The Leech Woman

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The Leech Woman
Theatrical poster
Directed byEdward Dein
Produced byJoseph Gershenson
Screenplay byDavid Duncan
Story by
  • Ben Pivar
  • Francis Rosenwald
StarringGrant Williams
Coleen Gray
Phillip Terry
Gloria Talbott
John van Dreelen
Estelle Hemsley
Kim Hamilton
Arthur Batanides
Music byIrving Gertz
Hans J. Salteri
Henry Vars
CinematographyEllis W. Carter
Edited byMilton Carruth
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 7, 1960 (1960-07-07)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Leech Woman is a 1960 American horror film directed by Edward Dein. It was released theatrically in 1960 on a double bill with the British film The Brides of Dracula.


A mysterious old woman named Malla (Estelle Hemsley) who claims to have been brought to America 140 years ago by Arab slavers approaches endocrinologist Dr. Paul Talbot (Phillip Terry) and promises to reveal to him the secret of eternal youth.

Following her back to Africa, he and his aging, unhappy wife June (Coleen Gray) witness a secret ceremony of the Nando tribe that utilizes orchid pollen and a male victim's pineal gland secretions extracted from the back of the neck via a special ring to temporarily transform Malla once more into a young and beautiful girl (Kim Hamilton).

After discovering her conniving husband only brought her along as a test subject, June has him killed as a sacrifice and becomes young herself, though she is warned that it will not last long. She steals the ring and escapes back to the United States after killing the guide her husband had hired. Pretending to be her own 'niece' Terry Hart, she proceeds to keep herself young by killing men for their pineal extract.

She quickly becomes enamored with her lawyer Neil Foster (Grant Williams), a man half her actual age, and kills his jealous fiancée Sally (Gloria Talbott), both to maintain her youthful appearance and to eliminate the competition.

When the cops come to investigate the murders, June uses Sally's pineal gland when alone but finds it does not work due to it being female, and before the cops find her, she throws herself out a window and dies, and when they view her body it is in more of a shriveled state than ever.


The film's working title was The Leech.[1] According to contemporary reviews, the filmmakers mixed stock footage of African wildlife and tribal dances with scenes shot in the studio.[2]


This film was parodied on the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, and was featured on the hosted horror movie program Svengoolie.

Home media[edit]

Universal Studios Home Entertainment released The Leech Woman on DVD in a boxed set called The Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection Vol. 2, which features 4 other classics as well (Dr. Cyclops, The Land Unknown, The Deadly Mantis and Cult of the Cobra).

Shout! Factory released the MST3K edition in the Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition DVD set.


  1. ^ The Leech Woman TCM Notes
  2. ^ The Leech Woman TCM Notes

External links[edit]