Horror Month: Man vs Nature

This month might just kill me...

This month might just kill me…

When I came up with the idea of doing these double feature articles I wanted each week to have a different theme. This week’s theme is man vs nature. Each film features man fighting a deformed version of nature.

I’d never scene this weeks two films so the article is my first reaction to watching them. I’m not afraid to say that neither of these films were easy to sit through.

The titles alone were all the motivation that I needed to watch these films, but they were bad.

So let’s jump right in and I’ll explain my pain.

Attack of the Giant Leeches

The Attack of the Giant Leeches was directed by Bernard L. Kowalski and written by Leo Gordon.

The Attack of the Giant Leeches was directed by Bernard L. Kowalski and written by Leo Gordon.

In the Florida Everglades there’s more than just gators swimming the backwaters. A new predictor has mutated and taken over the land. Giant Leeches…yes giant leeches have become the new predator in the swamp.

While this might seem like an awesome idea for a film, it fails to do more than annoy.

Right off the bat the title, Attack of the Giant Leeches, is a bit miss leading. What we really get is the abductions of the giant leeches followed by people talking for 20 minutes.

Behold the terror of giant leeches

Behold the terror of giant leeches

The basic plot of the film revolves around a small town where a Game Warden named Steven (Ken Clark) is dealing with poachers.

However gators and giant leeches aren’t the only killers near the swap as we also follow a character named David (Bruno VeSota) who ends up finding his unfaithful wife Liz (former playboy model Yvette Vickers) with another man.

Instead of dealing with this like a normal human being he ends up chasing them throughout the swap with a gun and backing them into the water. From there the leeches take the two and leave David to take the blame.

Soon after two hillbillies go try and find the bodies for the sheriff department but spend too much time drinking moonshine and end up being capture themselves.

The rest of the film is spent by Steve, his girlfriends Nan (Jan Sheppard) and her father Doc Greyson (Tyler McVey) trying to convince people that they captured townsfolk are still alive and can be saved.

I’m not gonna lie this movie is horrible.

The film was shot on black and white and was shot so dark that it’s difficult to see what the heck is happening. The audio isn’t much better as it sounds like most of the dialogue was done on location with a poor mic with little to no ADR was done to try and clear up the muddled dialogue.

The only good thing this film has going for it is it’s short running time of 62 minutes. The film is so forgettable that it’s difficult to write much more about it.

It’s poorly written, acted, shot. It’s the stereotypical c-movie schlock that you’d expect. The addition of Playboy centerfold Yvette Vicekers really sums up the quality of the film as a whole i.e. there’s not a lot there.

She had nice legs though.

She had nice legs though.

The only interesting fact about this movie was that it was produced by Gene Corman, Roger’s brother. Aside from that I’d pass on this one.

Here’s hoping that the next one is better. But, my hopes are not what you’d call high.

The Killer Shrews

The Killer Shrews was directed by Ray Kellogg and written by Jay Simms.

The Killer Shrews was directed by Ray Kellogg and written by Jay Simms.

The small crew of the supply boat, Captain Thorne Sherman (James Best) and first mate Griswold (Henry Durpree) ended up biting off more than they can chew when they end up delivering supplies to an island owned by a Dr. Cragis (Baruch Lumet).

Killer animals that are waiting to kill and eat anything that stays on the island.

What types of creatures I hear you asking? Shrews…killer shrews.

For those of you, like myself, who have no idea what a shrew is well it’s a mole-like creature that looks like this.

Eeeeeeckkkk it's a small unthreatening animal.

Eeeeeeckkkk it’s a small unthreatening animal.

However in the film, they’re quote “ giant 100 pound creatures” that are looking for food. These 100-pound killer shrews are really just dogs in stupid looking costumes and shot mostly from a distance or from the side.

While a concept like this is laughable their could be a chance to add some tension to the film with a creepy atmosphere and solid characterization.

However this B-grade horror film from the late 50s falls so short of that it breaks its teeth on the ground.

The film is filled so many clichés that even the soundtrack has seemingly given up and plays overly dramatic music while Cragis offers our hero a martini inside away from danger.

Over the course of the film our hero bitch slaps drunken guards, drinks alcohol while his first mate get’s killed and waits inside while he hopes a hurricane will kill all of the evil shrews outside…my hero.

However, their master plan of waiting for the monster’s to die shocking doesn’t work and the group most uses their brains and a plot generator of an A-Team episode to escape from the dogs in costume.

The survivors end up using a blowtorch to attach several barrels together and create a walking tank thing to get to the water and swim to the boat. Yep it’s as ridicules as it sounds.

I swear I'm not kidding you. This is an image from a movie shot by real people on film.

I swear I’m not kidding you. This is an image from a movie shot by real people on film.

But there’s one burning question that must be on your minds. How did those Shrews turn into the fierce killing machines that rarely appear on screen?

While our hero doesn’t care, Dr. Cragis explains that he started experimenting on shrew in order to stop their over population by making the shrews bigger thus making their life spans longer.

Now a normal human being might have an follow up question or two so I’ll ask what your probably thinking. “Who thought that was a good idea?”

Does anyone care about the over population of shrews? This scientist’s research has reached greater heights of stupidity than the US governments experiments with dolphins.

In the end neither of these films are even watchable. While you’d think movies about giant leeches and killer shrews would at least be good for a laugh these were some of the most painful films I’ve ever watched, up there with Ghost Rider.

If you see these films in a dark ally run away and call an adult.

Here’s hoping that next week will be better.

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