Sunday, March 3, 2013

Monster #8—Killer Plants

I ran my Serpent's Skull Pathfinder game today for the first time in several months—had to take quite a few games off due to various vacations and deadlines and the like. It was great fun, especially the point where the party's alchemist blundered into the clutches of a giant flesh-eating plant.

Which brings me to Monster #8—the killer plant.

There's something creepy about the real-world carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap and the sundew and the pitcher plant. They're plants... they shouldn't be doing things like biting and grabbing things with glue-tipped tentacles and luring prey into what is essentially a pit full of acid. They're supposed to just grow and give us oxygen and look pretty.
This is what happens when you use science to splice Godzilla cells into a rose.

But since so many things eat plants, I guess turnabout is fair play.

Human-eating plants don't get enough play in movies or books, I think. It's one thing to be attacked by a wild animal or even a monster, but the plants? They're supposed to be neutral parties, aren't they?

Of course, it's easy to get the killer plant story completely wrong. "Little Shop of Horrors" has a cool killer plant, but then the thing has the gall to turn into a musical. No thanks. An even GREATER affront to the genre, though, is the most recent one—"The Happening." At its core, the idea is cool—plants suddenly start producing some sort of toxin that kills people by making them commit suicide. At least... I THINK that's what the movie was about. Like so many M. Night Shyamalan movies, the longer you watch them, the less sense they make.

Fortunatley there are some good killer plant movies and stories out there that more than make up for "The Happening." My favorites are "The Ruins" and "Day of the Triffids." I actually enjoyed the movie of "The Ruins" so much that I went out and bought the novel the same day... and ended up devouring the novel in about 2 days. Super creepy stuff! In both cases (movie and novel) I think I actually like "The Ruins" better, but both stories are more or less about the same thing... the plants getting the better of us, the people.

So next time you go outside, think twice before you walk on the grass!

Reccomended Reading
Recommended Viewing
*This movie has EVERYTHING. Killer plants, martians, rat-bat-spiders, giant blobs... hmmmm... giant blobs... that might be a good Monster #9!
**Technically, this features killer fungi, but I already kinda did that with the Mushroom People, and so the mi-go get to be featured here!
***Granted, the rapist plant in this one doesn't actually kill its victim, but she probably would have been better of if it had...

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