Mandate: Raimi Gets TRIFFIDS

triffidsposterDeadline reports that Mandate Pictures has acquired the film rights for John Wyndham’s 1951 science fiction novel THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS.

Mandate Pictures had the highest bid for the property (in the seven figures), although several companies and studios were interested, including Warner Brothers.

Sam Raimi (EVIL DEAD, SPIDER-MAN), whose Ghost House Pictures will co-produce with Mandate, plans to direct.

Apparently, Raimi is a long-time fan of the 1962 motion picture adaptation of the novel, which features an “invasion” of Earth by monstrous, carnivorous tree-like alien life forms.    

Raimi’s producing partner Robert Tapert will work on the project with him, along with Michael Preger (who held the rights), and Angry Films’ Don Murphy, Susan Montord, and Mark Gordon.

Joh Wyndham (John Wyndham Harris) was a British author who published under a number of pen-names, selling mainly to American science fiction pulp magazines until after World War II.

 His best known novels, The Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed twice as VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED), The Chrysalids, and The Kraken Wakes follow his philosophy of “logical science fiction”, all apocalyptic tales set in contemporary (1950’s) times, generally focusing on  England.

In them, alien or man-created organisms threaten our world, and proceed inexorably  towards their own aims, sentient or not.. Meanwhile, man’s rationality is a double-edged sword; both as  potential aide to combat the alien incursions, but more often a kind of rigid thinking that blinds us to the true nature of  the threat.

In the novel, the Triffids are believed to been biologically engineered on Earth, likely by the Soviets, rather than being extraterrestrial in origin. Despite being dangerous if not handled with extreme care, they are used for a kind of vegetable oil, and cultivated around the world. It’s only after a strange green meteor shower blinds a large proportion of the world that they become a deadly menace.

Moore, Scott Battle TRIFFIDS

Moore, Scott Battle TRIFFIDS

There is no miraculous salt water defense against the Triffids, and the novel ends with the survivors still determined to fight against them, in a world descending into military dictatorships and feudalism.

The film’s tense sequences at the lighthouse with Kieron Moore and Janette Scott were filmed by Freddie Francis (THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN) only after the original version of the film, directed by Steve Sekely (REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES)  starring Howard Keel, Nicole Maurey, and Janina Faye, was determined to have run short.

Besides the 1962 film, Triffids has also been adapted as a BBC radio serial in 1957, and as a BBC Television serial in 1981 and 2009.

About the Author

Tom Powers

Tom Powers was Editor of Starlog.com from 2005-2008. He's been involved in independent filmmaking, voice acting, and also writes fiction and fact-based articles elsewhere as Thomas V. Powers.

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