To be sure, Attack of the Giant Leeches , as much as I love typing that title, is not a great movie that goes beyond its Low Budget Glass Ceiling to reach for the sky and rise far beyond. No, Attack of the Giant Leeches is a prime example of a 1950s B-Movie in title, cast, crew, content and even look! It's a CLASSIC from the JURASSIC that I would suggest "has to be seen to be believed" if the film truly had any legitimate surprises to it. It really doesn't.
Produced, of course, by Gene and Roger Corman , Attack of the Giant Leeches kicks off in the Florida Everglades where a crackpot crackshot poacher named Lem ( George Cisar ) ends up shooting at some food, but instead of bubblin' crude he finds himself face-to-face with an unsightly horror who takes none too kindly to finding a gun barrel pointed at its big-ass sucker!
And guess what? This walking parasite is not one of a kind! There's a whole family of the monsters living in rent-controlled underwater caves that feel a lot like Leech Numero Uno does about Poachers.
So we've got our giant leeches and we've got their reasons for attacking... therefore we've got: Attack of the Giant Leeches ! The movie makes so much sense, man!
Here's a little something that doesn't make too much sense, at least at first: Local overweight shopowner Dave Walker ( Bruno Vesota ) has a mindblowingly hot wife named Liz , who is actually played by Playboy 's Miss July 1959 Yvette Vickers ! And let me tell you, this woman is super-beautiful. Unfortunately, as angelic as Yvette the actress is, that's just how mean and rotten Liz the character is, from her open taunting of her husband in front of his friends (in about half her clothes) to her cruel insults to him in private to her hands-off policy with him, even when she's posing in her tantalizing lingerie to her cuckolding him with one of Dave's best buddies, Cal Moulton ( Michael Emmet ). So, basically, Dave's having a crappy day, man!
So are a lot of other people as soon as they encounter... dant-dant-daaaaaaaaaa... the Giant Leeches! Lucky for the back-water people of the everglades they've got a surly sheriff named Kovis ( Gene Roth ) and a total action hero of a Game Warden named Steve Benton ( Ken Clark ) to protect them from the... GIANT LEECHES! I'm telling you, I really love typing that! Anyway, as big, tough and badass as the Bentonator is, luckily he's also got some capable folks on his team, such as Nan ( Jan Shephard ), whom Steve is sleeping with and Nan's dad Doc Greyson ( Tyler McVey ), whom I doubt Steve is sleeping with.
Together they have a few rather explosive ideas for dealing with the dangerous creatures.
And that's going to have to do for a synopsis because Attack of the Giant Leeches clocks in at only 62 minutes in length. Much more and I would be giving the whole thing away. In truth, the most rewarding part is Yvette Vickers' various sexy scenes (though, take note, there is no actual nudity, so you'll just have to buy that July 1959 issue of Playboy ). As for the Giant Leeches themselves (as played by Guy Buccola and Ross Sturlin ), their costumes appear to be Hefty Trash Bags with great big fake suckers stuck all over them. Interestingly enough, even the things in this film that are supposed to suck, do suck!
To be fair, there are a couple of interesting underwater scenes featuring the scuba divers fighting the freaks. It's no Creature from the Black Lagoon , but it's not that bad either. Further, Attack of the Giant Leeches never reached for the stars nor settled for being "intentionally bad". While there are no real surprises or groundbreaking effects, it's hard to call this film a failure. It sets out to be a low-budget creature feature that shares a few shocks and scares and it does just that. The acting is neither that good nor that bad; the directing by Bernard L. Kowalski won't captivate you, but was also good enough to keep him steadily working until just a few years before his death and the writing by Leo Gordon was never in any serious danger of winning a Pulitzer Prize, but does manage to keep the film interesting enough to remain a B-Movie without devolving into something more akin to C through Z!
That said, let's not forget just what kind of a movie this is. For most of his career, Roger Corman churned out B-Movies with shoestring funds as often as possible with whomever he could... and he almost always made his money back! Attack of the Giant Leeches promised audiences " CRAWLING HORROR ", " the terrible power of the DEMONS OF THE SWAMP ", " GIANT LEECHES RISING FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL! " and " Massive Blood Sucking Monsters! . It neither delivered more nor intended to. Credit where due, though... it kept those promises. By that measure the film was a success!
But by ANY measure, Attack of the Giant Leeches is one of any number of " Attack of the... " B-Movies which are never all that damned good. This one is neither the best, nor the worst and while it can't be considered to be more deserving of much more than Two Stars out of Five , judging it fairly and by its own merits, it's easy enough to say that those two stars have been earned. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go find out what the July 1959 issue of Playboy Magazine is going for these days on Ebay, because from what I've seen whatever the cost, it's worth it.
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What does it take to have a career like Corman's? I guess he's no more charmed than De Palma, but DAMN! What a SHOCK that this guy made that many movies that were that bad. To be fair, he made a fuckload of good ones on low budgets, so... take that for whatever you think it's worth and SIT ON IT!
I would LOVE to see Yvette Naked!
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I would LOVE to see Yvette Naked!