29. Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

How could I not love this film? I saw it as part of a budget box-set of 50s creature-features that also involves killer shrews, and they’re all pretty dreadful but somehow Attack of the Giant Leeches got under my skin, so to speak. There are two main reasons. Firstly, I love any film that involves actors in shoddy rubber suits pretending to be monsters: I regret the advent of computer graphics, I think if you can’t film live you shouldn’t really do it. Secondly, it stars Ken Clark, whom I don’t love for his acting talent. You might know him as Stewpot in South Pacific, the great big butch sailor with the deep voice. KC04bIn Giant Leeches he plays an extremely wooden game warden in the Florida Everglades who has the decency to take his shirt off quite a lot. Clark is like something out of Tom of Finland, and I tell you, I would gladly submit to attack by a whole swarm of killer leeches if Ken was there to rescue me. The heroine, sultry Yvette Vickers, obviously shares my feelings and you can see her in the final scene mauling Ken and thinking ‘and I get paid for this?’. Attack of the Giant Leeches takes me back to my teens and 20s when I spent many happy afternoons at the Scala Cinema watching this kind of trash, wondering just how the hell anyone had the nerve to get it produced.

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