungeon
“ludicrous hybrid of white trash and monster genres” Leonard Maltin, Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide
Cast and characters:
- Ken Clark as Steve Benton
- Yvette Vickers as Liz Walker
- Jan Shepard as Nan Greyson
- Michael Emmet as Cal Moulton
- Tyler McVey as Doc Greyson
- Bruno VeSota as Dave Walker
- Gene Roth as Sheriff Kovis
- Dan White as Porky Reed
- George Cisar as Lem Sawyer
- Joseph Hamilton as Old Sam Peters
- Walter Kelley as Mike
- Guy Buccola as Giant Leech
- Ross Sturlin as Giant Leech
The film was shot over eight days, including outdoor sequences at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.
Yvette Vickers in a cheesecake publicity shot: