STARRING: Howard Keel,
1963, 95 Minutes, Directed by: Steve Sekely,
A spectacular meteorite shower leaves all those who witnessed it blind. To makes things worse, especially for the few survivors who can still see, the same meteorite shower seems to have infected the planet with man-eating killer plants.
Yup, you read right. And chances are that if you went to school in either Australia, South Africa or some other former British colony, you might
recognize the plot as being that of The Day of the Triffids, a sci-fi book written by John Wyndham in the early 1950s, often prescribed reading in some English courses.
Wyndham's writing is often compared to that of H.G. Wells, so it's interesting to note that this early 'Sixties adaptation of the Wyndham novel actually shares many traits with the 1953 film version of
War of the Worlds. Both novels were stripped of their British provincialism, have an American as protagonist and take extreme liberties with the source material. So if you have to read Day of the Triffids for some course and are too lazy to do so - be warned!
Reading the Wyndham source novel would also be a better option because this low budget film version comes across as very silly mostly because of said killer plants (called Triffids
in the movie, although it is never properly explained quite why).
Making cluck cluck noises and slowly ambling along on thick
roots, the Triffids look cheap and silly and are very difficult to take
seriously as a potential menace. Heck! You can outrun these slowpokes by walking
on your hands!
In general the film suffers from poor special effects because
of its low budget. It tries for an epic look but just ends up looking obvious. The end of the world is always potent stuff, but Day of the Triffids never develops its plot aspects involving global aspects fully. Its final denouement in which humanity seems miraculously saved from the alien menace comes across as rushed and tacked on.
If you're in a
Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of mood, Day of the Triffids fits the bill - sort of. It is too much of a slow-paced (bit like the Triffids themselves) affair to be truly fun and if you feel like some killer plant action then rather rent the hilarious Little Shop of Horrors remake and/or the brilliant Evil Dead 2.