As in Village of the Damned, an inexplicable, seemingly harmless phenomenon ultimately threatens the existence of the human race. In this case, it’s a worldwide meteor shower touted by the media as a “once-in- lifetime spectacle that must be seen.” Unfortunately, the glare from the meteors severs the optic nerve—leaving most of Earth’s population blind. To make matters worse, the meteors activate exterrestrial seeds that had been dormant for years. The seeds quickly sprout into Triffids, giant man-eating plants that can uproot themselves and seek their human quarry.
When I first saw The Day of the Triffids, I was struck by the film’s unusual structure, for the two plots (Mason and the Goodwins) never converge. Years later, I learned that the footage of the Goodwins was filmed by famed cinematographer and occasional director Freddie Francis after principal photography was completed. The reason: the film’s original running time was too short! Ironically, it’s the most interesting plot because of what it doesn’t tell us. We never learn why Tom started drinking or why Susan stays with her self-centered husband. It’s almost a snapshot of a faltering marriage, with no beginning and no end.
Those who have read Wyndham’s novel deride the 1962 version of The Day of Triffids. They tend to favor the 1981 British miniseries, which I've never seen. It may be very good, but the original Triffids will always remain a favorite: a well-done, low-budget feature that rises above the ordinary on the basis of its ingenuity.