Attack of the Giant Leeches

October 22, 2016 at 1:13 am (7 Heads, Attack of the Giant Leeches) (, , , , , , )

Attack of the Giant Leeches – 1959 – United States

In the Florida Everglades, redneck poachers are attacked by giant leeches. The victims are kept alive in the leeches’ underwater cave while their blood is slowly drained. A handsome game warden investigates the poachers’ disappearance and eventually discovers that monsters are afoot. He hunts the leeches underwater with a harpoon gun.

For a silly creature feature, Attack of the Giant Leeches is written pretty well. The Everglades is an interesting setting and the film has authentic locations and characters. The characters are surprisingly dimensional too. The rednecks poach otters and are perpetually drunk, but they have moments of heroism. The game warden dogmatically protects wildlife and arrests his father-in-law for illegally dynamiting the leeches. The most tragic character is a fat shopkeeper. He catches his wife cheating and chases the lovers with a shotgun to scare them. When his wife flees into the swamp and is killed by leeches, the police accuse the shopkeeper. He is so distraught by the death of his (cruel and self-centered) wife that he hangs himself.

Attack of the Giant Leeches was produced by Roger Corman for American International Pictures. Corman’s typical thriftiness is apparent. The underwater scenes are shot in a tank with very dirty glass sides, and the leeches look like people enclosed in sleeping bags. The scene of them sucking the blood from their helpless prisoners is unsettling though.

Rating: 7/10 Shrunken Heads. The leeches were mutated by radiation from Cape Canaveral. Such is the price of progress.


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