Attack of the Giant Leeches

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Attack of the Giant Leeches
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBernard L. Kowalski
Produced by
Written byLeo Gordon
Screenplay byLeo Gordon
Story byLeo Gordon
Music byAlexander Laszlo
CinematographyJohn M. Nickolaus Jr.
Edited byCarlo Lodato
Balboa Productions
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • October 1959 (1959-10) (US)
Running time
62 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$70,000 (estimated)[1]
The full film

Attack of the Giant Leeches is an independently made 1959 black-and-white science fiction-horror film, produced by Gene Corman and directed by Bernard L. Kowalski. It stars Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers and Jan Shepard. The screenplay was written by Leo Gordon. The film was released by American International Pictures on a double bill with A Bucket of Blood. Later, in some areas in 1960, Leeches played on a double bill with the Roger Corman film House of Usher.

Attack of the Giant Leeches was one of a spate of "creature features" produced during the 1950s in response to cold war fears; a character in the film speculates that the leeches have been mutated to giant size by atomic radiation from nearby Cape Canaveral.


In the Florida Everglades, a pair of larger-than-human, intelligent leeches live in an underwater cave. They begin dragging locals down to their cave, where they slowly feed on them, draining their victims of blood. Two of the first victims of the leeches are local vixen Liz Walker (Vickers), who has been cheating on her husband (Bruno VeSota), and Liz's latest paramour. Game warden Steve Benton (Clark) sets out to investigate their disappearance. Aided by his girlfriend, Nan Grayson (Sheppard), and her father, Doc Grayson, Benton discovers the leeches' underwater cavern. The creatures are destroyed when Steve, Doc and several state troopers blow up their underwater cavern using dynamite.



The film was shot over eight days, including outdoor sequences at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. During filming, Gene Corman came down with pneumonia and wound up in the hospital.[1]

Actress Yvette Vickers appeared as the Playmate centerfold in the July 1959 issue of Playboy magazine, several months prior to the film's release.

Attack of the Giant Leeches is in the public domain; its copyright was not renewed.[2]


Attack of the Giant Leeches holds a 70% approval rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 10 reviews; the average rating is 5.06/10.[3] Film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, calling it a "ludicrous hybrid of white trash and monster genres".[4]


A remake of the film, directed by Brett Kelly and written by Jeff O'Brien, was released on July 7, 2008.[5]


In July 1992, Attack of the Giant Leeches was featured as a fourth-season episode of the film-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was also featured on the nationally syndicated horror host television show Cinema Insomnia,[6] and in the second episode of season 5 of Shilling Shockers, a New England-based television show hosted by the witch Penny Dreadful XIII.[7]

Home media[edit]

Being in the public domain, Attack of the Giant Leeches has received numerous bargain bin DVD releases.[8] The MST3K version of the film was released on October 26, 2004 by Rhino Home Video as part of a box set, The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 6.[9] Cheapskate Theater released an HD download of the film on June 7, 2016, featuring a new introduction by Toby Radloff and Radloff outtakes and bloopers.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p148
  2. ^ No record in 1986 or 1987
  3. ^ "Attack of the Giant Leeches (1960) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  4. ^ Leonard Maltin; Spencer Green; Rob Edelman (January 2010). Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide. Plume. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-452-29577-3.
  5. ^ "Attack of the Giant Leeches (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Cinema Insomnia, with your Horror Host, Mister Lobo! - SHOW INFORMATION". Archived from the original on March 28, 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  7. ^ Archived from the original on 2 February 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-10. Retrieved 2016-06-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]