It’s fair to say that when it comes to films, plants generally get a bad rap. And with the opening of Jessica Hausner’s film Little Joe in cinemas this week, we thought we’d look back at the films which posit plants as monsters. Which films have we missed? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Little Joe (out in cinemas this weekend)
Emily Beecham stars alongside Ben Whishaw in this spooky, slow-burning horror set primarily in a plant breeding centre. Beecham’s character Alice has created a new species of plant, aimed to help people feel happy. The only problem is, it seems to be having a strange effect on the people around it. This is a smart, sparse, tense new thriller which plays cleverly with what it means to be a mother and the hazards of meddling with nature.
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
A film adaptation of the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman stage musical, The Little Shop of Horrors sees Audrey II arrive from outer-space to cause havoc with Seymour, a downtrodden florist from New York City. Audrey II starts out as a cute and helpless pot plant, but becomes mean, green and… well… you know the rest.
The Day of the Triffids (1962)
This 1962 film directed by Steve Sekely is based loosely on John Wyndham’s superb novel about what happens when some very strange plants start multiplying rapidly. The carnivorous triffids are able to move, which causes unending problems after many of earth’s inhabitants fall blind after witnessing a meteor shower. While the book mostly has the plants standing menacingly, in the film you can see them walking about on their roots.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
There are several fairly evil plants in the whole Harry Potter series (think Devil’s Snare, or the Mandrake) but one particularly tricksy specimen is the Whomping Willow. The tree attacks anything that gets too close to its branches, mainly by whomping its tendrils down on the victim. The one featured in The Chamber of Secrets lives in the grounds of Hogwarts. Although, by the standards of the other plants on this list, would you call this willow evil?
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The body-snatchers of the title arrive in the form of spores which grow into seed pods. Each pod eventually spits out a duplicate copy of a human being complete with memories but devoid of emotions. They get you while you sleep too. Yikes. The above trailer is the 1956 version, but there was a remake of the movie in 1978 which starred Donald Sutherland.
The Happening (2008)
Definitely not one of director M. Night Shyamalan’s career high points, The Happening is a horror movie starring Mark Wahlberg and follows what happens when [spoiler alert!] plants develop a deadly airborne toxin. And what’s more, the toxin is only released into larger groups. A little far fetched? Definitely.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
This 1978 parody movie essentially involves huge tomatoes that have taken against humanity. A B-movie spoof, it had a tiny budget of $100,000 and you can absolutely tell from its special effects. Let’s put it like this: it probably won’t put you off your ketchup.
The brilliant adventure movie classic Jumanji featured a magical jungle board game with all sorts of surprises that comes to life in a house in New Hampshire. One of those surprises is in the form of a huge, human-eating swamp plant with tendrils that wrap around the legs of its unsuspecting victims. The stuff of nightmares.