B Movie Challenge: Attack of the Giant Leeches

After doing this for a while, the one thing you run into (besides the ibuprofen aisle at the drug store) is a movie that sucks (pun intended). As much as I want to enjoy every single one that comes along, and with good intentions to forgive all the elements against it (low budget concerns, acting from local actors, cheapskate producers, etc,) some leave a long, slimy trail which smothers you before you hit stop on the RCA Selectavision CED Videodisc Player Model SFT 100 W, much like the Corman brothers produced muckraker The Giant Leeches, a.k.a Attack of the Giant Leeches, or as it was known in some places as Demons in the Swamp. Regardless of what it is called, you might have to drain the swamps and use more than enough dynamite to remove the filth this film leaves on your skin. 

Although much has been written on the life and legacy of the legendary producer Roger Corman (… may angels sing thee to thy rest, oh sweet King of the B’s), there is not as much heralded on his equally talented brother, producer Gene Corman. Gene started in the film industry before his bother as an agent, representing such clients like Ray Milland (X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes) and Joan Crawford (Trog… In know, I know, she did better, but hey, you know what we cover here) and eventually worked his way into producing smaller and bigger budget films. Although much of his filmography was working with his brother on much of his classic (or not so classic) video library, Gene would eventually go on to produce larger projects like FIST with Sylvester Stalone (Over the Top… again…) and The Big Red One with Lee Marvin (The Delta Force) and Mark Hamill (The Guyver… that’s right, you film school s.o.b., I mentioned this science fiction superhero classic you want people never to know you love). By the end of his career, Gene Corman would be the vice president of 20th Century Fox television during the 90s heyday. It’s not too shabby for a guy responsible for movies like this!

Liker a playful Tennesee Williams version of Lolita in the Swamplands, The greasy owner of a local grocery hub has himself a brand new young wife, but she has other things on her mind than marking up the baked beans. As she gets lost in the backwoods, along with a man who lost his mind, the owner follows them to shoot them dead. However, before he can do so those pesky little bloodsuckers (that somehow are bigger than a Buick) finish the deed for him. Getting the blame for their murders, the grocery owner is taken to jail where he finds himself guilty long before a jury. However, others think something fishy is in the water, including a local cop, played by hunk-of-the-month Ken Clark (Agent 077: Mission Bloody Mary… don’t ask. Just for the love of everything holy, don’t ask). Once hip (like this movie could be such) to what is lurking in the dark waters, our heroes remember how to cheat at fishing and blow the lake, and the leech monsters, sky-high (like shooting fish in a barrel… with boom candles)!

Latching and slurping you dry within sixty-two minutes and directed by Bernard L. Kowalski (who went on the direct Night of the Blood Beast and the creepy crawler Sssssss), the make-up effects budget was reportedly so low the leeches were made of garbage bags and raincoats sewn together. Falling into a nebulous public domain ocean of terrible films, you can find this sucker on most streaming and video formats, but be sure to doggy paddle toward the classic episode of MST3K featuring this swally mess. So the next time you follow your lover into the marshland to blow them away (brings a whole new meaning to the word morass) make sure you load the cartridge with strong salt pellets, or you are bound to end up rolling around a cavernous cave for help (remember not to get too bogged down)!

About Ian Klink

As a filmmaker, writer, and artist, Ian Klink’s work includes the feature film Anybody’s Blues and short stories for Weren't Another Way to Be: Outlaw Fiction Inspired by Waylon Jennings, Negative Creep: A Nirvana-Inspired Anthology, A-Z of Horror: U is for Unexplained, The Creeps, Vampiress Carmilla, The Siren’s Call, and Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. Born and raised in Iowa, Klink lives with his family in Pennsylvania where he shares his talents as a teacher of multimedia studies.

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