The Leech Woman (1960)

I won’t go in to the plot much here, as anyone who is reading these summaries knows it by now. I personally find this to be one of the more satisfying of the 50’s/60’s-type Sci-fi films. I’m not sure why other reviewers are surprised or disappointed with the stock footage in the African scenes. It’s a low-budget horror flick! Every low (or even some medium-to-high)-budget film (& not just horror/sci-fi) from that era used stock footage to represent exotic locals. Why should anyone be critical because “The Leech Woman” did the same? Also, unlike many others, I found the acting to be quite believable, and subtle (ex: Sally (to the rejuvenated June (a.k.a. Terri Hart), after seeing that her fiancĂ©e is obviously attracted to Terri): “I’m Sally…I guess your aunt described ME to you as well”. Terri: “Yes she did”. Sally: “Well then I guess she mentioned that Neil and I are engaged”. Terri: “No, she didn’t…why should she?” Sally (in a really catty tone) “Oh, I don’t know….I just thought I’d mention it”). Dialogue like this, with it’s underlying tone & subtleties, are a joy in a cheap flick like this one. I also found the weasle-like antics of June’s doctor husband, who obviously has ulterior motives for suddenly calling off their divorce & wanting her to come to Africa, quite fun to watch, especially in his look of surprise when, after June is given her choice of any man for the sacrifice that will make her young again, picks HIM (especially after, just moment earlier, his idea of a “great escape plan” is to leave his wife there occupying the savages while he & the guide make a run for it, with the promise that “we’ll be sure to come back for you tomorrow”!).

The ending WAS a bit abrupt, but again, this was a cheap sci-fi flick, coming in at the very tail-end of the Golden Age of Sci-Fi, and I think that one needs to be realistic & forgiving if it isn’t up to the standards of today’s films, or even those made earlier when budgets were a bit more generous. And as for the “no-name cast”, as one other reviewer put it, you’ve got Grant Williams from “The Incredible Shrinking Man” and “The Monolith Monsters”, Phillip Terry from 1944’s “Monster and the Girl”, Gloria Talbott from “I Married a Monster From Outer Space” and “The Cyclops”, and Coleen Gray from 1957’s “The Vampire”. Obviously someone doesn’t know their classic Sci-Fi movie stars! All in all, a very satisfying film, too good to have been lampooned on that bastardization abomination, MST3K. Give it a try if you haven’t.