The Leech: Introducing Your New Favourite Christmas Horror

Christmas is a time for giving and spending time with those we love.

But it you can’t handle the cringeworthy sentimentality of the festive season, The Leech might be the perfect antidote: a darkly comic story of a priest’s crisis of faith after he opens his home to troubled couple Terry (Jeremy Gardner) and Lexi (Taylor Zaudtke) for the holiday period.

It isn’t long until they’ve outstayed their welcome, tempting Father David (Graham Skipper) to act upon his innermost desires in ways that are much worse than you could imagine.

Arrow Video

The movie was initially devised as a more expansive thriller, but due to COVID and budget restraints, it wound up getting reworked as what writer/director Eric Pennycoff describes as a “reverse home invasion film”.

He explained to Zavvi: “When COVID hit, people were saying that filmmakers would need to learn how to make movies shot in a single location, with just a couple of actors. I think every indie filmmaker hearing that felt like, ‘yep, this is what we were already doing!’

“The idea for this film started during the pandemic, where I found myself getting obsessed with nineties thrillers like Pacific Heights and Bad Influence, movies where you have a straight character and a more crooked, evil one – the classic American thriller tropes.

“It felt more interesting to me to have a character you don’t want to get rid of, rather than an interloper stuck in your house. From there, I quickly decided this character should be a priest and the film should be set at Christmas.

“A Catholic priest is someone I couldn’t be further from, but I know it as well as anything: I was brought up Catholic and went to Catholic schools my entire life – it’s been around me as much as anything has, so it fed into the film quite a bit.”

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The Leech is out now on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.