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Attack of the Giant Leeches

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Clowns are raining down.
Hear the screams of the greasepaint!
DANGER! Clown Puddles.

That was a really nice haiku, Tom Servo
  — Tom and Joel


406 - Attack of the Giant Leeches
0406
Air Date July 18, 1992
AKA Attack of the Blood Leeches;
Demons of the Swamp (UK);
She Demons of the Swamp
Movie Director Bernard L. Kowalski
Year 1959
Cast Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Michael Emmet, Bruno VeSota, Gene Roth
Short Undersea Kingdom, Episode 1: Beneath the Ocean Floor
Preceded by 405 - Being from Another Planet
Followed by 407 - The Killer Shrews

The Short

Synopsis

Brilliant scientist Professor Norton, a plucky gal reporter named Diana, the professor’s stowaway son Billy, and heroic Navy lieutenant Crash Corrigan take off to investigate mysterious undersea earthquakes in the professor’s rocket-powered submarine. Hundreds of leagues beneath the sea, they find the kingdom of Atlantis, the source of the seismic waves. The comparatively advanced undersea society has television, robots, and armored cars (though for the most part, they ride horses, fight with swords, and wear skimpy tunics and silly hats). And now it is this same technological know-how that has caused the Atlantesians to damage the Earth’s surface. Crash and his friends learn that the seismic activity is just a side effect of Atlantis' real problem: a rebellion led by the odious Unga Khan.

Information

The Movie

Synopsis

After local moonshine-swilling trapper Lem Sawyer (George Cisar) sees a giant creature, people start disappearing. While searching for illegal traps, game warden Steve Benton (Clark) and his girlfriend Nan Greyson (Shepard) find Lem dying with giant sucker wounds on his body. One couple, Liz Walker (Vickers) and Cal Moulton (Emmet), forced into the water by her enraged husband Dave Walker (Bruno VeSota), gets taken by the leeches. Soon after, two more trappers disappear and Benton gets involved. He and Nan's father, Dr. Greyson (Tyler McVey), realize that the people were taken by the leeches and that the leeches live in caves under the swamp. Using dynamite, the four missing bodies are discovered and the leeches are destroyed. [1]

Information

Stretched out by the divers’ air tanks, the giant leech costumes split during production; that’s why we only get to see fleeting glimpses of the creatures.

The Episode

Host Segments

Prologue: The Holo-clowns from the previous episode just won't go away and are driving everyone bonkers, forcing Joel to make a drastic decision.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): Tom performs a clown haiku. Dr. F and Frank demo Patches the Leech as a cure for smoking to get around FDA regulations. Joel and the Bots show their Insty-Adolescent Kit, making Servo feel quite awkward.

Segment Two: Crow was affected by the short a bit more than he thought. This leads into a discussion about what they'd wear to take over the world, what overwrought plot they'd use to complete their goal, and how they'd make the world pay. Dr. F effectively proves Joel's point.

Segment Three: The SOL crew takes a coffee break and discusses how the movie compares to the weird dreams they've had. Crow still has Billy.

Segment Four: Based on the backwoods hillbillies from the movie, the crew performs the song, "A Danger to Myself And Others".

Segment Five: Joel and the Bots try to understand the motives of the leeches. Joel: "I think they just went on killing and killing until it was all about killing and it wasn’t about fun anymore." They then read a letter. Billy is still present. Meanwhile in Deep 13, Patches has been sucking on Frank a bit too long.

Stinger: Perched on a window, little Billy has a psychotic episode.

Other Notes

Obscure References

  • "Behold, Sub-Mariner, prince of the sea!"

Joel is quoting one of the theme songs from The Marvel Super Heroes.

  • "Look! He's being followed by Michael Nesmith!"/"Did you know my mom invented Liquid Paper?"

It's true! Michael Nesmith (of the Monkees) is indeed the son of the inventor of Liquid Paper, Bette Nesmith Graham.

  • "Looks like rush hour at Spaghetti Junction!"

"Spaghetti Junction" is a nickname for an interchange between Interstate 35E and Interstate 94 in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Also, there is an interchange between Interstates 285 and 85 known as "Spaghetti Junction" just north of Atlanta, GA.

  • "Rock the boat, don't rock the boat baby..."

​The endlessly-repeated sage advice from the 1974 Hues Corporation disco hit.

  • "Xanadu, stately underwater home of Charles Foster Kane...!"

An oft-used quote from the movie Citizen Kane . MST3K used it in enough shows that it became an item in the MST3K drinking game .

  • "I am the god of hellfire!"

A quote from the Arthur Brown song "Fire", which was later covered by Prodigy. The recorded phrase was sampled from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.

  • "It's a Denver Pyle statue!"

Actor Denver Pyle is best remembered for playing Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard.

  • "Mayor Dinkins just ain't cuttin' it, is he?"

David Dinkins was mayor of New York City at the time this episode first aired.

  • "Gray Lady Down for Contel!"

A reference to Gray Lady Down, a 1978 disaster movie starring Charlton Heston, and to an ad campaign in which Heston endorsed Continental Telephone.

  • "Billy Bathtub, what a terrible movie."

A reference to the 1991 gangster movie Billy Bathgate . Not terrible, but mediocre --- Dustin Hoffman was inexplicably cast as gangster Dutch Schultz. (Mitigating factor: Nicole Kidman in a state of undress.)

  • "I knew Colonel Kurtz was close...he was real close."

A reference to Marlon Brando's character in Apocalypse Now.

  • "Get him girls, he hit Buddy!"

​Joel is mis-quoting a line from the end of the movie Blazing Saddles . (Scene viewable here .)

  • "A man called Humbert Humbert wants to see me..."

Humbert Humbert was the lust-stricken literary scholar in Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita.

  • "We now join 'Fitzcarraldo', already in progress."

Fitzcarraldo was a 1982 film directed by Werner Herzog.

  • "Oh great, they're letting Jay North lead the pack here!

Jay North starred in the live-action TV version of Dennis the Menace.

  • "Answer unclear, ask again."

This is a call to the greatest fortune-telling device of all time, the Magic 8 Ball.

  • "Regular Nina Totenberg, isn't she?"

Nina Totenberg is an American legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio.

  • "Then I dated David Soul for a while..."

​Actor David Soul, of Starsky & Hutch fame (he was the blond guy), has been married five times. His third wife left him due to his alcoholism and violent temper.

  • "Don't ever get off the boat."

​General advice from the film Apocalypse Now .

  • "No, they're Scientologists!"

Leeches are annelids. Scientologists are members of a group founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. Some find their belief system (which they identify as a religious organization) to be questionable.

  • "It's the star of Ralph Bellamy, Ralph Bellamy, Ralph Bellamy."

​Movie, stage and TV actor Ralph Bellamy resembled the cranky cigar-chomping sheriff. Bellamy's career lasted from 1931 to 1990 and included helping found the Screen Actors Guild. (Gene Roth, the sheriff, also had a long career... playing heavies in Westerns and Three Stooges shorts.)

Video Release

  • Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in October 2004 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 6, a 4-DVD set with Teenagers from Outer Space, Gunslinger, and Mr. B's Lost Shorts.

Trivia

  • This movie recycles the soundtrack to Night of the Blood Beast in almost its entirety. In some cases, the music seems like it could even sync up to the time code of each movie at the same exact moment.
  • The actor Gene Roth appears as the sherriff. He also played a similar character in Earth vs. the Spider
  • Paul Chapin loves this movie, and is quoted in saying "It's got an intensity about it that I admire."

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