‘Crawling horror… rising from the depths of Hell… to kill and conquer!’
Attack of the Giant Leeches is a 1959 American science-fiction horror feature film directed by Bernard L. Kowalski (Night of the Blood Beast; Sssssss) from a screenplay written by Leo Gordon. It was produced by Gene Corman and uncredited executive producer Roger Corman and released by American International Pictures (AIP). It 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 (Yvette Vickers), who has been cheating on her husband (Bruno VeSota), and Liz’s latest paramour.
Game warden Steve Benton (Ken Clark) sets out to investigate their disappearance. Aided by his girlfriend, Nan Grayson (Jan Shepard), 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.
“This hysterical drive-in favorite pits a community of swamp-dwelling yokels against the silliest-looking monsters since the shag-rug aliens of The Creeping Terror […] Look carefully to spot the scuba tanks beneath the leech costumes.” All Movie
“The monsters are real, being giant intelligent leeches, played by men whose rubber suits don’t fit well over their scuba tanks. There are a few effective chilling moments, such as when Ve Sota forces Vickers and boyfriend into the swamp at gunpoint.” Down Among the “Z” Movies
“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
“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!
“Although most of the acting is horrid, Vickers is fun to watch as the tantalizing trailer trash temptress and VeSota has some good moments as her vengeful hubby. Their efforts are wasted as the movie moves like it’s stuck in swamp muck.” The Video Vacuum
“A slow 62 minutes but definitely more fun than cleaning the house or doing homework; had the focus of the film remained on the inbred inhabitants of the Everglades rather than the clean-cut and educated, Attack of the Giant Leeches would have been much more fun.” A Wasted Life
Dave Walker: “Someday I’m gonna give that a whappin’ she’s been askin’ for.”
Cast and characters:
Ken Clark … Steve Benton
Yvette Vickers … Liz Walker
Jan Shepard … Nan Greyson
Michael Emmet … Cal Moulton
Tyler McVey … Doc Greyson
Bruno VeSota … Dave Walker
Gene Roth … Sheriff Kovis
Dan White … Porky Reed (as Daniel White)
George Cisar … Lem Sawyer
Guy Buccola … Giant Leech (uncredited)
Joseph Hamilton … Old Sam Peters (uncredited)
Walter Kelley … Mike (uncredited)
Ross Sturlin … Giant Leech (uncredited)
Filming locations (shot over eight days):
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden – 301 N. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, California (swamp)
Chaplin Studios – 1416 N. La Brea Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (studio)
Studio City, Los Angeles, California (underwater scenes; shot at a private home)
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.37: 1