Anyway, it has been many, many years since those childhood sleepovers, but I still remember the night Lorie and I stayed up late to watch the 11 pm airing of:
The Day of the Triffids
Now, keep in mind, this movie was filmed in the 60's and was created way before anyone had ever heard of special effects or computer graphics. Even zombie movies had yet to make their gruesome appearance on the silver screen.
This was original horror movie making at its finest and I was scared to death.
The Day of the Triffids begins with a man sitting in a hospital bed with his eyes bandaged. He has had recent surgery to restore his eye sight. But the bandages must stay on for one more day. Unfortunately, this prevents him from watching a freak meteor shower that occurs overnight and captivates the awestruck public.
The man awakens the next morning but no one arrives to remove his bandages. He decides to do it himself and is happy to learn that his eyesight is fully restored. He soon discovers however, that all the folks who watched the meteor shower are now blind. This instant mass blindness of the public sends the world into a kind of crime-filled apocalyptic chaos.
To make matters worse, the meteor showers have caused some plants in a greenhouse to mutate. They become mobile and escape the hot house. They grow to an enormous size, are somewhat intelligent and begin a murderous rampage by whipping people with their poisonous sprouts so they can feed on rotting human flesh.
Picture blind, screaming citizens terrorized by invincible, gigantic carnivorous plant monsters and you get the idea.
Like the zombies of today, Triffids are indestructible. There are scenes in the movie where frightened survivors try to cut or burn them. One guy even tries to electrocute them. But alas, nothing works.
Triffids approaching an electric fence
Futile attempt at Triffid cremation
On-the-run characters become desperate to figure out a way to kill these leafy green giants. Finally the last survivors are chased into a lighthouse by the sea, where, in an last ditch effort to remove the advancing plants from a staircase, the humans spray the unsuspecting beastly botanicals with sea water. This briny solution dissolves the leafy letches and mankind is saved from a plant-led extinction.
It is horror movie genius.
To an over-imaginative eight-year-old, this depiction of a mob of murderous mutant plants roaming the earth searching for human flesh to eat takes its psychological toll and scars me for life.
I am terrified of Triffids.
Honestly, I do not know why the movie makers of today have not exploited this fearsome, foliating fiend. To me, hoards of parasitic poisonous plants are a much scarier image than ugly, unintelligent undeads bumbling about.
But anyway.....I digress.
You can imagine my surprise when yesterday I noticed that my favorite outdoor plant looked unusual. If you are a long time reader of our blog you may remember seeing some lovely springtime photos of this:
This is my variegated weigela. Looks pretty right?
Well lately upon closer inspection, I noticed this.
A twisted berry-laden vine, disguised as a part of my plant, had weaved a labyrinth of poisonous tentacles throughout the branches of my helpless weigela, paralyzing the plant and slowly squeezing the life from its healthy frame. It was a deadly attack from an insidious intruder.
I have never seen such a parasitic and vicious attack from a such a harmless-looking green plant.
I was reminded of ........the Triffids.
Without thinking, I sprung immediately into action. I was furious that this Triffid-like weed viciously attacked my happy, little plant. My body moved at a furious pace as I cut and tore at the suffocating tentacles of this murderous marauder. Weston served as my henchman, fetching axes, saws and various other garden tools of mass destruction, until finally we had rid my plant of this suffocating beast.
Nicholas and I piled the dismembered appendages of the Triffid Wanna-be onto his wagon and deposited its hideous remains in the pile of grass shavings Pete hides in the woods.
And yes, I was tempted to give the burial pile a good solid spray of foaming sea water. But with no means of accessing such a large quantity of salt, I thought perhaps a good blast of cold water from our garden hose might just do the trick.
My lovely plant now looks like this, thinned and scraggly, weathered by the brutal attack..
I can't help feeling that this entire Triffid ordeal is somehow very symbolic?
Was the universe preparing the unknowing eight-year-old to what was coming? Did my cousin Lorie instinctively know I needed some traumatic conditioning, some hardcore horror movie propaganda designed to instill a superhero spirit inside a young and impressionable mind ?
And was my overcharged weeding removal process a symbolic representation of my current battle with special needs parenting?
Think about it......
I respond with a ruthless and relentless attack of the deadly foe.
I receive steadfast assistance from my brave and motivated children.
We kill the beast and bury its putrid remains...purifying our surrounding environment.
We lovingly water and feed our wounded host, nursing it back to its splendorous self.
I know what you're thinking.......I need some serious help....!
Whatever my delusional mind is spinning here I guess I would prefer to see this Return of the Triffids as a much needed catharsis, a crossroad toward a healthy new beginning for our family.
I know.....I really do need some help.