Perhaps it was my Shingrix-addled brain—but we all know that’s an excuse—I decided to watch Creature (1985) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (timeless) over the past couple of days. The former was a decision made when not having the energy to read, I could still search Amazon Prime for “free to me.” I was all set to start Attack of the Giant Leeches when I scrolled over Creature only to learn it would be free for only eight hours more. I recalled, somewhere in the haze, that a movie called Creature was on my watch list, and since time was running out, I clicked play. Clearly a knock-off of Alien, with even a Sigourney Weaver stand-in, it was one of the most badly written films I’d seen in a long time. I was surprised to learn it’d had a theatrical release.
A crew stranded on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, finds a creature—one that looks like a down market version of Ridley Scott’s nightmare—that feeds on unsuspecting astronauts. Still, the surprises kept coming. The impossibly pretty women and rugged men of the crew seemed unlikely. And was that Klaus Kinski trying a move on the security officer that he wouldn’t have survived if he’d tried it on Sigourney? And how was it even possible that this was nominated for the Best Horror Film of 1985 at the Saturn Awards? Okay, granted 1985 wasn’t a banner year for horror, but Creature really doesn’t seem to hit the bill for “best of” category—but it was over 25 years after a classic.
Attack of the Giant Leeches is obviously the lesser of the two movies, but it falls into the category of “so bad it’s good.” The leeches are clearly people in rubber suits, and the caricatures of the hooch-swillin’ swamp-dwellin’ lazy ole homeboys is just too good to pass up. And the fact that it’s just over an hour long is a bonus when you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open. Those black-and-white sci-fi horror films of the fifties sure take me back to more innocent times (not the fifties, and the film isn’t all that innocent). Given that both movies were free on Prime, and given that my head was fuzzy from my vaccine, I counted this as a worthwhile effort at staying awake. We seem to have come to a more sophisticated era, in many regards. Such films can’t compete with their modern-day counterparts and even streaming companies are producing their own these days. There’s something to those older films, however, and maybe it’s helped along by a shot in the arm.