If You Love B Horror Flicks You’ll Get Sucked Into ‘Mind Leech’

Mind Leech

Rating: 8/10

Directors: Chris Cheeseman and Paul Krysinski

Style: Horror/Comedy

Time: 61 minutes

Website: https://www.mindleech.com

Review by Mike Szymanski

Steff Ivory Conover and Mischa O’Hoski are ad-libbing all the way

If you love kitschy B-horror movies that are almost as funny as they are scary, you will easily get sucked into “Mind Leech.”

I am one of those critics who loves to watch the B-horror Roger Corman-ish films over and over again, and I love horror movie spoofs even more, and I can only imagine this is what it is meant to be. “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavara” is still one of our family’s all-time favorite horror comedy spoof, like “Young Frankenstein” it has us laughing our heads off with macabre humor and off-color jokes.

What makes “Mind Leech” so fresh is not that is unpredictable (it’s fairly standard in its horror monster plot line) but that it is very obviously and unabashedly ad-libbed along the way.

In fact, the entire cast is practically credited with writing the screenplay, and both co-directors play parts in the film, too.

Chris Cheeseman, one of the directors, is one of the first people we meet as a pair of buffoons who are dumping a canister of chemicals in the town’s lake and water supply. He is credited in the role of “Polluting Asshole” and his co-hort played by Hugh Goodden is “Polluting Idiot.”

And so, when they dump the toxic chemicals in the lake, one of them pulls out a gun to shoot at it and spill the contents in the water, and the other says, rather prophetically, “Put a slug in it.”

Funny indeed, and what’s great is that the cast plays it straight, because the biggest downfall of films like this is that they play it for laughs, and that usually falls flat. But this cast is strong, and straight, and therefore very funny, and they obviously are very good at playing off each other. In fact, it is a series of duo scenes with two characters in each segment that create a story and plot between them that weaves together as they go along.

The chemicals have created a giant eel-like monster out of a small leech.

The next couple we come across is a pair of best friends who are also losers and one of them is played by co-director Paul Krisinski. Along with Daniel James McGee, who is portraying “Juicy” Henderson, they go ice fishing from a tiny hut where they drink a lot of hooch, and talk about never actually catching anything every time they come out there and spends hours together.

Juicy talks about how close the buddies are, and it seems like they’re almost having a “Brokeback Mountain” kind of outing until Juicy goes out to take a whiz. Then, the giant leech pops out of the hole and attaches itself to its victims’ neck like a giant penis that wraps around the throat and sucks brains.

The leech attack turns the victim in a murderous psycho, and so Juicy gets drowned in the icy water by his buddy, who then goes to visit some friends on his snow bike.

The leech seems to turn people into zombie-like creatures who can’t think and can barely walk on their own, but have enough sense to know familiar places and know how to drive.

Enter another hapless couple, she is out chopping wood, and he watches from the window as she is attacked by the guy who has the giant leech on his neck and is sucking out his brain.

The stars of the dual-dialogue set-ups are a pompous sheriff and his wise-cracking deputy. The sheriff is played by Mischa O’Hoski whose daddy was the sheriff and he has never had any desire to be anything else. The deputy is played by Steff Ivory Conover who transferred from a big city police agency to find a peaceful and quiet situation. She ends up regretting that decision.

It’s Conover and O’Hoski who do the best ad-libbing together and have a fabulous love-hate rapport that last throughout the film. Someone is going to take a false rap for this entire leech story, and inevitably it will be swept under the rug, but that only allows for an appropriately goofy sequel to this wacky story.

The whole movie is only a bit longer than an hour, and that makes it fun, quick and not too drawn out. The story takes place in a rural town called Provinstate in 1998, before cell phones and tasers.

The directors both admit the whole movie is “improvised, both on and off camera.”

It’s all planned out only for safety and insurance reasons and the rest was decided on the day of the shoot and how the weather affected the scenes they are about the shoot. They shot all of it during a Canadian winter in the middle of the pandemic.

No call sheets, no script, nor continuity person seemed to affect the logic of the simple plot.

Cheeseman, one of the directors says, “Actors wrote their own lines and developed their own characters. The plan was built around having a small team of talented and experienced people.”

He added, “Despite the harsh Canadian winter shooting conditions, we had fun. The small size of the team allowed everyone to participate and bring their own innovation to the story.”

He says, “I hope the fun and humor we had on the set translate to the screen and the audience.”

Yes, it does.

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