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The Leech Woman

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802 - The Leech Woman
0802
Air Date February 8, 1997
MST3K Director Kevin Murphy
Movie Director Edward Dein
Year 1959
Cast Coleen Gray
Grant Williams
Gloria Talbott
Preceded by 801 - Revenge of the Creature
Followed by 803 - The Mole People


The tests came back and it turns out you're old...
  — Mike


The Movie

Leechwoman

The Leech Woman

Synopsis

On a journey to Africa, an emotionally disturbed woman witnesses the secret of restoring lost youth - unfortunately, it entails regularly sacrificing young men.

Dr. Paul Talbot, noxious endocrinologist, is researching ways to make people look younger. Mala, a 140-year-old African-born woman who was kidnapped and  enslaved in America, seeks him out and offers him her tribe's secret (special orchid pollen) of not only longevity, but also restoration of youthful appearance. In return she wants him to pay her way back home where she will soon die. He gives her the money and divulges her secret to his emotionally needy, dipsomaniacal, and somewhat aged wife, June, whom he loathes, and hires a guide to take him to Mala's village. June goes along.
Leechwoman2-0

The Leech Woman

En route, June (who "loves" Paul) goes ballistic when she realizes he only wants her along as a guinea pig. The creepy Caucasoid crew is captured by Mala's tribe and taken to the village, just in time to witness Mala undergo a ceremony requiring the extraction of the pineal hormones of an unidentified tribesman by using a spiked ring, killing him in the process. (The pineal gland is a about the size of a grain of rice and is located at the center of the skull. The ring would have to pierce the skull (which, of course, is made of solid bone) and penetrate five inches into the brain, unguided, to find the pineal gland.) She then mixes the fluid with the pollen and ingests it, making her young again. (It only lasts for a short time, which turns out to be a bit of a wrinkle).
JuneOld

Old June

Mala offers the ring to June along with any man she desires for the necessary hormone, since the tribe intends to whack them all shortly, anyway. She accepts. Paul plans to escape and "get help", but June turns the tables on him, choosing him as the man who will be sacrificed. (He doesn't protest his fate much, perhaps realizing that death is a small price to get away from June). She undergoes the procedure and is restored to the bloom of youth. June and the guide then create a distraction (they throw sticks of dynamite around, displaying the custom of their people, depraved indifference to human life) and escape with the stolen ring and pollen. The effect is ephemeral. June realizes she must keep killing men to stay young, and she allows the guide to expire in some handy quicksand, hastily harvesting his hormones as he slides into the Earth.

JuneYoung

Young June

Back in the States, Sally (Gloria Talbott), the late Dr. Talbot's nurse, is the fiance of Neil, June's feckless lawyer. June  leverages her acquired youth to invent a persona, "Terry Hart", niece of the woman formerly known as June, and she relentlessly pursues the personality-free Neil, arousing Sally's ire. Meanwhile, she cruises the bars and boulevards, conning men for their sweet, sweet pineal juice.

Neil succumbs to "Terry's" wiles and decides to propel Sally footwise to the pavement discontinuity, you might say. Sally confronts "Terry", aiming to run her out of town with the aid of a Saturday night special; in a struggle, June/Terry dispatches her with the ring, extracting her hormone. (By this time, a glancing swipe across the side of the neck is enough to smash, in less than a second, through the hair, scalp, skull and soft tissues to the center of the brain, bloodlessly and with robotic accuracy. The victims don't even cry out in pain). She leaves the body, a bit carelessly, I rather think, in the coat closet.

Leechwoman2

Even Older June

At the onset of an evening of debauchery June has planned with the now-unattached Neil, a detective arrives, investigating the murder of one of the men June has murdered (the hyper, juiced-up palooka from The Unearthly),  and begins asking questions. During a search, he discovers Sally's lifeless body. Crazed, June rants to the stunned assembly about the youth formula and attempts to demonstrate with Sally's pineal secretions; alas, juice from the female does not work (or maybe, like insulin, it loses its effectiveness if not refrigerated). She does not become youthful, and, realizing she's lost everything and (maybe) has killed Sally (and all the others) for nothing (or at least, not the payoff she expected), she hurls herself off of her second-story bedroom balcony. In death she reveals her secret.

Information

  • Turns out the screenwriter was inspired by an older brother who used to beat him about the head while wearing a class ring. Take note: This film illustrates what can happen when the art director takes over the film.
  • Julie Taymoor got the idea for the Broadway version of "The Lion King" from watching this movie (during Mala's rejuvenation ceremony, keep your eyes on the "African" fellow who, in every shot in which he appears is saddled with wearing a "ceremonial tusk mask / football helmet / chorus girl chapeau" which completely conceals his face and makes, I suspect, every scene an unforgettable pleasure to shoot).
  • 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).
  • Stars Coleen Gray and Phillip Terry were so into their performances as a feuding couple that they didn't even get along off-camera either.
  • The scene where June Talbot is walking the street in front of the bar, the same Mambo song in the back ground was also used in the movie, "Written on the Wind" (1956). Rock Hudson & Dorothy Malone danced to it
  • The nurse remarks that Old Malla looks like she came right out of The Mummy's Tomb(1942), a movie produced by Ben Pivar.
  • Estelle Hemsley and Kim Hamilton, who play the old and young versions of Malla, both died at the age of 81.

The Episode

Host Segments

Nanitesonstrike

Nanites on strike

Prologue: The Bots discover an infestation of prairie dogs and use a special vaccum to catch them. Mike is disbelieving until Servo rounds up a herd.

Segment One: Crow still can't remember Mike, much less the prairie dogs he sucked up. Dr. Peanut discovers his destiny...to wear diapers and roller skate around Deep Ape. Professor Bobo and the other apes eventually succumb to diapers and tutus, much to the disgust of The Lawgiver.
802-1

Tom Servo as Granny

Segment Two: The Satellite is still broken, so the gang appeals to the Nanites. They're on strike, at least until the strike is broken by a Nanite tank that squishes their union leader.

Segment Three: Pearl is enjoying some leisure time until Bobo interrupts to point out she hasn't made any laws. Pearl decrees there is no parking on Sundays and soup with buffet. Pearl asks for suggestions, from the SOL crew. Tom's laws reveal he was up to some interesting things during his universal travels...

Segment Four: The Bots want Mike to, um, check out their pillory; his contacts save him from the Bots stealing his pineal juices. Mike is strangely unbothered by this. Luckily, Gypsy has that Richard Basehart weakness...

VarmintVac

The Bots with the Varmint Vac


Segment Five: Servo really, really wants to do his impression of Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies. Mike and Crow suspect Servo just wants to run around yelling "JEEEEEEDDDD!" Tom takes it too far, as always. In Deep Ape, the apes are returning to civilized ways. It works until Peanut finds the diapers again.

Stinger: Detective defeats lawyer with LOGIC!

Other Notes

Miscellaneous

  • Unusual credits: Servo yells "JEEEEEEDDDD!" over the credits.
  • Jim Mallon is listed as a writer for the last time ever in this episode.

Callbacks

Running Jokes

  • "JED!!!"
  • Sally's attempts to get Neil's attention away from "Terry": "Neil! Neil! NEIL!"

Quotes & References

  • "Uh-oh, Ed Gein!"
Ed Gein, a serial killer arrested in Wisconsin in 1957, became infamous for making a "woman suit" from the bodies of his victims.
  • "It's Five Alive!"

Five Alive is a blended juice drink sold by Minute Maid.

  • "And don't forget, Nick and Honey are coming over tonight."

Nick and Honey are two secondary characters from the movie/play Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

  • "This is when Hazelden didn't have it all worked out yet."

The Hazelden Foundation is a Minnesota-based chain of drug and alcohol rehab centers.

  • "Miss Jane Pittman and Mr. George Clinton were wed today..."
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a novel in which a 110-year-old African-American woman recounts the events of her life, and was made into an acclaimed made-for-TV movie in 1974. George Clinton is a funk musician known for his oddball clothing and hairstyle.
  • "She dances like a drunk girl at the Blainbrook Bowl"
A bowling alley in Blaine, MN, a Minneapolis suburb (www.blainbrookbowl.com).
  • "Oh Miss Havisham"
A mad and wealthy old woman who figures prominently in Great Expectations.
  • "Have you heard the drums Unando?"
A take on the ABBA song "Fernando."
  • "Agnes Moorehead as Endora!"
Agnes Moorehead played Endora on the 1960s sitcom Bewitched.
  • "Man, I hate how these guys are ripping off David Byrne's music!"
David Byrne used sub-Saharan African polyrhythms prominently on the Talking Heads' album Remain in Light.
  • "He's not a very good mohel, is he?"

In Judaism, a Mohel (rhymes with 'soil') is a rabbi or other synagogue member trained to perform male circumcision, performed on the eighth day after birth.

Memorable Quotes

[Regarding the splotchy pattern behind the movie's opening titles]:
Crow: It's a Rorschach test.
Mike: I see a lot of spilled ink congealing in random patterns.
Servo: That means you're a sexual predator.
[Nurse Sally listens as Old Malla explains to endocrinologist Paul Talbot how she's lived past 140.]
Malla: When we are alone, I will speak.
Crow [as Dr. Talbot]: Well, we kinda are alone. Nursie isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
[The jungle explorers trudge through stage sets of Africa, interspersed with stock footage of jungle animals.]
Crow [as Guide]: Well, we'd better camp here tonight. The next stock footage is 18 miles away.
[A stock-footage lion approaches the party, who raise their guns in fear.]
Crow [as Lion]: Um... hakuna matata?
. . .
[The party finds a small, empty shipping crate in a clearing.]
Servo: I see — it's a three room Japanese apartment.
[Lawyer Neil proposes to Teri, who's wearing a silvery dress.]
Neil: Teri... would you marry me?
[Teri pulls away.]
Mike [as Neil]: Uh... uh... I withdraw the question.
Teri: Oh, Neil — I can't.
Servo [as Teri]: Starfleet forbids it.
[During one of the many "African" scenes.]
Mike: Sadly, this tribe of extras no longer exists.
[A hard-boiled detective lazily investigates the house.]
Crow: This guy's gonna die of nonchalance.
Mike: This is like a murderous episode of Lucy.

Video Release


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