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The Day of the Triffids

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Day of the Triffids (1963) starring Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey

The Day of the Triffids is a famous science fiction horror tale. Triffids are tall, carnivorous, mobile plants capable of aggressive and seemingly intelligent behavior. They are able to move about by “walking” on their roots. Triffids appear to communicate with each other. And they have a deadly whip-like poisonous sting that enables them to kill their victims …. And feed on their rotting carcasses.

Product Description 

Buy from Amazon A shower of meteorites produces a glow that blinds anyone that looks at it. As it was such a beautiful sight, most people were watching, and as a consequence, 99% of the population go blind. In the original novel, this chaos results in the escape of some Triffids: experimental plants that are capable of moving themselves around and attacking people. In the film version, however, the Triffids are not experimental plants. Instead they are space aliens whose spores have arrived in an earlier meteor shower. …Invasion of the Triffids (1963)

Review

Frankly, The Day of the Triffids is a very enjoyable, sci-fi movie. It follows a small core of central characters trying to deal with a very critical emergency. Beautiful, bright meteors from the sky have blinded virtually everyone in the world. There are a few exceptions. There is a man in the hospital, where his eyes were operated, previously, and he was bandaged. He’s not affected. Along the way, he finds a young lady who was accidentally trapped in a box car, so she didn’t see them either.

And so the two of them go off looking for other survivors. Technically everyone has survived to this point. But they’re blinded. Everything has come to a standstill. But there’s something more malicious going on. The meteors were not just a natural phenomenon. They were transporting an alien species, known as Triffids. They’ve intentionally blinded the inhabitants of the world. They plan to invade, conquer, and eat the inhabitants!

Along the way, the two protagonists find others. Interestingly, at a school for the blind. The blind frankly experience nothing different, and help the newly-blinded people. And a romance blossoms, of course. But the Triffids are on the move … At the same time, a couple in a remote lighthouse are having their own fight for survival. And accidentally stumble upon the Triffids’ weakness …

Editorial review of The Day of the Triffids courtesy of Amazon.com

This 1962 version of The Day of the Triffids has been a TV staple for many years, more probably because of a lasting affection for John Wyndham’s original novel than any high regard for the film itself. The premise–a meteor shower blinds almost all of humanity, just as a space-borne strain of ambulatory killer plants begins to proliferate–is so strong that it’s easy to overlook the frankly messy realization of it. The film opens well, sticking close to the book, as Howard Keel awakens in a London hospital after an eye operation and takes off the bandages to discover that he can see but most of the rest of the population can’t. There are unsettling, effective bits with a plane literally flying blind and the beginnings of panic among the fumbling survivors, and one good Triffid encounter in a fog.

Then the film is strangely compelled to stray all over the map, with trips to France and Spain that have no discernible purpose. Director Steve Sekely’s original cut was adjudged so disastrous that an uncredited Freddie Francis was brought in to shoot a whole new subplot, featuring Keiron Moore and Janette Scott in a vine-besieged lighthouse, to thread through the old footage. The results are less satisfying than the later BBC serial adaptation, but it still has some irresistible end-of-the-world and killer-plant material. –Kim Newman

Cast of characters

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