May Flowers, Part 3 – The Day of the Triffids

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Day three of our look at May horror flowers brings us to the classic film The Day of the Triffids. What could be worse than fighting off killer plants? Fighting off killer plants after you’ve been blinded by a meteor shower!
Photo Credit: Security Pictures, Ltd. / MPH Films / Allied Artists


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C - Triffid banner 1200 x 628Photo Credit: Security Pictures, Ltd. / MPH Films / Allied Artists

First Major Production – 1962 Film Version

At the beginning of The Day of the Triffids, we learn that an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth. Bill Masen (played by Howard Keel) has escaped this fate, however, because he was in the hospital with his eyes bandaged. We watch through his eyes as he discovers society is collapsing as people struggle to cope with their new affliction.

But things quickly get worse. The world soon learns that blindness is not the only thing the meteors brought with them. They also spread the spores of a carnivorous plant, the Triffid. Soon, the Triffid population is basically unstoppable as they feed on people and animals. Luckily for humanity, scientist Tom Goodwin (played by Kieron Moore) finds an agent that spells death to the plants: salt water.

Like the 1961 version of Little Shop of Horrors, this 1962 film is widely considered to be the least successful of several versions. It suffered greatly in comparison to the novel upon which it was based, the critically acclaimed The Day of the Triffids by English science-fiction writer John Wyndham. Criticism centered primarily on the multitude of ways the film varied from the book.

You can watch the trailer for the 1962 version of The Day of the Triffids by clicking the picture below. The film is also available for viewing in its entirety HERE.

 

D - Day of the Triffids 1962 trailer link 700 x 350Photo Credit: Security Pictures, Ltd. / MPH Films / Allied Artists

Second Major Production – 1981 Television Version

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What many consider to be the most faithful adaptation of Wyndham’s book is the 1981 BBC television series also entitled The Day of the Triffids. The series ran for six episodes in September and October of 1981 in the UK and Australia. Photo Credit: Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) / British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Two major changes to the storyline pleased viewers and critics familiar with the source material. First, the Triffids no longer arrived with the meteor shower, but were being farmed for oil, reflecting a change from a Cold War mentality to the hysteria over oil prices. Second, the easy-peasy saltwater solution was eliminated in favor of a darker – yet hopeful – ending more in line with Wyndham’s vision. Detractors focus on the 1980-era visuals and production values. But even there, it succeeded in giving us the most beautiful Triffids.

You can watch the trailer for the 1981 BBC series version of The Day of the Triffids by clicking the picture below. The first episode of the series is also available for viewing in its entirety HERE.

 

F - Day of the Triffids 1981 trailer link 700 x 350Photo Credit: Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) / British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Third Major Production – 2009 Miniseries Version

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The BBC went to the well again in 2009 and came up with a third, star-studded (Eddie Izzard, Jason Priestly, Vanessa Redgrave) version of The Day of the Triffids. In 1970, a woman in the jungles of Zaire was killed by a Triffid, leading the world’s scientists to discover the plants and their beneficial uses (the use of Triffid-based oil has reversed global warming). Then a solar flare occurs, causing the same society-destroying blindness epidemic and (shades of Jurassic Park) causing a power outage on the electric fences keeping Triffids away from the humans. Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

This is my favorite of the three versions. I’m not sure why it is not as frequently mentioned as the 1981 television series, as it is as faithful to the original (and the differences are primarily needed for the updating of the narrative – like it or not, 2009 is not 1950. And there’s just something fitting about a plant that eliminates global warming by eating the people causing it.

You can watch the trailer for the 2009 BBC miniseries version of Day of the Triffids by clicking the picture below. The first episode of the miniseries is also available for viewing in its entirety HERE.

 

H - Day of the Triffids 2009 trailer link 700 x 350Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

 


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

 

Beautiful cigarette case featuring a beautiful The Day of the Triffids poster. Opens through a side push device, and snaps closed. The case measures approximately 4″ x 2.75″. It holds 16 cigarettes (8 on each side) regular or 100s size. This case is also great for holding money, credit cards, business cards, your ID and driver’s license – and anything else that fits – McC

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