Day of the Triffids

Year Of Release: 1962
Running Time: 95 Minutes
DVD Released By: Cheezy Flicks
Directed By: Steve Sekely, Freddie Francis (uncredited)
Writing Credits: John Wyndham (novel), Bernard Gordon (screenplay), Philip Yordan
Filming Location: Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK

Starring: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott, Kieron Moore, Mervyn Johns, Ewan Roberts, Alison Leggatt, Geoffrey Matthews, Janina Faye, Gilgi Hauser, John Tate, Carole Ann Ford, Arthur Gross, Colette Wilde, Ian Wilson, Victor Brooks

Tagline 1: Beware the triffids... they grow... know... walk... talk... stalk... and kill!

Tagline 2: TRIFFIDS TAKE OVER THE WORLD! From the greatest science-fiction novel of all time!

Alternate Titles:
Invasion of the Triffids (1962)
Revolt of the Triffids (1962)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
The triffids inspired the E.T. plants of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. When the film was finished it was too short, so the entire sequence where the triffids attack the lighthouse was added. The wires pulling the triffids along the ground can be seen, especially in the scene were one of them chases Susan.

 

 




Cast Of Characters
Bill Masen: Bill had eye surgery and was bandaged up in the hospital looking like he was trying out for the part of the Invisible Man or something when the meteor shower hit, so he was spared from the blindness. What he wasn't spared though was eventually getting hooked up with Christine Durrant. Frankly, I'd have rather gone blind.
Susan: Susan was spared blindness because she stowed away in the luggage compartment of a train to run away from her boarding school. Everyone else on the train went blind and the train crashed into the barrier at the station while Bill was there. Bill rescued Susan from some creepy jerk who had grabbed her and was trying to use her to get around. Unlke most kids in movies like this, Susan was actually likeable and did her best to help out with everything. She was a good kid.
Christine Durrant: What's more annoying than a French accent? A French accent coming out from under a hairdo like this one. Christine had a bunch of the blind people from the village living in her home and she was taking care of them. Bill and Susan ran into her and a little girl she rescued while they were driving around in France looking for other survivors. With a hairdo like that and that unbelievably annoying accent of hers, it's too bad he didn't run over her instead. She was spared blindness, but apparently her hairdresser wasn't.

Karen Goodwin: She's the wife of this schmuck down below here. They're both biologists doing research at a lighthouse. There's really nothing interesting to say about her except that she screams a lot.

Tom Goodwin: This schmoe is an alcoholic and was ready to dump his research and head back to the mainland just so he could score booze whenever he wanted. Fortunately, after everything hit the fan, he managed to straighten himself up and work at finding a way to kill the creatures while keeping himself and his wife alive.
Doctor Soames: Well this guy didn't last long. He's the doctor that did Bill's eye operation, but then after he was blinded by the meteor shower, he got all bummed out and jumped out the window. There's really not much more to say about him because he wasn't in the movie for very long. I wonder if he bounced when he hit the ground or if it was just more of a splat kinda thing?
Luis de la Vega: Ever heard a Spanish guy talk with a Russian accent? Well if you watch this movie you will. I don't know what this guy thought he was doing, but a Spanish accent don't sound like that. Maybe it's a problem with his neck. I noticed that in one scene where he was sleeping in a chair, his head wasn't hardly bent down at all. It was rather comical looking actually.
Teresa de la Vega: This is Luis' wife. She's been blind for ages and has been teaching Luis how to deal with it and work his way around. Unfortunately, she's pregnant and about to pop when Bill, Susan and Christine arrive at their villa. These two didn't have a big part in the movie. About their only real purpose for even being in it was to give Bill and the gang a place to crash and a place to make a stand against the creatures. In the end, they all escaped from the villa and lived happily ever after. Isn't that nice?



Screen Shots


Gee, I wonder what a poo flavored security guard tastes like? I guess he'd taste like poo.


"Mayday...mayday...we're lost at sea and the only movie we have onboard is Day of the Triffids. The crew is threatening mutiny unless central command agrees to air lift us out a movie that isn't boring. Mayday...mayday..."

 

"Has anyone seen my prunes? They were here on the table next to my teeth last night."

 


I know this is kind of a crappy shot, but that's a whole lotta triffids right there with nothing between them and our heroes but a crappy little electrified cyclone fence that's losing power fast. I don't wanna say what these people are in right now, but the first word starts with "D" and the second word starts with "S". I'm sure you can figure it out.


Well look, they ended up ok after all. Oddly enough, there just happened to be a propane truck parked right outside the villa when Bill needed to make an improvised flame thrower. Now how convenient was that?




Best Quotes

"All plants move, but they don't usually pull themselves out of the ground and chase you! If we could find out how this thing functions, we might find an easier way of killing it."

- Tom talking to Karen while they dissect one of the triffids to see what makes it tick. - (Reviewer's Note: Hey, ya know they have this stuff called weed killer. It's pretty cool, you should check it out some time.)

 


 

"Fundamentally it's a simple problem. It's just a matter of finding a weed killer."

- Tom talking to Karen while they various chemicals on the plant tissue to see what can kill it. - (Reviewer's Note: Hahahaha! I wrote the reviewer's note above long before he said this. I'm either psychic or he's developed a knack for stating the obvious.)

 


 

Christine: "You have never been married?"
Bill: "No."
Christine: "Why?"
Bill: "Guess I've never been in one spot long enough to get caught."


- Christine and Bill having a little chat over some coffee in Spain. - (Reviewer's Note: Hahahahahahahaha! Oh my god that was funny.)



 

Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

Day of the Triffids
Tom fights off a triffid with a harpoon. Whales everywhere are relieved that a new use has been found for harpoons.  Notice what a great help Karen is too.  Man, if you could kill triffids with terrified looks and harpy like screams, they'd be all set.



Summary and Conclusion

I know that Day of the Triffids is considered to be one of the better known classics, but to be honest, I found it a little boring. The acting was there and the triffids themselves were pretty cool, but there were large parts of the movie where not all that much of any interest was going on. It's really hard to put my finger on what went wrong in this movie, but I think there's a lot of little things that just eventually added up to create some bigger issues.

Firstly, there's the matter of the long periods of generally boring activity. The only really exciting times in this film were when people were either fighting with or running from the triffids. Although there were enough of these scenes to make the movie worth watching, I don't think there were enough to make it as tense as it could have, and should have been. The tension that builds in those kinds of action sequences is what makes a movie like this fun to watch. Unfortunately, between all the traveling and the talking, we didn't really get enough of it for my tastes.

Then we have what basically amounted to semi-characterization, where you find yourself only really caring about Bill and Susan because they were the only characters that gave you any reason to care about them. There was a whole side story with Tom and Karen in the lighthouse that really had nothing to do with anything that was happening in the Bill and Susan part of the story and it left me wondering why it was even included if the two plot forks weren't ever going to connect at the end. What would have made for a better ending would have been if Bill and the rest of his gang eventually met up with Tom and Karen towards the end of the movie and then Tom could have told Bill the whole thing about how he had discovered that ordinary sea water caused the triffids to dissolve into nothing. Together the whole group could then have fought off an onslaught of triffids and gotten rescued by a navy submarine at the end. At least if it had happened that way, it would have made for a more exciting ending and would have left you feeling more satisfied after sitting through 95 minutes worth of film.

As far as plot goes, the film is pretty straight forward. There's a meteor shower that hits the Earth and everyone who looks at it goes blind due to their optic nerves being destroyed. A new plant species known as triffids that had first appeared on Earth after being transported here on a meteor that had landed previously, were now being stimulated by this latest meteor shower and were growing into big ol' walking man-eating plant creatures. With most of the world's population blinded by the meteor shower, those who still can see attempt to help who they can and to do whatever it takes to survive.

The acting was pretty good all around in this film, and everyone did a good job with what they had to work with. Twelve year old Janina Faye did a particularly great job playing Susan, and in fact, probably did the best job out of everyone in the cast. The rest of the cast all pretty much fit into the standard 1962 monster movie mold. If you've seen many movies from this era, then you should be pretty familiar with what I'm talking about. It's not something you can really put into words, but there was a style of acting back then that you tended to see a lot, and pretty much everyone in this movie fit into that style.

The triffids themselves were all quite interesting looking, although I did notice that there seemed to be a couple of different types. The ones you saw early on in the movie didn't look like the ones you saw later. It was hard to ever get a really good look at them, but from what I could see, the "heads" were different between the earlier ones and the later ones. I liked the later look better because it actually looked a little less plant like and more like a creature. I'm not sure what the reasoning was for the two different looks, but they both looked quite good. The moment of the creatures was also interesting and quite well done, and several times we are shown how they actually move around. There's a stump sort of a leg appendage at the base that reaches out and pulls them along the ground. Naturally this made for a generally slow method of locomotion, and the creatures were easy to outrun.

There's currently two DVD releases of this film floating around out there. One is from a company called Allied Artists Classics, and the other, which I used for this review, is from a company called Cheezy Flicks. The Allied Artists one has far more vibrant color, but the somewhat lacking quality of the video and the fact that it was mastered in 4:3 pan and scan instead of it's original widescreen makes it an unattractive release. What makes it even more unattractive is the price tag. It's selling on Amazon right now for $22.46, which is about $16.47 more than it's worth. The Cheezy Flicks release, which sells for $19.99 on Amazon, was mastered in the original widescreen, and the video quality is decent, but the colors are faded and tend to have a slight pinkish hue to them. The real problem with this release though has nothing to do with the quality of the video, it has to do with the mastering of the disc itself. Chapter 18, the last chapter in the movie, has an encoding error in it. The error causes my software DVD player on my computer to lock up, and it caused my regular player to pause and then go back to a certain point in the chapter and start playing again from there. Basically, it's impossible to watch about the last three minutes of the movie on this disc, and I'm not the only one that's had that problem. I had to pop in my Allied Artists disc to see the end of the movie, which is something I shouldn't have had to do. I have written to Cheezy Flicks about this issue and when I get a response I will update this review with a summary of what they said. If they don't respond at all, I'll let you know that as well. As of right now, I can't recommend that you pick up either of these releases. The movie is worth having though and I hope that someday it does see a quality release. We just haven't seen one yet.

I gave this movie three bees because the acting was good, the creatures were pretty cool looking and the movie as a whole was pretty decent. I can recommend the movie to people who love classic monster films, but unfortunately, I can't recommend either of the releases that are currently on the market. If you absolutely must see this film, the Allied Artists one will allow you to watch the whole movie, but the sides are cut off because of the aspect reduction. If you don't care about missing the last couple of minutes, then you can get the Cheezy Flicks release. Or, you can wait until someone puts out a nicely restored release, which I'm sure will happen someday since this movie is one of the more famous classics. It really all comes down to what you're willing to live with at this point. It's sad, but that's the way it is.

UPDATE: I never got a response back at all from Cheezy Flicks about their defective release of this film. Do not under any circumstances buy this disc unless you don't care about not seeing the last couple minutes of the film, and I strongly urge you all to never buy any DVDs from Cheezy Flicks because they obviously don't care about the quality of their releases, customer service, or doing the right thing. I just saw another company, Blue Underground, that had some mistakes in a DVD they released involving the mastering of some day-for-night scenes. It didn't affect the playability of the movie, but they fixed it and offered to replace anyone's disc with the new version if they so desired. They admited the mistake right there on their website and took care of the problem as soon as it was discovered. They actually care about putting out quality releases, unlike Cheezy Flicks.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 3 Bees

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