As one unearths the forgotten and wretched movies, in the DOA Reviews, it feels only fittingly in an era of redos, reimagining, and remakes, that the tenth discovery actually becomes one of them, our first and likely not the last. Facing the truth of many of these, abominations deserve a rightful place on this list, such as director Gus Van Sant’s Psycho (1998). However, dear readers and horror fans that nightmare lays in the distant future, as the journey continues with unmarked graves, with director Brett Kelly, marking a return to the this column with his remake of legendary producer Roger Corman’s Attack of the Giant Leeches from 1959. Corman, a well-known horror icon and director, for his films retelling the Edgar Allan Poe’s stories which often starred Vincent Price. This particular movie fit into the horror and sci-fi crossover of the late 50s, headed by director Bernard L. Kowalski and screenwriter Leo Gordon, earned a 3.5 rating on IMDb site, which Kelly’s production didn’t even make half of that lofty goal. Brett’s work with writer Jeff O’Brien tweaking the script for modern-day, sadly it never helped it, losing the campiness for terror never materializing. While Kelly’s initial thought consisted of good intentions revisited those movies of lessor known quality and thereby abandon his independent stories such as Attack of the Jurassic Shark (2012) for this storyline.
The original tale lacked the blood and guts and so does this movie, the creature effects of the first flick contained actors wear suits similar to trash bags with fake suckers. Herein the modern leeches appear as large puppets with no teeth, therefore no wounds on the victims, more on this later, a bigger issue exists, the words ‘attack’ and ‘giant’ neither occur in the film. The attack never befalls anyone in the scary sense and the term giant one equates to that of 30ft in length, nowhere near that estimation, and likely much close to 2 or 3ft. If you seek something larger wait for Leeches (2003) a 2.6 rated masterpiece from director David DeCoteau.
The movie begins with a drunk hillbilly sneaking a peek at three college girls out in the marsh (why there – don’t trouble your mind about it), attacked by a large leech (3ft) which attaches itself to his clothed privates. He manages to free himself and returns to town with the bizarre tales that no believes – who would too fantasy fill. Soon many folks begin vanishing from the countryside and Sheriff Bucky (Kevin Preece, who starred in Kelly’s Prey for the Beast (2007) along most of the principle cast) who drives a regular car for his police vehicle, thinks serial killer. One side note, in the credits the character title of Bucky, misspelled ‘sherrif’ but the ineptness continues far past this point to find it merely trivial. Bucky turns the case over to Scott (Mike Conway) a government park ranger who’s dating Gracie (Kerri Draper) the ex-girlfriend to the top cop in the area. Meanwhile the town’s richest man Walter (Jody Hucke) commits suicide and Bucky just shrugs at the crime scene why happens unimportant please these issues only slow down the 78-minute runtime.
Gracie’s father, who’s his name never clearly given, doesn’t matter, appears to know everything, and insists about blowing up the marshes to discovers what lives at the bottom. This all muddles the murky depths of this production, which early on shows the lack of funding, and squander any improves with dead end character development. No viewer or horror fan watching low budget movies like this, want the involvement to explore the background of the roles, just deliver the splatter – whoops skip never happens. The best comes from the three women who decide to strip down to bikinis and splash in the water, now no T&A exists in the movie, nor any blood, leeches feeding sucking blood and no wounds or traces of blood. Want that – go view leeches feeding in Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) character Ally Burgess (Valerie Hartman’s death scene) or The African Queen (1951) as they suck on Humphrey Bogart. One needs to mention goofy moments in and otherwise lame movie, a woman out in the marsh screaming falls on Scott’s chest, who utters “What’s wrong?” at his feet a dead body; hard jump cuts and just oddest storytelling. Then any of the dialogue in the entire movie; falling into the understanding, one wrote for the cast they had, not the movie they made.
Kelly’s movie sadly lacks on many levels, the professional absent, the retro theme lost early in the movie, and monsters creepy enough in the description never materialize to anything remotely scary or funny. It all makes Corman’s production look like an Oscar worthy special effect dazzling affair and that really becomes incredibly strange.
Basically, this is far less than a horror movie and more of a romance tale without any chemistry or loving moments, rather Scott and Bucky go for a macho gusto tizzy brutish mentality, and none of it translates well on the screen. The flick lacks in many categories, including strange background audio, and filming most of the movie in the daylight, hence omitting the lighting issues for the most part, though it at times appears out of focus images, bad framing, odd transitions and jump cuts. One’s eyes likely to roll a lot during the movie, as the witness the nightmares of presentation before them, if they take on the challenge to view it. Simply the SyFy channel and Wild Eye Releasing likely to pass on this, the Giant Leeches thoroughly lack anything convincing qualities about them, in fact they appear an oversize flat rubbery tire shreds, because they have no teeth and transference of wounds.
Brett’s movie lacks in many areas, even more than I can mention, now if curious who distributed this mess, it comes from Brain Damage Films, and it never advances well enough to replace the original as joyful entertainment. Corman delivered a production with camp and charm, ultimately pleasing the 50s audience, but today’s wants gore, blood, violence driven mayhem along with some T&A, along with gut punching dialogue and retro feel, this contains none of it. Therefore, readers, don’t expose your eyes to this cinema, one does not need to watch this unflattering unimportant contribution to the history of horror.
IMDb Rating: 1.7/10
DOA Rating: 1.7/10