“Keep behind me; there’s no sense in getting killed by a plant!”
When a man (Howard Keel) recovering from eye surgery learns he is one of the few survivors of a meteorite shower that has blinded most of the world, he teams up with a young stowaway (Janina Faye) and a woman (Nicole Maurey) who can also see as they attempt to protect themselves from marauding killer plants known as triffids. Meanwhile, a married pair of marine biologists (Kieron Moore and Janette Scott) living in an isolated lighthouse soon find themselves surrounded by triffids, and must find a way to survive.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Horror Films
- Howard Keel Films
- Killer Plants
- Science Fiction
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “enjoyable sci-fi” flick — based on an “exciting, thoughtful novel” by John Wyndham — is “kept from being a classic… because the triffids are foolish-looking and actually get in the way of what would have been a far more interesting storyline: how the world’s survivors cope with the end of civilization” (which is “the part of the story that was emphasized in the 1981 British TV movie”). I agree with Peary’s short review, which doesn’t provide much more than basics of the plot, and also mentions that “Freddie Francis directed the Moore-Scott scenes a year after [listed director Steve] Sekeley completed his work.” The idea of the entire world (minus a few survivors) being blinded is creepy enough that we certainly don’t need the primary plot of killer plants — which are laughably non-menacing.
The best scenes show the fallout of the meteorite-induced blindness — such as the after-effects of Keel chatting with his eye surgeon:
… the chaos of blind passengers emerging from a crashed train:
… and a plane crew’s attempt to keep passengers calm while they request help to land their doomed aircraft:
Unfortunately, nearly everything else about the film is poorly written, with the subplot about quibbling Scott and Moore (a mean alcoholic) especially jarring — though Scott does provide the film’s best scream-shots:
There’s also something inherently compelling about watching motley survivors banding together to figure out their next steps:
However, this film isn’t must-see except for those curious about its cult status.
Note: Click here to watch Janette Scott reminiscing about her experience making the portion of the film she appeared in — which includes a surprising anecdote about Oliver Reed!
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Some creepy post-apocalyptic imagery
No, but it’s worth a one-time look.
One thought on “Day of the Triffids, The (1963)”
Mostly tepid, thrown-together sci-fi which truncates and trivializes Wyndham’s terrific novel. ~though, yes, Scott should have been nominated somewhere for ‘Best Screams’. The ‘terrifying’ triffids are silly-looking and sound like a plumbing problem.
Since Richard O’Brien memorably referenced it in ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ (for ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’), one would appreciate a better flick.