Leech Woman, The

Tagged: Film

US film (1960; vt Leech). Universal-International Pictures. Produced by Joseph Gershenson, Direct by Edward Dein. Written by David Duncan from a story by Ben Pivar and Frances Rosenwald. Cast includes Coleen Gray, Kim Hamilton, Estelle Hemsley, Gloria Talbott, Phillip Terry and Grant Williams. 77 minutes. Black and white.

Unscrupulous endocrinologist Dr Paul Talbott (Terry) is in a failing marriage with older wife June (Gray), and plans to divorce her – until hearing a claim from the elderly Malla (Hemsley) that she is actually over 150 years old and can show him the secret of her longevity (see Immortality) if they travel to her original African home. Deciding that this is worth looking into, Paul reconciles abruptly with June, and soon all are in the village of the Nando tribe, where old Malla is restored to youth as young Malla (Hamilton). June discovers that the only reason she was brought along was to be used as a test subject for the procedure. This involves treatment with fluid removed from the pineal gland, and Paul shortly finds himself the donor for June's Rejuvenation. Young again and having stolen a special ring needed for the procedure, June returns to the US claiming to be her own niece Terry Hart. She becomes a romantic rival to Sally (Talbott) for the attentions of friend Neil Foster (Williams), but then learns the treatment is only temporary – she must repeat the process fairly often to stay young, requiring a succession of murders. Sally arrives shortly ahead of the police to confront June over Neil; they struggle, and June overcomes her, then uses Sally's gland for her next treatment. It emerges, however, that only male gland-fluid will work and June rapidly progresses to an extremely aged state as the law arrives; she either falls or jumps out of a second-floor window to her death. This minor Horror in SF film bears some similarities to the television film The Night Strangler (1973), but this is probably coincidental. [GSt]

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