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Earlier this month, people celebrated (maybe?) Houseplant Appreciation Day, and there really is a lot to appreciate. Adding plants to your home can benefit your health, improve the air you breathe, and reduce your allergies. Their presence also helps relieve stress and keep you happy.

And so, in honor of the greenery that will improve your quality of life, let’s take a minute to celebrate the frightening flora that will actively try to kill you.

1. Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors: A movie based on a musical based on a movie, Little Shop of Horrors tells the story of down-on-his-luck florist Seymour Krelborn who decides to raise a large Venus fly trap hybrid that feeds on human blood and flesh. Christened Audrey II (after Krelborn’s unrequited love), the plant is at first satisfied with a few drops of her owner’s blood, though she quickly hungers for more. The plant eventually learns to talk, eats people, tries to kill her namesake, and in the end is discovered to be an alien with plans for world domination.

Moral of the story: Stick to regular fertilizer, and if your geraniums suddenly break out into a rousing chorus of “the guy sure looks like plant food to me,” run for the hills. 

 

2.The Triffids, from The Day of the Triffids: Apparently all it takes to destroy civilization is the release of mobile, venom-spitting, human flesh-devouring flora, though it helps if most of the human population is rendered blind by a strange green meteor shower. Inspiring a film, three radio dramas, an unauthorized sequel, and two television series, The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham’s wacky Cold-War era novel, features Soviet engineered bioweapons, blind street gangs, and polygamist colonies dedicated to replenishing humanity.

The Triffids themselves are eight feet tall, with a long stem, three legs that serve as temporary roots, and a lashing stinger that can kill through skin contact. Not exactly what you want decorating your porch.

 

3.The Killer Tomatoes, from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: A musical comedy horror movie that could only have come out of the seventies, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes tells the story of the day the sometimes-vegetable fruits became sentient and rebelled against humanity, exacting a bloody, messy revenge.

Because there’s nothing more terrifying than giant, chuckling tomatoes rolling down the street towards you. Though an idea that clearly wasn’t vine-ripened, Attack somehow merited three sequels, a television series, video games, and comic books. Aside from their hatred of humans, the killer tomatoes make the list for inspiring lines like “we were shot down by a kamikaze tomato!”

4.Dr. Brewer from Goosebumps: Stay Out of the Basement: When Margaret and Casey Brewer’s botanist father gets fired from his job, he begins to spend every waking moment holed up in the basement. He becomes aggressive, secretive, and the children soon learn that there’s something very wrong going on in their house.  Things come to a head in a tense showdown between Father and Plant-Father, but thanks to Margaret’s quick thinking the family gets their happy ending. Or so they think…

Pro tip: If your dad undergoes a radical personality shift and starts eating plant food and growing leaves, don’t go into the basement he keeps locked.

5. The Thing, from Who Goes There?: The novella Who Goes There? features another plant-based alien life form. Having finally been thawed after a crash landing millions of years ago, The Thing terrorizes a group of researchers in Antarctica, taking their shape and rendering the group scared, paranoid, and isolated. Realizing they must keep The Thing from reaching the rest of humanity, the scientists disable their planes, narrowly thwarting the alien’s attempt to launch an atomic, anti-gravity device that would have spelled the end of the world. Inspiring the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, and two other movies named The Thing (from 1982 and 2011), the story has as a moral that sometimes you win some, and sometimes you’ve been taken over by extra-terrestrial plant life without even knowing it.

6.Biollante, from Godzilla vs. Biollante: When scientist Genshiro Shiragami crosses a plant with genetic material from both his late daughter and Godzilla, you just know that fun things are going to happen. Clearly a Very Good Idea, the plant grows into Biollante, a huge, lizard-like, psychic rose.

One thing leads to another, and Godzilla must eventually face off against his leafy nemesis. In true kaiju film style, there are explosions, destroyed buildings, and horrified onlookers caught in the crossfire between atomic breath and whipping vines. And while, yes, Biollante is technically the good guy, we’re still talking about a giant reptilian plant more than capable of doing some serious damage, and one that ends the film orbiting Earth. It’s still up there, so sweet dreams.

 

7.Basically everything at Hogwarts, from the Harry Potter series: Though the Harry Potter universe was characterized by its shoddy school safety standards, the plants that populated the herbology greenhouses were in a class of their own.

Between the suffocating Devil’s Snare, the hear-them-and-you-die mandrakes, and a Whomping Willow who really knew how to hold a grudge, taking in Hogwarts’ natural beauty could wind up being an extreme sport. And we haven’t even mentioned the Forbidden Forest. You know things are serious when you’re more afraid of the plants themselves than what might be hiding behind them.


Alyssa Favreau's picture

Alyssa Favreau

Alyssa Favreau lives in Montreal in real life and @alyssafavreau on Twitter. She’s the assistant publisher for Maisonneuve magazine, a book nerd for Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, and a freelance writer and fact checker for fine folks like Reader’s Digest, Discover, Bitch magazine, and Quirk. Sometimes she eats and sleeps and updates her blog too.