Plant monsters are making a comeback, with The Ruins giving us an ancient Mayan plant thing in theaters and M. Night Shyamalan about to try our patience again with his forthcoming plant toxin movie The Happening. But there's a long history of evil plants on film, which seemingly has been forgotten in these new offerings. Now it's time to water the soil of the scary plant genre, and remind you how plant slayers in history have defeated their chlorophyl-loving foes.
Boil them, fry them. Those are the suggestions that one of the good scientists makes when fighting the giant carrot in The Thing from Another World, the movie that John Carpenter's The Thing is loosely based on. In this early-1950s flick, based on a short story, a bunch of scientists accidentally thaw out an ancient blood-sucking alien which is mostly made of vegetable matter. (Carpenter dispensed with the veggie parts of his alien in The Thing.) Knowing it's a vegetable, the scientists first try to kill it by cooking — they literally light it on fire with kerosine. It gets away, but they finally fry it with electricity.
Keep them at bay with electrical fences. In Day of the Triffids, a British series (based on a book), a meteor blinds every human on the planet and releases shambling, human-eating plant people to munch on the defenseless primates. The blinded humans finally defeat the invaders by building a giant electrical fence which doesn't kill the buggers but at least keeps them far away.
Call Godzilla to help out. My personal favorite plant monster is Biollante, a giant mutant rose from the mid-1990s with teeth and special anti-nuclear powers whose terrifying tusky mouth is partly the result of an infusion of Godzilla DNA. When Biollante starts rampaging and squirting people with deadly sap, or grabbing them with vines (some of which have mouths on them!), Godzilla steps in to help. Or maybe he just steps in to step in. There's a giant fight, and finally Godzilla destroys Biollante with a thermonuclear blast from his breath weapon, which dissolves her into spores that go up into space.
Don't beat 'em — join 'em. You can't really beat the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, a string of movies (and a musical) about an evil, blood-drinking flower that wants to take over the world. In the 1960 Roger Corman flick, the plant eats Seymour, the main character, but somehow Seymour manages to defeat it once he's been consumed. In the early 1980s musical, however, the plant eats everybody in the cast and eventually does take over the world. And in the awesome 1980s version of the movie directed by Frank Oz, Seymour electrocutes the plant and gets away — but it's too late. He moves to the suburbs but as the film ends we see a little blood-drinking plant growing in his front yard. Frank Oz later made a shortlived animated spinoff of the movie, about a teenager and his human-eating plant.