Movie: The Day Of The Triffids (1962)

And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills!

The Day of the Triffids (1963)

Long before we had Audrey II in Little Shop, there were the TRIFFIDS! In their baby stage, they kind of look like Audrey II.

According to “Where The Day Of The Triffids uses killer plants to explore the dark side of human nature on a global scale, Little Shop Of Horrors narrows the focus to a single person: Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis), a put-upon plant enthusiast working in a Skid Row flower shop in the early 1960s.”

Next up in the Rocky Horror Science Fiction Double Feature binge is The Day Of The Triffids, starring Janette Scott.

Invasion (The Day) of the Triffids
Release Date: 27 Apr 1963
Runtime: 93 Minutes

IMDb Synopsis: After an unusual meteor shower leaves most of the human population blind, a merchant navy officer must find a way to conquer tall, aggressive plants which are feeding on people and animals.

Plot per Wiki:

Triffids are tall, carnivorous, mobile plants capable of aggressive and seemingly intelligent behaviour, which arrived on Earth as spores from a meteor shower. They move about the countryside by “walking” on their roots, appear to be able to communicate with each other, and possess a deadly whip-like poisonous sting that enables them to kill their victims and feed on the corpses.

Janette Scott in The Day of the Triffids (1963)

Bill Masen (Howard Keel), a merchant navy officer, is lying in hospital with his eyes bandaged. He discovers that while he has been waiting for his injured eyes to heal, an unusual meteor shower has blinded most people on Earth. Once he leaves the hospital, Masen finds people all over London struggling to stay alive in the face of their new affliction. Some survive by cooperating while others simply fight, but it is apparent that after just a few days society is disintegrating.

The Day of the Triffids (1962) | Dustedoff

Masen rescues a schoolgirl named Susan (Janina Faye) from a crashed train; she has no parents and is a ward of the state. They decide to leave London and head across the English Channel to France. Masen and Susan find refuge at a chateau but when it is attacked by escaped sighted convicts, they are again forced to escape; shortly afterwards, triffids attack and kill everyone in the chateau. The carnivorous plant population continues to grow in number, feeding on people and animals as they move.

Ernie Rice in The Day of the Triffids (1963)

At a lighthouse on an island off Cornwall, Tom Goodwin (Kieron Moore), a flawed but gifted scientist and his wife Karen (Janette Scott), battle the aggressive plants as he searches for a way to kill them. Goodwin eventually finds the answer, which has been right there in front of him all along: salt water dissolves the triffids.

Related image
Howard Keel and Nicole Maurey in The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Colorized vs Black and White


Kieron Moore and Janette Scott were only added to the cast when it was discovered up on completion of filming that there was only 57 minutes of good usable footage available. The whole lighthouse sequence, directed by veteran Director of Photography Freddie Francis, was only added to help extend the movie’s running time.

Although credited with “additional music”, composer Johnny Douglas actually supplied more music than the main composer, Ron Goodwin. According to the official music cue sheets, Douglas wrote 26 minutes, Goodwin 19.

The American naval base in southern Spain referenced by Bill Masen is real. It’s called Rota Naval Station, but it’s not in Cadiz’ it’s actually across the Bay of Cadiz, in the little town of Rota. It’s a Spanish naval base, leased by the Americans.

In the scene where Bill Masen and Mr. Coker are standing outside the house in France, they see an aircraft flying overhead that sounds like it has a sputtering engine. The aircraft shown flying is a silver De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk, a primary trainer monoplane. When the two hear the aircraft crash they go to the crash site and find the dismantled remains of a De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth Reg. G-AJOA a primary trainer bi-plane with its top wing removed. Tiger Moth G- AJOA still exists but has not flown since 2003.

They were called Triffids because they had a three-pronged root. Their stems can’t be snapped but they can be mangled. Triffids are extremely vulnerable to fire and will retreat from it; they stand their ground against gunfire because they don’t know where it’s coming from. Rumors have circulated for years that the odd gurgling noise made by the triffids was a sound effect achieved by smoking a “bong”.

When the security guard is killed, you can see the triffids moving towards him on wheels. They are clearly visible for a couple of seconds.

Related image
Mervyn Johns and Howard Keel in The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Janina Faye and Nicole Maurey in The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Janina Faye, Howard Keel, and Nicole Maurey in The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Ian Wilson in The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Janina Faye and Howard Keel in The Day of the Triffids (1963)

The novel, published by Penguin Books, sold over a million copies by 1981. It’s been translated into several languages. John Wyndham wrote the novel in 1951; by 1981 it had been reprinted 34 times. In the book, the Triffids grow to more than seven feet tall with the main body a foot clear off the ground. In temperate climates, they can grow to ten feet. The book ends with the Triffids still a threat and Masen leaving for the Isle of Wight, hoping to eradicate them from the face of the Earth someday. The book was an influence on 28 Days Later… (2002) such as scenes with Bill Masen/Jim waking up in hospital; the line “I love you very much”; both the book and the film describe how each mutual disaster has spread to Paris and New York; sending out a signal to fellow survivors, etc. In the book, Masen looks at the now-deserted Houses of Parliament and there’s a similar scene in 2″8 Days Later…”; after Jim has woken up from his coma. At the end of the film Jim, Selena and Hannah make a sign to attract an airplane, an idea suggested with a plane or a helicopter at the end of “The Day of the Triffids”.

JohnWyndham TheDayOfTheTriffids.jpg
This is the front cover art for the book The Day of the Triffids written by John Wyndham. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher, Michael Joseph, or the cover artist.

Marvel Comics adapted the story in the magazine Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction (1975).


Mervyn Johns and Howard Keel in The Day of the Triffids (1963)
Howard KeelBill Masen
Nicole MaureyChristine Durrant
Janette ScottKaren Goodwin
Kieron MooreTom Goodwin
Mervyn JohnsMr. Coker
Ewan RobertsDr. Soames
Alison LeggattMiss Coker
Geoffrey MatthewsLuis de la Vega
Janina FayeSusan
Gilgi HauserTeresa de la Vega
John TateCaptain – SS Midland
Carole Ann FordBettina (as Carol Ann Ford)
Arthur GrossFlight 356 Radioman
Colette WildeNurse Jamieson (as Collette Wilde)
Ian WilsonGreenhouse Watchman
Janina Faye and Carole Ann Ford in The Day of the Triffids (1963)

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