Friday, October 28, 2011

Creature Week - Plants?!

Sure there are many types of monsters out there. From trolls to demons of the underworld. But what about the little guy? What about the horticultural horrors out there? What about the plants? Yes, I am serious. Any big horror buff, film or book, knows that there are some great stories out there where the main antagonist is a plant. Sure they are usually mutated or extra-terrestrial but they are plants none-the-less.
Now I could have easily focused on one of the more gruesome and horrific types of monsters for this final installment, but in all honesty, these are some of my favorite films. And if I had to pick some great classics to watch on All Hallows' Eve, these would probably be it. And plants, though a strange villain, can be wonderfully frightening. Read H.P Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness to see what I mean. Giant fungus can be scary.
So here are some great films that I hope flesh out your holiday fun. And if nothing else, may it at least be a good reminder to water the plants.
So I thought I would divide this up a bit. Giving what I think are the best examples of the plant horror genre.
Best Classic:
The Thing from Another World
Before the great John Carpenter remake, and its recent mediocre premake, was this classic gem. Following the original short story a little more closely, a group of scientists suddenly have to deal with an other worldly plant creature that has come to invade earth. This Howard Hawks gem is not to be missed by classic horror and scifi fans alike.

Best Remake:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
This film has been adapted, made and remade more times than I can count. It practically set up its own subgenre of the invasion films. But the 1978 remake stands on its own. Its creepy, its fast paced, and it has some great stars. Featuring Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum and even Leonard Nemoy, it is as much a character piece as it is a creepy paranoid thriller. Strange poisonous plants are invading the bodies of humans as they sleep, possessing them and quickly taking over the world. Alien invasions, possession, zombie apocalypse, all in one. Though it has been practically done to death, the invasion of the pod people is at its best in this film, and in my opinion even surpassing the original film version.

Best Musical:
Little Shop of Horrors
This is not only one of my favorite Halloween movies, but one of my favorite party movies. Its great with those that have never seen it (even non-horror fans) and those who have seen it a thousand times (trust me, a group of friends sitting around singing the songs to this, Cannibal the Musical, and Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of the best times to be had). It's ridiculous and hilarious, all you ever need in a great horror comedy, and as far as horror comedies go, it is far from gruesome or gory(if you have some squeemish ones in the bunch).

Best Camp:
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
This is one of my all time favorite B-movies. It even spawned a saturday morning cartoon. But the original film and perhaps its first sequel are definitely great times to be had. It is cheesy, lame and ridiculous. But it never takes itself seriously. With a z-grade budget and one of the most outlandish plots on record, it is almost impossible to describe how fun this film is to the uninitiated. This film is not for those looking for a straight up well made comedy, or a creepy movie or gory exploitation piece. In fact, if you aren't into movies so bad they are good you may just pass on this all together. But don't shrug it off entirely without first watching this:

Best Worst:
Troll 2
And speaking of bad. Now this movie is terrible. Some herald it as one of the worst films ever made. And while it contains no trolls, as the title would lead you on, it does have plants. In fact the evil forces at work in a small town have the power to turn people into plants! If you have a group of friends who are already past the driving limit, or are quick on their wits and well seasoned MST3k fans, this film can still be a lot of fun. It could even be one of those fun films to just have on at a party even if the party isn't about watching a movie. Leave it playing on tv, while the music blasts and people mingle. But if you want an unintentionally hilarious movie, I still recommend it. If for no other reason than to say that you survived watching it (not the badge of honor that sitting through Manos Hands of Fate though).

Best Evil Plant Movie:
The Ruins
And finally something that is actually a bit scary. In fact the book that this is based on kept me up a few nights. Something about those backwoods locals and no access to help, brings out that innate Deliverance-borne fear in me. The film however is actually one of the more disturbing and original horror films I have seen in a while. And one of very few films that delivers most of its scares in broad daylight. It's one of those unnerving, gets under your skin kinda films. Certainly not as good as the book (which I will always recommend first) and definitely not one of the greatest horror films, but for a film that flew a bit under the radar, it is a lot of creepy fun. And I guarantee atleast a few viewers will cringe or look away at some parts. It isn't for the faint of heart, but in my opinion it has a lot more substance and psychological scares than many recent gornography flicks.

I hope anyone taking the time to read all these has appreciated these recommendations, and I tried to pick a number of well known movies and books that I hoped most could easily get a hold of. If you enjoyed this feature, drop me a line or leave a comment. And keep reading TN for more random stuff.
Happy Halloween

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