Home > Uncategorized > Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

            At their best, science fiction movies of the 1950’s expressed a distrust of the outsider manifesting from a ubiquitous fear of Communism.  Aliens equal dirty reds.  Writers and movie producers know that timely fears can mean big ticket sales, and they used those fears to churn out some serious science fiction during the Eisenhower administration.  Those are the good idea men, though.  Then there are dopy writers.  These guys sit around and think up stuff that would just be cool to see; this is still done today.  One time out of a million, these guys hit pay dirt and make something like “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” but mostly they just ‘think’ up man-sized versions of animals we already have.  It seems that somebody thought it would be cool to see giant leeches, so…they made a movie about big, stupid leeches.

            Local grocery store owner and food fanatic, Dave, is having problems with his sex pot, firecracker wife, Liz.  This Christina Ricci look-alike holds Dave in the lowest regard imaginable (why the two ever conceivably got married makes absolutely no sense), and she demonstrates this by cheating on him with the town D-bag, Cal.  Dave catches wind of his wife’s cheating and confronts her and Cal one night down by the bayou.  To scare them, he forces them into the water at with the business end of a shot gun.  Now, at this point, it should be fairly obvious to anybody who knows how lazy screenwriters work, that the giant leeches are going to get Cal and Liz, and they do.  Dave is accused to the murder and hangs himself in jail.  From here the movie shifts into auto pilot.  Hunky (and frequently shirtless) wild life ranger, Steve, begins to suspect there is more to the murders than first thought.  Through a series of wild jumps to conclusions, which always happen to be right, chiseled Steve finds out that giant leeches are keeping the victims alive in an underground cave.  The leeches are killed by dropping dynamite into the water and Liz is recovered alive, sopping wet blouse and all.  In a not so unpredictable manor, the movie ends by questioning whether or not all of the leeches are all dead.  Personally, I’m fine either way.

            The point of this movie might seem to be that really nasty people get punished for their sins, but that isn’t consistent here.  Liz and Cal are punished, but so are some of the gnome looking, ‘shine swilling hick inhabitants of the town.  The lesson could then be modified to say that leeches don’t discriminate when choosing their pray, but where’s the message there?  I finished the movie and felt betrayed because I didn’t know what the movie was trying to say about retribution, which struck me as a motif here, and then it hit me; the film makers just wanted to see giant leeches.  All the plot points were a mandate to get giant leeches on screen.  If the film makers had budget, they would have just made a situational comedy about the leeches and their mad-cap adventures.  Instead, the audience is given a watered down episode of Tales from the Crypt with really bad leech costumes.  If there is any lesson to be learned here, it has to be that the leeches aren’t reminiscent enough of Communism, and that is why the movie sucks. 

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