“The Day of the Triffids” it’s a science fiction film of 1962 directed by Steve Sekely and based on the novel of the same name by John Wyndham.
The plot of the film follows the story of Bill Masen (played by Howard Keel), a man who wakes up after being blindfolded for two days due to eye surgery. Around this time, a meteor shower caused mass blindness across England, leaving only a few individuals able to see.
As Masen tries to adjust to the new reality, he discovers that a species of genetically modified plants, called Triffids, are invading the planet and killing humans, feeding on their bodies. Masen and a small group of survivors try to escape from the Triffids and find a way to reverse the effect of the meteor shower and save humanity.
The film was a huge commercial success and influenced numerous other films by science fiction and horror subsequent. It also inspired a 1981 British television series of the same title, as well as several subsequent literary and cinematic works.
The plot of “The Day of the Triffidsfollows Bill Masen, a biologist who specializes in Triffids, a species of genetically engineered plants that grow up to seven feet tall and produce a highly valuable oily substance for biofuel production.
After a meteor shower, presumed to have caused mass blindness across England, Masen awakens after being blindfolded for two days due to eye surgery. He soon discovers that the world has been completely disrupted by the meteor shower and that only a few individuals have retained their sight.
Masen sets out on a journey through a post-apocalyptic and disorienting landscape, trying to find other survivors. He will meet Susan, a young girl who has kept her sight and who will join him on his quest. Together, they discover that the Triffids, initially cultivated as a promising alternative energy source, have evolved into aggressive, mobile, carnivorous creatures capable of attacking and killing humans.
As Masen and Susan try to find a safe haven, they encounter a group of survivors who have taken up residence in a lighthouse on the coast. However, there they discover that the place is not as safe as it seems, and that humans have become in many cases more dangerous than the Triffids themselves.
Along with other survivors, Masen tries to find a way to reverse the effect of the meteor shower and to stop the Triffids before they completely destroy humanity. Their mission will lead them to face numerous dangers and challenges, culminating in an epic final confrontation with the Triffids themselves.
Here are the main characters of the film “The Day of the Triffids”:
Bill Masen: is the protagonist of the film, a biologist specializing in the Triffids who awakens after eye surgery to find a world completely turned upside down. Masen is an intelligent and pragmatic man who tries to find a way to save humanity from the danger posed by the Triffids.
Susan: is a young woman who has kept her sight after the meteor shower and who joins Masen in his search for survivors. Susan proves courageous and loyal to Masen and the other survivors, despite the enormous danger posed by the Triffids.
Karen Goodwin: She is a blind girl who is rescued by Masen and who joins the group of survivors in the lighthouse. Karen is kind and sensitive, but often feels worthless due to her blindness.
Tom Goodwin: is Karen’s older brother, a strong and courageous man who tries to protect the survivors from the danger posed by the Triffids and other human beings.
Christine Durant: She is a woman who worked with Masen before the meteor shower and who joins the group of survivors. Christine is determined and intelligent, but often struggles with despair and fear.
Mr. Coker: He is an elderly man who becomes the leader of the group of survivors in the lighthouse. Coker is pragmatic and bossy, but often struggles with his own physical weakness.
Dr. Soames: is a doctor who is met by Masen and Susan during their journey through the English countryside. Soames is a kind and helpful man, but he is soon revealed to be dangerous to the survivors.
The Triffids: are the main threat of the film, a species of genetically modified carnivorous plants that have acquired the ability to move and attack humans. The Triffids are aggressive and deadly, and pose a serious threat to the survival of humanity.
The film “The Day of the Triffids” was produced by British Lion Films and directed by Steve Sekely and Freddie Francis. The screenplay was written by Bernard Gordon, based on the novel of the same name by John Wyndham.
Filming was primarily done in the UK, including London, Berkshire, the English countryside and the Kent coast. The film’s budget was relatively low for the time, but the special effects of the Triffids were done with skill and ingenuity, mostly using masks and costumes.
The film was released in British cinemas in 1962 and in the United States in 1963. It was a good success with audiences and critics, and helped to consolidate the post-apocalyptic genre in popular culture. In addition, the film has inspired numerous remakes, adaptations and homages over the years, both for cinema and television.
Distribution and Reception
“The Day of the Triffids” was released in British cinemas in 1962 and in the United States the following year. The film achieved good commercial and critical success, becoming a classic of the post-apocalyptic genre.
Critics especially appreciated the special effects of the Triffids, made with skill and inventiveness, but also the direction of Steve Sekely and Freddie Francis and the interpretation of the main actors. The film was considered a visionary dystopian work, capable of prefiguring issues and problems of the modern world, such as technology, science and ecology.
The film has influenced numerous directors and authors over the years, becoming a point of reference for the post-apocalyptic genre and science fiction in general. It has also inspired numerous remakes, adaptations and homages, for both film and television, demonstrating its enduring influence on popular culture.
The film “The Day of the Triffidspresents a style typical of 1960s science fiction, characterized by a dark and apocalyptic atmosphere, a slow and dramatic narration and a close attention to technical and scientific details. The film focuses above all on the exploration of the aftermath of an event catastrophic, like the meteor shower that blinded much of humanity and gave birth to the Triffids, the mutant carnivorous plants that pose the main threat to the survivors.
The special effects of the Triffids, made with masks and costumes, were considered innovative for the time and were made with great care and attention to detail. The cinematography of the film is also very accurate, with a particular attention to the contrasts between light and shadow, and a tendency to create a gloomy and claustrophobic atmosphere.
The soundtrack of the film consists mainly of electronic music, composed by Doreen Carwithen, which contributes to the eerie and futuristic atmosphere.
Overall, the style of the film “The Day of the Triffids” was considered innovative and original for its time, and influenced many directors and authors over the years.
The film “The Day of the Triffids” was directed by two directors: Steve Sekely and Freddie Francis. Sekely, born in Hungary in 1899, was a very experienced director, who had worked in several European countries before moving to the United States in the 1940s. Francis, however , was a young cinematographer, who had already worked on several films before making his directorial debut with “The Day of the Triffids”.
Sekely and Francis worked together on the making of the film, sharing directing responsibilities and collaborating closely on the overall vision for the film. In particular, Sekely was mainly involved in directing the actors and in the construction of the narration, while Francis worked on the cinematography and on the realization of the special effects.
The collaboration between the two directors was considered very effective and contributed to the success of the film. In particular, the care and attention to technical and scientific details, combined with a strong focus on the psychology of the characters, have made it possible to create a visionary dystopian work, capable of prefiguring themes and problems of the modern world.