Monday, 10 October 2016

Five killer plants from outer space

Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors
Feed me, Seymour!
Okay, not all these plants are from outer space, but that headline had you hooked. It did, didn't it? As it happens, two of these monster plants are from outer space, one's from the lab (in Soviet Russia, PLANTS eat YOU) and two have simply evolved to kill people because they're inherently mean little buggers (probably provoked by vegetarians - you never hear of cavemen having to worry about man-eating plants while chasing down woolly mammoth, now, do you?).

Here are five excellent lean, mean, chorophyll-green killing machines...


Audrey II
Feed me Seymour! In the cult retro musical Little Shop of Horrors, after a comet goes by, nerdy Seymour discovers an unusual plant that is most definitely carnivorous. He names it Audrey II, after the beautiful girl he loves – though she's involved with a brutish dentist who beats her. Will Seymour get the girl? Will Audrey get the suburban life she craves? And will Audrey II get the meaty meal it's asking for?

The Triffids 
John Wyndham's 1951 novel The Day of the Triffids has been made and remade for film and radio. It's genuinely creepy; walking carnivorous plants are already a problem, and are suspected to have been accidentally released from a Soviet lab, but after a strange meteor shower blinds everyone who saw it, the Triffids take their chance to conquer the planet.

In the 1962 film, the Triffids do come from outer space. So there...

The Avengers Maneater of Surrey Green
Elderly horticultural heroine helping out. 
Man-Eater of Surrey Green
In the fourth series of The Avengers, when John Steed and Emma Peel go to investigate the disappearances of a number of prominent horticulturalists, they discover the alien mastermind behind the disappearances is one of their strangest foes yet. While Audrey looks like a cross between a Venus flytrap and a tulip, and the triffids are somewhere between an orchid and a pitcher plant, Steed and Peel's faceoff is with... wait for it... A KILLER DANDELION. Actually, given how hard they are to remove from a lawn, that is pretty terrifying.

The Killer Tomatoes
In the horror comedy Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, tomatoes turn on people simply because they can. It's very silly, intentionally so. I'm waiting - okay, hoping - for a 2010's remake, Attack of the Killer Avocados, where lots of hipsters die in suspicious toast-related accidents.

A still from the Creeping Vine section of Dr Terror's House of Horrors
Terrifying isn't the word. No, it really isn't.
Creeping vine 
The 'villain' in one of the segments in portmanteau film Dr Terror's House of Horrors, this crawling vine covers a man's house, eats his dog, and proves itself a household pest on a par with Japanese knotweed, all the time looking like the sort of ropy fake foliage you find on special offer in Poundland every once in a while. It's not an alien invader, it's simply assumed to be the next stage in evolution. I'd still be looking for some form of space travel, mind you...

Are there any other killer plants that you feel are worth a mention? Tell me if you've thought of another space travelling one!

28 comments :

  1. audrey...one of my favourites, plus sarcastic son knows all the words by heart.....he was a strange child

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    1. Excellent post! Right, just off the top of my head the original Little Shop of Horrors aside.... 'The Woman Eaters', 'Creepshow' (The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill), Monster High, 'The Thing from Another World', 'Konga', Doctor Who's 'The Seeds of Doom', 'Godzilla Vs Biollante oh, and I'm rather fond of 'Return of the Killer Tomatoes':)

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    2. Nothing strange about a bit of Audrey love, Kate!

      Arfon, I should have known you would know lots more - master of the Creature Feature! (I'm going to nick your whole DVD collection one of these days... ;-) )

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  2. Yes, the title drew me in for sure! Harry Potter has some weird planty-creature things in too, mandrakes? Anyway, the Day of the Triffids is one of my favourite books, I adore it so much I've not had the heart to watch a TV version in case I hate it! x

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    1. I feel quite sorry for the mandrakes; they look like people but get put into potions.

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  3. I loved that post. And of course the title got me hooked. I wanted to know if The Triffids were in it! Back in the 80s, I used to have a plant I called 'The Triffid' ... I love both the book and the movie, so I guess Porcelina doesn't have to worry about that xxx

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    1. I think everyone British of a certain age remembers the Triffids. Creepy bleeding things!

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  4. One of Danny's favourite pranks is to ask unsuspecting garden shop employees if they have ant Triffids.
    "Well, have you heard any knocking or tapping...?"

    I wish Attack of the Killer Avocados was a real film. I'll set up a Kickstarter for you if you'll make it.

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    1. I like avocados, but the whole hipster obsession with them annoys me. Stick to quinoa, you furry-faced gits...

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  5. I agree with Porcelina, LOVED Day of the Triffids, can't bring myself to watch the film in case it's spoilt forever.
    Little Shop Of Horrors is on at the Birmingham Hippodrome at the moment. xxx

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    1. Oooh, I bet Little Shop of Horrors is fun live. I wonder how big the plant is?!

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  6. I watched the 1970's version of Triffids, I still remember it now! With hindsight I was probably too young to watch it.

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    1. A bit like my uncle and Quatermass and The Pit, then - he's a big burly carpenter now, but it scared him so much as a kid, he's never watched it again.

      I think the scariest thing I saw on telly as a kid was Alice Cooper on the Muppets. Yes, really!

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  7. The day of the Triffids is still a reference I use to describe a bit of a wild garden, I think I get it from my mum, because I've certainly never read it. Are you not partial to vegetarians? (I can imagine my meat-eating sister's response: don't mind them but couldn't eat a whole one!) :)

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    1. Some of my best friends are vegetarians ;-)

      I just like to imagine the plants rising up and taking their revenge. Why should poor plants be exempt from vengeance?

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  8. I adore bad good movies. I need to check these out as I've on'y seen little shop of horrors

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    1. I fear Dr Terror is more of a bad bad movie.

      Have you seen Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat? That's probably my favourite good bad movie (and has Bruce Campbell in).

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  9. Little Shop of Horrors is also on my classics list and I can remember watching Day of the Triffids on tv back in the day. I wonder how many gardeners of a certain age refer to large plants as 'triffids'? I certainly do!

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    1. I think it's everyone old enough to remember it from the telly. It was pretty scary for family teatime viewing.

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  10. Just been watch Doctor who, the seeds of doom. On more for your list, and they are alien seed pods.

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    1. Aha! I should have know Who would have something.

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  11. Thanks for reminding me of such great films and about John Wyndham. I loved all his books when I was a child. The BBC did a fab version of "Day of the Triffids" which was much more faithful to the book, if I remember rightly. Those compendium hour films were really the bizz. I wish that they would make a few more like that. Xx

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    1. Yes, nowadays there doesn't seem to be the Saturday evening teatime family viewing that we enjoyed as kids. Jekyll and Hyde fitted the bill, but ITV didn't give it enough of a chance.

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  12. Ooooh, you missed Invasion of the Body Snatchers! Both the original and the remake. There was an episode of Twilight Zone with killer gangs of tumbleweeds too as I recall.
    Loved the killer dandelions in that Avengers episode.

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    1. Of course!

      I quite like my 'five things' posts; they're good fun to think up and people always have so many other good ideas.

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  13. Day of the Triffids scared me silly when I was a child, that awful clicking sound still makes me shudder. Andy took me to see John Wyndham's house as it's near where we live xxx

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    1. Really? How cool is that? You seem to have the homes of lots of spooktacular celebs near you.

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    2. HG Wells spent time close by too and Alec Guinness lived just outside of town! It's all happening around here, well was!

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