A Horrifying History of Killer Plants in Film

Get ready to sink your teeth into a subgenre that’s equal parts strange and thrilling: movies featuring killer plants! These flicks explore the unsettling idea of Mother Nature taking a very aggressive turn.

I love scary movies. Watching Mother Nature enact revenge on people is fun; she doesn’t always use the weather, animals, or insects. Sometimes, she uses plants.

Imagine vines lashing out like pythons, thorny tendrils ensnaring hapless victims, and carnivorous flowers with appetites far beyond pollen. That’s the twisted universe of killer plant cinema, where photosynthesis takes a backseat to bloodthirsty desires.

But why are we so fascinated by these verdant villains? Perhaps it’s the primal fear of overpowered by something so basic and essential to life. Or maybe it’s the delicious irony of the gentle beauty of nature masking a monstrous hunger.

Whatever the reason, Killer Plant movies offer a unique blend of thrills and chills, often served with a generous side of camp and B-movie charm. So, if you’re looking for something a little different, offbeat, and maybe a little bit green, dive into the world of killer plants!

Here are movies featuring killer plants; some will have you laughing, and others will have you looking in your garden and wondering. You’ll have a different attitude about exploring or camping.

The Ruins

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0963794/
The Ruins 2008

Friends on vacation in Mexico decide to visit a Mayan ruin for fun and archeological exploration. Mayan villagers surround them, injuring one of the party. They climb up onto a man-made platform, but the villagers don’t seem to want to get close. They won’t let the group leave, either. It turns out that’s only the beginning of the group’s troubles.

This movie has scary moments and a story that will keep you out of the jungle permanently, or at least sleep with your eyes wide open.

Little Shop Of Horrors

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054033/

Although this film was remade in 1986, the 1960 original has a cult following. The sets are cheesy, but the story and the acting bring it to life beautifully. Jack Nicholson steals the show as a dental patient you will always remember.

The next time you see a plant you can’t identify, you might not want to bring it home.

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes 1978
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080391/

Some films are proof that with enough money, any movie can be made. This film somehow managed to make it to theatres. Although it frequently makes “bad movie” lists, it is funny and light-hearted. No expense was spared on special effects; there really aren’t any. You, your friends, and kids will howl with laughter at tomatoes wearing ear muffs, a government agent who disguises himself as a black Hitler, and a diver who never takes his scuba gear off- ever. It’s worth owning if you want a laugh or to drive out unwanted guests.

The Thing From Another World

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044121/

This classic film is widely known simply as “The Thing.” The B&W original is scary, full of suspense, and will have you on the edge of your seat. The crew at an Arctic station finds something in the ice. It’s unknown to science. One of the characters, a scientist, attempts to find out exactly what it is. He sets up an experiment; not long after, the sled dogs are found, drained of blood. The characters eventually find out they are being stalked by a horrific monster, played by newcomer James Arness, who would later become the sheriff of “Gunsmoke.” Everyone works together for group survival, and the idea that saves the day comes from the female crewmember, who is anything but helpless or dim-witted, as seen in so many movies of the day. I’ll let you watch the movie to find out what her solution to the problem was. It worked.

Day of the Triffids

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055894/

The original film was frightening to watch when I was a child. Imagine a meteor shower that makes most of the world blind. The trouble worsens when spores attached to the meteors begin to grow into carnivorous plants that move on their own, think, and reason. What better prey than blind people? Fortunately, there were a few people who didn’t view the meteor shower, so they weren’t blinded. The solution at the end will have you cheering with hope. A few days after viewing this film, my sister and I saw a palm tree in the neighborhood with a bad trim job. Yup, it resembled a triffid. We refused to walk down that street for over a year until the tree was cut down.

The Happening

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0949731/

Something is happening; people are losing their minds and killing themselves in horrible ways. It’s happening all over the East Coast of the US. Is it mass hysteria? A terrorist attack? A virus from space? Nope. It’s the plants- they’re striking back by emitting hormones that make humans end their own lives. M. Night Shyamalan weaves a story that will have you treating your plants much better from now on.

Contamination

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082000/

This Italian film is hilarious. A ship comes into the harbor, devoid of human life. It does contain eggs, though. Unfortunately, they excrete a substance that causes human bodies to blow up. It seems an astronaut brought back seeds from Mars and planted them. How many movies does it take for people to learn not to grow seeds from outer space? The ending will leave you in stitches.

Trees

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0337332/

This tribute to “Jaws” is hysterical. Imagine campers turning up dead, and it’s not a mutant bear, mutant inbred hillbilly, an escaped serial killer, or a murderous ghost. What’s left, you ask? The movie is full of laughs as you watch the crew go after the real killer in this hilarious film. It’s worth watching during any movie night or party.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049366/

This film has been remade several times but is always scary. Spores from outer space hit the earth and begin to grow. People start to disappear, then appear again. When they are seen again, they are different. The vegetable people want to take over the world; they win in at least one remake. Maybe this is why no one takes naps in their vegetable gardens or grows squash near bedroom windows. Hmm.

So, are you ready to take a walk on the wild side? Grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare to be surprised, scared, and maybe even a little bit tickled by the strange and wonderful world of killer plant cinema!

You can watch these films at various online sites, rent them, or purchase them from big box stores or online.

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