You’re as old as you look.
Dr. Paul Talbot (Phillip Terry) is an endocrinologist. Wait, What? An endocrinologist. Ok. What is an endocrinologist? Well, glad you asked. An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the endocrine system. In other words Glands. Quite often gland experiments are used as plot mechanisms in Horror movies from the 50’s. No exception here.
Doctor Talbot meets an old woman named Malla (Estelle Hemsley) who offers him the secret to the fountain of youth if he’ll give her money so she can go back to her tribe in Africa. The doctor agrees. The doctor hires a guide and takes his alcoholic wife June (Coleen Gray) with him on a Safari to the old woman’s jungle village. The doctor wants to use his wife as the guinea pig for his experiments. His mistake. He finds out that the pollen from an orchid that grows in the jungle is the secret to living longer. (I’ve seen orchids as fountain of youth medicine from movies like the “Anaconda” series of movies.)
There is another secret the old lady has. If you mix the pollen with another ingredient it will return you to your youth for awhile and you basically party till you drop dead. In order to make the serum, fluid is needed from a healthy man’s pineal gland. (Get your mind out of the gutter. The pineal gland is on the back of the brain.) (Not that brain, the other one.) The fluid is mixed with the pollen from the orchid. The woman drinks it and… voila! Did I forget to mention that when you take the fluid out of the pineal gland the man dies? Oh, sorry. But there is another catch. She needs to keep on killing and taking the serum to not only stay young but stay alive.
The trouble really starts when Malla offers June the same opportunity. So who does June select to be the male who's pineal fluid is harvested for her transformation? Doctor Talbot of course.
"The Leech Woman" was released in 1960 and was directed by Edward Dein. Despite the weird name, “The Leech Woman”, the movie had an interesting storyline. It’s a little different. Not one of Universal’s best but not bad and definitely better than a lot of other campy movies done during that time. It’s certainly good enough to be in your 50’s horror movie collection.
The characters are still basic. You have an egotist husband and a down trodden alcoholic wife. Their marriage is a sham. He's ready for a trophy wife and she just wants some attention. Add to that Neil, June's attorney who is engaged but has no problem cheating with the young June. Neil's fiancé Sally must know what a dog he is since she is willing to kill to keep him. Everybody's got issues. None of the characters are really likeable and for the most part are all morally bankrupt.