Attack of the Giant Leeches

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Attack of the Giant Leeches
A promotional film poster for Attack of the Giant Leeches
A promotional film poster for Attack of the Giant Leeches
Directed by Bernard L. Kowalski
Produced by
Written by Leo Gordon
Screenplay by Leo Gordon
Story by Leo Gordon
Music by Alexander Laszlo
Cinematography John M. Nickolaus Jr.
Edited by Carlo Lodato
Balboa Productions
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • October 1959 (1959-10) (USA)
Running time
62 min
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70,000 (estimated)[1]
Full movie

Attack of the Giant Leeches is a low-budget 1959 science fiction film from American International Pictures, directed by Bernard L. Kowalski and produced by Gene Corman. The screenplay was written by Leo Gordon. It was one of a spate of monster movies produced during the 1950s in response to cold war fears; in the film, a character speculates that the leeches have been mutated to giant size by atomic radiation from nearby Cape Canaveral.

The film has also been released as Attack of the Blood Leeches, Demons of the Swamp, She Demons of the Swamp, and The Giant Leeches.[2]


In the Florida Everglades, a pair of larger-than-human, intelligent leeches are living in an underwater cave. They begin dragging local people down to their cave where they hold them prisoner and slowly drain them of blood.

One of the first victims is the local vixen, Liz Walker, played by Yvette Vickers. After a couple of gratuitous displays of flesh (Vickers appeared as the centerfold in the July 1959 issue of Playboy), and some running around on her husband (Bruno VeSota), Liz finds herself a prisoner of the leeches along with her current paramour.

Game warden Steve Benton (Ken Clark) sets out to investigate their disappearance. Aided by his girlfriend, Nan Grayson (Jan Sheppard), and her father, Doc Grayson, he discovers the cavern.

The monsters are finally destroyed when Steve, Doc, and some state troopers blow up the cavern with dynamite.



The film was shot in 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]

It was Kowalski's second film for AIP following Night of the Blood Beast.[3] The music score was actually a stock score previously used in Night of the Blood Beast (1958), and can also be heard in Beast from Haunted Cave (1959).[4]

According to Kowalski, Gene Corman didn't want to pay the technicians the extra money for pushing the camera raft while they were filming in the water at the Arboretum, so he put on a bathing suit and did it himself.[4]


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

Home media[edit]

  • Attack of the Giant Leeches has received numerous "bargain bin" releases.
  • The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 6 box set.


A remake of the film was released by Brain Damage Films in 2012.


The film is in the public domain, as its copyright was not renewed.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p148
  2. ^ "Release dates for Attack of the Giant Leeches". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  3. ^ Gary A. Smith, The American International Pictures Video Guide, McFarland 2009 p 17
  4. ^ a b Internet Movie Database Trivia
  5. ^ "Cinema Insomnia, with your Horror Host, Mister Lobo! - SHOW INFORMATION". Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "author=". Archived from the original on 2 February 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. 
  7. ^ No record in 1986 or 1987

External links[edit]