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He Said, She Said Review Site

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Attack of the Giant Leeches

What She said:

She

Most people of my generation, and maybe a little older, have heard of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  The show aired from 1988-1999, and I recall watching it almost every Saturday morning as part of my weekend rituals.  It was the brainchild of creator Joel Hodgson, and featured him (and other incarnations of a male lead) and two robot puppets, who are taken captive on a spaceship and forced by an evil scientist and his sidekick to watch really bad science fiction B-movies.  The viewer gets to watch the films along with Joel and crew, and can even see their outline on the screen in front of them, as the group mock and make wisecracks about the movie being shown.  Each week it was a different movie, and marvelously, they never really seemed to run out of baddies.  MST3K even did a movie version that was a little more vulgar, one of my personal favorites. 

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Attack of the Giant Leeches

The He and I sat down and watched the show as they reviewed Attack of the Giant Leeches.  Let me first note that during the 1950s there seemed to be no shortage of Attack of the… movies.  This 1959 masterpiece (and yes, that’s sarcasm) fits the mold—dashing male lead, romantic hook with some lady whose role is otherwise insignificant (in this case she serves coffee through the whole movie), really bad costumed scary monster.  Our monsters for this movie are really big leeches.  They’re actually dudes in flimsy costumes, whose knees you can see move as they slither across the screen.  It’s lovely. 

Here are the basics.  The scene is the Florida Everglades.  It’s dank, swampy, and our token extras are all very Southern.  We get to know this sassy vixen, Liz Walker, who seems to despise her tubby husband, and who we come to learn later has been having an affair.  Conflict ensues, and she and her boyfriend are forced to flee out into the swamps where they fall victim to the giant leeches.  Game warden, and smoken’ hot hairy macho man, Steve Benton is put on the case.  He doesn’t really believe there are giant leeches out there, as the locals have said.  His girlfriend aka the coffee lady goes with Steve, and yes, she actually attempts to serve him coffee while they’re out on a boat in the middle of the swamp.  It’s so refreshing to see how the moviemakers envisioned the role of women.  Anyway, Steve kills the leeches and saves the day, no surprise. 

There are so many things wrong with this movie that it really is prime real estate for the MST3K crew.  And boy do they tear into it.  They make light of every nuance of the film, and it’s great.  Some jokes you may not quite get.  Others have broad appeal.  The bottom line is that Joel and pals are very funny, and they make the experience of watching Attack of the Giant Leeches not only tolerable, but actually enjoyable. Some MST3K shows are better than others, but I assure you that this one is a pretty humorous.

 

Thumbs up.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Attack of the Giant Leeches

 

What He said:

He

I can’t say I am a particularly knowledgeable source on the cult TV show MST3K, but I’ve definitely caught some of it through the years. Long story short, it’s about two mad scientists who kidnap a janitor named Joel (played by Joel Hodgson), launch him into space, and force him to watch terrible movies! He is joined by a few robots he created from spare parts lying around his spaceship prison.

The fun thing about this show is you get two for the price of one. You get to watch a crappy old B movie as well as someone making fun of it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t paying attention to the movies they’re mocking. Sure, I’m focusing in on their jokes, but I catch myself paying to plot of the movies they are ragging on, no matter how bad they are. Technically speaking, you get 3 movies for the price of one because Attack of the Giant Leeches is preceded by a short video.

Undersea Kingdom, Episode 1: Beneath the Ocean Floor. You should have seen the look on my face about 2-3 minutes into this. “This can’t be Attack of the Giant Leeches”, I said to the She. Confused, she pulled out her phone and quickly put an end to my confusion. Once we got that out of the way, we were treated to the first part of an old serial. I was kind of excited. Is this what it was like seeing movies in the old days?  Pretty cool if you ask me. Certainly better than the half hour worth of commercials and previews you see before a movie nowadays. Long story short, it’s about a group of people who discover to the Lost City of Atlantis. It is very amusing in its stupidity and you can actually watch it right here if you’d like. There’s robots, people on horseback, tanks, submarines, and plenty of characters who seemingly have no business being part of such an important historical and scientific discovery.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Attack of the Giant Leeches

Now comes the main act. Leeches opens with bunch of moonshiners/swamp people hanging out in the local general store owned by a rather rotund man named Dave (Bruno Vesota). They’re just king of hanging out, drinking moonshine, swapping stories, when one of them busts out a fantastic tale about some kind of giant creature he saw in the swamp. The gang has a good laugh at his expense.

The gathering is interrupted by Dave’s wife Liz (Yvette Vickers). She seems to exist mostly to bust Dave’s stones and tell him how much she is disgusted by him. Dave is a respected member of the community and can’t be having no female disrespecting him in front of his buddies like that. He tells her as much and after a brief spat, she storms off. We later find out that she is quite the hussy and is canoodling in the jungle with someone who is not her husband. Soon after that, the shit hits the fan and the giant leeches make their first big appearance.

Super-stud game warden Steve Benton is put on the case. Steve (Ken Clarke) doesn’t believe in any of this nonsense. He is a man of science and tall tales like this go against his fact-driven approach to things. Nevertheless, he does his job and looks into the situation on the off-chance something fishy is going on.

There is also this woman who seems to think the answer to all the world’s problems is coffee. I think she’s the sheriff’s daughter, but I never totally understood exactly who she was. That doesn't matter as long as she's there to comfort the men with a hot cup of Joe!

This movie is ripe for the picking and makes the perfect candidate for MST3K. You’re in luck, toobecause the whole thing is below if you’ve like to watch it.

Rating: thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on November 16, 2012.