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The Leech Woman (1960)

Approved | | Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi | May 1960 (USA)
An endocrinologist in a dysfunctional marriage with an aging, alcoholic wife journeys to Africa seeking a drug that will restore youth.



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
June Talbot
Neil Foster
Dr. Paul Talbot
Bertram Garvay
Estelle Hemsley ...
Kim Hamilton ...
Young Malla
Arthur Batanides ...

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When a very old African woman offers an ambitious endocrinologist the secret of eternal youth, he decides to take his estranged and no-longer-young-and-beautiful wife along with him on the safari. But then she finds out the true reason for their sudden reconciliation is so that she can serve as his guinea pig. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially one with a stolen pineal gland tapper. But once you try Nipe, there's no going back. Written by Larry Cline

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Forever young! Forever deadly! She lived off the life blood of male victims! See more »


Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

May 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Leech  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Universal (then Universal-International) made this low budget horror film because they needed a second feature to play with their U.S. release of the Hammer production The Brides of Dracula (1960). See more »


When June visits Neil in his office after returning from Africa, Neil asks her why she didn't call him. She replies "I didn't want to bother you." However her lips clearly are saying, "Because I didn't want to bother you." See more »


[first lines]
Dr. Paul Talbot: Well, that's a novelty - you're refusing anything with alcohol in it! I'm not used to seeing you sober this time of day.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wanted: Men for milking & consuming pineal gland; then throw away!
20 October 2008 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

The low rating and numerous negative reviews around here as well as on external websites warned me to approach "The Leech Woman" with caution and an absolute minimum of expectations, but I honestly didn't think it was such a bad movie. Admittedly the script is incoherent and extremely predictable, but the rudimentary story lines are original and engaging and - unlike so many other contemporary cheap Sci-Fi movies - this one at least doesn't feature any overlong boring speeches and dull padding footage. The screenplay of "The Leech Woman" is already pretty stuffed as it is, with the tone of the film shifting no less than three times, so there really isn't any room for boredom. It may perhaps offer just a few surprises and even less shocks, but at least you won't constantly be staring at the timer, wondering when it'll be over. The film opens with a wondrous sequence of a married couple viciously bickering. He's a heartless and obnoxious scientist continuously preoccupied with his work (the secret to rejuvenation) and she's a depressed and alcohol addicted wreck due to his cruelty. When Dr. Talbot meets the 152 year old Malla, he realizes her native tribe holds the secret of eternal youth and follows his patient to the heart of the African jungle. There they witness a ritual that turns the old and wrinkled Malla into a stunning beauty with just a few drops of juice coming from a dying man's pineal gland. The slick Dr. Talbot wants the formula and attempts to win his wife back in order to use her as a guinea pig, but the joke turns against him when the rejuvenating woman needs to select a man to sacrifice and, obviously, June picks her beloved husband. She returns to the States as a young and stunningly beautiful young woman, but she needs to kill random men and milk their pineal glands in order to stay desirable.

"The Leech Woman" definitely has a pretty cool and eventful script; you just need to overlook a copious number of plot holes, improbabilities and continuity errors. There's no real suspense to enjoy, but nonetheless plenty of action and a handful of impressive make-up effects (especially the make-up that makes old women look even older). However, the movie's greatest achievement is presumably an unintentional one: pure and genuine irony! Although a story that constantly revolves on beauty and popularity, the cast of characters only includes shallow, substantially ugly and insupportable individuals. At least Dr. Talbot is a bastard right from the start, but all the others gradually turn into intolerable people. The pitiable and humiliated wife becomes a relentless killer, the fragile old lady becomes a stone-cold tribe leader, the helpful guide transforms into a shallow runaway lover, the devoted attorney becomes an adulterous jerk and the cherubic fiancée changes into a jealous fury. Honestly, I've rarely seen such an unpleasant and even downright misanthropic collection of people playing together in one film … and that's sort of fascinating!

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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