One nice side benefit of all this DVD ripping and encoding I’ve been doing is that I occasionally stumble across something that I’d purchased and forgotten to actually watch.
Hence my sitting down for a three hour sessions with the 1981 BBC version of “The Day of the Triffids“, based on a science-fiction novel that I remember being one of my favorites as a youth.
I was also quite fond of When Worlds Collide / After Worlds Collide and Ariel, among others, which may just go to show that I had a taste for the post-apocalyptic.
And unicorns, apparently the first signs of my unicorn problem. Hmm.
But I digress and I will come back to that at some later time, possibly with the assistance of a trained mental health care professional.
So, Day of the Triffids it is, the lovely story of humanity’s struggle to survive when 99% of the human race is struck blind and hunted by carnivorous plants.
This is one of those things that is actually a heck of a lot more disturbing as an adult, I will tell you. As a kid, I never really made the leap from Everyone Is Now Blind to The Human Race Is About Two Weeks From Everyone Starving To Death, but it’s made rather more clear in the television version. To be honest, the triffids themselves – nasty as they are – are pretty much just the chocolate sprinkles on the sundae of human extinction. There’s an early scene in particular which drives it home – a mob of blind people manage to navigate the streets to the nearby grocer, where they break in the front windows and grab everything they can. Seeing a hungry woman trying to rip her way into a box labeled “Tide” quite prominently is one of the more disturbing scenes, made all the worse because – as with the best horror movies – the camera cuts away before you see the metaphorical knife strike home.
The rest of the series follows in similar fashion. The few sighted people left take various paths in the new world – some determined to save as many of the blind as they can, some purely out for themselves, most of them trying to rebuild civilization in whatever they see as the One Right Way To Fix Things And We’ll All Get It Right This Time.
My copy was a PAL DVD, but it seems that it’s been issued in NTSC format in the last few years. If you need a low-key and terribly British dose of the post-apocalyptic, I quite recommend it.