Hallowe'en and Horror

Danse Macabre Hallowe’en: The Day Of The Triffids (1963)

In Stephen King’s book Danse Macabre, he talks about horror in books and movies and why we are so drawn to these themes and stories. It’s a great book by a master of the genre. He talks about many movies in the course of the book and there’s a big appendix at the back with some recomended viewing. This Hallowe’en I picked some movies from this list to watch and share with you.

Starring: Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette Scott

Director: Steve Sekely

A meteor shower leaves almost everyone blind. If that’s not weird and scary enough, strange plant life arrives, called Triffids, which stalk and kill people who can’t see them coming… A Naval officer who was having an eye operation wasn’t blinded and might be life’s last hope.

Based on a popular book by John Wyndam who also wrote Villiage of the Damned, I think the idea that the plants are carnivorous and that you can’t see them coming is pretty chilling. This was one film that I remember my parents talking about seeing (I think in the cinema, though thwy must have been very young in 63), and still getting a shiver down their spine.

I loved watching this one and seeing the awkward tree puppets menace the population. There is something kinda creepy about trees moving, but often when they’re used in films they come across as pretty lame. When you team killer plants with general blindness however, you really have a concept. The world has gone mad and the few who can see may have to save the world. There is a subplot with a couple of marine biologists in a lighthouse, and the main character also teams up with a little girl which was nicely done. I think this film works becuase it’s not resting on the concept but uses the plot and characters to keep the pace even and moving forward.

I think if I’d seen this one when I was younger, it would have really scared me, but the effects are charming and a little clunky by today’s standards. It’s still a pretty great film though, and if you’re looking for a more classic film to watch, this one might be it.

Scale Of Scary: 5/10 A great film and one that creeps up on you a little but with dated effects which keeps it from scaring your pants off.


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