Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

attack of the giant leeches poster 1959 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 2/10

Leeches capture & eat later plan

Pretty much everything

Movie Info

Movie Name: Attack of the Giant Leeches

Studio: American International Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s): October 1959

MPAA Rating: Unrated

attack of the giant leeches yvette vickers bruno vesota

Damn…I’m an overachiever

In a small Florida town bordering the swamp, the death of Lem Sawyer (George Cisar) has created a mystery.  Largely drained of blood, Sawyer’s cause of death is unknown.  When a cheating woman named Liz Walker (Yvette Vickers) and her lover Cal Moulton (Michael Emmet) disappear, the husband Dave Walker (Bruno VeSota) is blamed…but something still seems off.  The swamp’s game warden Steve Benton (Ken Clark) teams with his girlfriend Nan Grayson (Jan Sheppard) and her father Dr. Grayson (Tyler McVey) to find the source of the disappearance…and undercover something far more sinister!

Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski, Attack of the Giant Leeches is a nature attacks monster B-Movie.  The film was double billed with A Bucket of Blood and the film is in the public domain.  Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured Attack of the Giant Leeches on an episode (MST3K #5-06).

attack of the giant leeches monster attack

Maybe…just maybe…we shouldn’t be hanging out in the swamp water to begin with

I first saw Attack of the Giant Leeches on MST3K and later got it in a horror movie pack.  Like most B-Movies, the quality of most prints is pretty low.  This combines with a pretty poor story, acting, and monsters for a below average result.

The story has a bit of odd set-up in that the lead is kind of fractured.  A lot of the beginning of the film deals with Liz and Dave and their broken marriage.  The film even starts to develop Liz’s life and the fact that she married to escape her past and doesn’t entirely hate Dave despite her treatment of him.  It leaves this halfway interesting story to go to the generic scientist, girlfriend, and wise doctor seeking answers about the deaths.  It of course leads to a showdown with the star “giant leeches”, but the ending is pretty limp.

The cast could be worse.  The core “heroes” played by Ken Clark, Jan Sheppard, and Tyler McVey as mentioned are rather bland, but I do like Yvette Vickers and her husband Bruno VeSota. A Playboy model from 1959, Vickers had a rather tragic death in that she died in her apartment around 2010 but due to auto payments to her bills, no one noticed she died for a year or so when her body was found by a neighbor on April 27, 2011.

attack of the giant leeches cave monster

Worst hickey ever

The appeal of a B-Movie is the B-Movie monster.  The giant leeches are barely seen and that too isn’t uncommon with a low-budget B-Movie.  The giant leeches however are far more “hidden” than some other monsters and it feels like they at least could have made a bigger impact.  Their origin is never really explained but an offhand remark to “nuclear waste” from NASA is used…spurring classic “advancement is bad” and the Cold War is the real danger.

Attack of the Giant Leeches isn’t the worst of B-Movie trash, but it isn’t very good.  The movie with its short runtime feels like complete filler to pair up for cinema double-billings.  Fans of monster movies might enjoy it, but go into it with low expectations or an understanding of this type of movies if you hope to enjoy it.  A remake was released in 2008.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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