Movies from the “golden age” of black and white films (approximately the 1930’s through the 1950’s) almost invariably contain well-written dialogue and strikingly subtle humor, making them a favorite among many fans of cinema. The horror movies of this more subtle period in film history are therefore of a cerebral nature, primarily relying on the viewer’s imagination to generate the true sense of horror that modern movies generate through more visual means. It is these oft-ignored horror movies that will be the focus of a series of articles detailing the reasons why true fans of horror movies should rediscover these films.
With this 8th installment in the Forgotten B&W Horror series, we begin looking at a few movies that blur the line between horror and science fiction – a blurring that occurred with many sci-fi movies of the 1950′s.
Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) tells the story of a small town in the Louisiana swamps that becomes infested with a couple of giant, blood-sucking creatures that hunt the town’s inhabitants. Eventually Steve Benton, the local game warden played by Ken Clark, his girlfriend Nan (Jan Shepard) and her father Doc Greyson (Tyler McVey) discover the underwater home of the leeches and attempt to save the town from further attacks.
Why This Movie Has Been Forgotten
Attack of the Giant Leeches isn’t the greatest movie you’ll ever watch. It’s choppy, slow-moving, and very predictable. There’s an awful chase scene through the swamp where somehow fat Dave Walker, who is walking pretty slowly, manages to keep up with his wife and her boyfriend as they run from his shotgun. And then, of course, there’s the horrendous latex costumes worn by the poor actors who had to play giant leeches. These guys look like one of those squeeze toys whose eyes bug out when you apply pressure to the body. All of these issues make for a movie you shouldn’t watch. Luckily for you, I’m here to tell you why you should watch this movie.
Why Horror Fans Should Watch This Movie
- There is a scene in the underwater caves that serve as the home of the leeches where a true horrific element is introduced. The leeches, whose cave serves as a giant air pocket under the swamp, like to bring their unfortunate prey home and leave them in the caves so they can feed on them over and over. This is not my favorite way to die.
- Yvette Vickers, former playboy bunny and one-time super sex star, plays the role of ill-fated Liz Walker. Yvette’s story is one of the saddest you’ll ever hear. By the time she reached the age of 82, Yvette was such a disillusioned recluse that it took a year for neighbors to discover she had died in her home. Her badly decomposed and mummified body was found in her bedroom with her computer and space heater still running. Quite a horror story in itself.
- THERE’S STILL ONE ALIVE AT THE END!!! Man, how I love to hate horror movie endings where one monster somehow survives to potentially wreak more havoc in the future.
Attack of the Giant Leeches isn’t a bad movie. The element of vampiric horror is quite strong in the underwater caves when the leeches are feeding on their human cattle. If that doesn’t appeal to you, watch it for Yvette Vickers. She’s pretty and her death jives with everything horror fans love.
If you would like to watch Attack of the Giant Leeches Man you may view it at this link.