The Day of the Triffids (1963)

Detail from US poster
Detail from US poster

This film was directed by Steve (REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES) Sekely and stars Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, Janette (PARANOIAC) Scott and Kieron (DOCTOR BLOOD’S COFFIN) Moore. 

A flowering triffid
A flowering triffid

Though it is not very faithful to the John Wyndham novel, I do like this movie, with its perambulating killer plants and scenes of a world where almost everyone has gone blind after watching a dazzling meteor shower. These type of apocalyptic survival tales are always of interest, I think, as they offer us the opportunity to see what the few ‘lucky’ survivors choose to do in a situation devoid of the old rules and certainties.

UK quad poster
UK quad poster

I love all the shots of a desolate London filled with wrecked double decker buses and abandoned cars, etc, which definitely influenced the beginning of 28 DAYS LATER, and I also enjoy watching the creepy sequence set in one of the large glasshouses in Kew Gardens (which is not far from where I live!)

Crashed double decker
Crashed double decker
A nightwatchman in Kew Gardens falls victim to one of the killer plants
A nightwatchman in Kew Gardens falls victim to one of the killer plants

The triffids themselves are often criticised for being pretty sub-par, but I think they work well individually, and their mobile, stubby roots and clicking stalk-heads look fine in close-up. The triffids work less well when required to be seen in larger numbers, where it’s obvious many of them are guys in plant costumes. Even then, there are some good moments, such as when Howard Keel turns a fuel truck into a DIY flamethrower to torch rows of triffids.

The hero burns some triffids real good
The hero burns some triffids real good!
Triffids attack a home for the blind
Triffids attack a home for the blind
Triffids on the rampage!
Triffids on the rampage!

There wasn’t enough footage of the main story to make a full length film, so extra scenes were shot, by an uncredited Freddie Francis, of Kieron Moore and Janette Scott in a lighthouse, which provides the movie with the memorable sequence of a dismembered triffid piecing itself back together. These scenes in the lighthouse definitely have more tension than some of the other portions of the movie.

Publicity shot
Lobby card
Italian fotobusta-style lobby card
Italian fotobusta-style lobby card

THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS doesn’t effectively deal with the catastrophe-induced collapse of law and order like the novel, but it is a colourful, watchable, relatively big-scale killer plant flick!

Another publicity shot with Janette Scott
Another publicity shot with Janette Scott

Some newspaper ads…

Ad sheet
Ad sheet
Reynold Brown's artwork for this particular ad for the movie is awesome
Reynold Brown’s artwork for this particular ad for the movie is awesome
Artist Reynold Brown makes the triffids in his newspaper ad look more ferociously animal-like
Artist Reynold Brown makes the triffids in his newspaper ad look more ferociously animal-like

Here are some great posters for the movie…

Swedish poster
Swedish poster
US poster
US poster
Italian poster
Italian poster
German poster
German poster
US poster
US poster
UK double bill poster: The Day of the Triffids/The Legion’s Last Patrol
Italian poster
Italian poster
Spanish poster
Spanish poster
This colourful Italian poster makes it look like triffids are vegetable-like tentacles lowering down from the sky!
This colourful Italian poster makes it look like triffids are vegetable-like tentacles lowering down from the sky!
Danish poster (based on Reynold Brown's newspaper ad artwork)
Danish poster (based on Reynold Brown’s newspaper ad artwork)
This Italian poster suggests that triffids resemble the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
This Italian poster suggests that triffids resemble the Creature from the Black Lagoon!
Japanese poster
Japanese poster

Finally, here’s the luridly wonderful art for THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS American posters, by illustrator Joseph Smith, who also painted posters for GORGO, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE and THE GIANT BEHEMOTH…


Illustration by Joseph Smith
Illustration by Joseph Smith

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