The Day of the Triffids (1962)

Article #1467 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-21-2005
Posting Date: 8-18-2005
Directed by Steve Sekely
Featuring Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott

A breed of killer plants infests the earth at just the time when almost the entire human race has been stricken blind by a meteor shower.

Those who have read John Wyndham’s novel on which this movie was based generally find this movie to be a disappointment. Fortunately, there is a 1981 TV version of the novel that is much better in this regard. This earlier version is largely a monster movie, and I think for the most part it works well enough on that level; in fact, in some ways, it is genuinely terrifying. It’s not so much the plant monsters that are scary (though the sound they make does raise some goose bumps); it’s the premise of a blinded human race that gets to you, and this movie does make good use of the concept. Still, it really does have problems; Howard Keel is a little too bland here to be memorable, the special effects fall short at times, and neither the ending of the Howard Keel storyline (which is somewhat dull) nor the lighthouse storyline (which is a little too pat, though flashier) really satisfies.

Incidentally, I first saw this on my local Creature Feature years ago. Now, in order to fit these movies into the proper time slots, they were usually cut. For this movie, the cut was very simple; all the lighthouse scenes were excised. I was quite surprised at these sequences when I first saw the complete movie on videotape.

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