ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES (1959)
Article #552 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-18-2002
Posting date: 2-11-2003
Strange creatures inhabit a southern swamp and begin preying on the local citizenry.
The first half of this movie emphasizes the southern swamplands venue and the characters that inhabit it, focusing on a triangle between an obese grocer, his luscious wife, and his best friend. This half is so reeking with a seedy, sleazy atmosphere that it is engrossing, and it offered Yvette Vickers and Bruno Ve Sota the best roles they ever had. Once this half of the story ends (rather horrifically), the movie starts concentrating on the three dullest characters in the movie; a wildlife ranger, his girlfriend, and her father, and though there are some interesting plot elements, it’s hard to keep awake through these scenes; the best moments in the second half involve the feeding habits of the giant leeches and some startling footage of dead bodies floating up through the water. As for the leeches themselves, I hear they were men in garbage bags, and in close-ups you can kind of tell this; however, they are much more effective half hidden in the water, where they do project a completely inhuman quality about them, and the noises that they make are quite effective. Though it’s no classic, this cheap little feature (executive produced by Roger Corman, produced by his brother Gene, and directed Bernard L. Kowalski) has its good moments.