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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)


As I watch more and more horror films spanning the ages, I've come to realize that many horror films reflect the worries and fears of the time period they're from.  Some, like "The Stepford Wives" (1975) did a great job of it... while others throughout cinema history have not...

People have started to disappear in the swamps of the Florida Everglades.  While investigating, Steve Benton refuses to believe reports that the disappearances are caused by a monster dragging victims into the deep waters.  When bodies turn up drained of blood, Benton and his girlfriend become determined to end the monster's rampage...

This 1959 B-movie that was chosen as the "What Movie Wednesday" feature for the 27th of June was born from the early Cold War fears of radiation, and how it would affect the environment... but only touched briefly on the topic as part of the explanation for the monster... near the end of the film.

More than anything, I think this movie was pretty much just a cheap reason to show off the legs and figure of Yvette Vickers, who was the July 1959 Playboy centerfold.  The rest of the film makes you rather glad it was only an hour long.

The story is typical for B-movies of that time... so typical, in fact that I found it hard to keep my mind from straying a few times while watching.

I also had a hard time getting into the characters too, though this could be because of the acting.  The only character I liked was that of Dave Walker- the store owner who's wife winds up as leech food with her lover.  I was actually kinda hoping that the leeches would attack the hero, Steve Benton.  They were just blah and lifeless.

Yvette Vickers was certainly nice to look at, and did a decent enough job as the cheating wife, Liz Walker.  Since you're not really supposed to like his character, I'd have to say that Michael Emmet did a good job as Cal Moulton- the slightly sleazy lover of Liz.  I really liked Bruno VeSota's portrayal of Dave Walker.  The scene of him with his shotgun chasing Liz and Cal through the swamp was good.  I have to say that Jan Shepard was also nice to look at as Nan Greyson- Steve Benton's girlfriend.  Doc Greyson was played fairly decently by Tyler McVey- though both him and Shepard really didn't get much to work with to be honest.  I really couldn't stand Ken Clark as Steve Benton.  His look was too stereotypical of the heroic male, as was his voice.  I just wanted to see him get mauled by the giant leeches and have them mess up his oh so perfect hair and chin.

There really isn't much to say about the camera work in "Attack of the Giant Leeches"- it's pretty plain.  The best sequence I felt was once again when Walker is chasing Liz and Cal through the swam with his shotgun.  I quite enjoyed it.

And what to say about the Giant Leeches themselves?  Ummm...  The first time I saw them, I thought they were either guys in sleeping bags, or garbage bags with suckers glued on.

Yeah... just bad.

Other than the fairly copious amounts of flesh flashed by Vickers, and the great chase through the swamp sequence, there really isn't much to say about this film.  I'm giving it a solid spot in "The Ugly"... though I might make a Giant Leech costume for Halloween.  I have a sleeping bag laying around somewhere...

Special Shoutout:

I want to thank everyone that participated in my "What Movie Wednesday" feature.  I'll be doing it again on 18 July 2012.

Big thank you to the following people who voted for "Attack of the Giant Leeches":

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