Even if you live in a large city, there’s one thing that’s difficult to get away from: Plants. Whether you’re surrounded by a forest, or just the trees that line the sidewalk and the houseplants you keep by your windows, plant life is ever-present. They give us oxygen and food and even companionship. So what if plants decided to turn on us? In killer plant horror movies, there’s no way to defend against vegetation with murderous intentions. They’re all around us.
For some killer plant movies, it’s alien plant life doing the killing, like in The Thing From Another World (1951) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). In others, like Little Shop of Horrors (1986) or Little Joe (2019), it’s human intervention that’s turning the flora against us. Read on for some of the best killer plant movies and cower in terror as you realize how ever-present plant life truly is.
The Best Killer Plant Movies
It isn’t always the plants on our own planet that we need to worry about. In The Thing from Another World, a team of research scientists living at the North Pole discover a flying saucer that had crashed in the ice nearby. While the aircraft isn’t salvageable, they find an alien creature that they dig out of the ice and bring with them. It looks like an advanced form of plant life, and they aren’t safe while it still exists.
A meteor shower rains down on Earth, and there are two consequences: Almost everyone is blinded and the spores of alien killer plants–called Triffids–are now attacking the world. The fate of the human race is up to the handful of people who had their eyes covered during the meteor shower, and they need to fight the Triffids any way they can. Unfortunately, the plants regenerate, so it’s an uphill battle for the survivors.
When the whole world eats tomatoes, it’s a disaster if they turn on us. In this low-budget cult classic, tomatoes begin attacking people in gruesome and hilarious ways. As the film goes on, the killer tomatoes get bigger and more deadly, which requires military intervention to try to keep these vegetables/fruits at bay. If you’re being steamrolled by a tomato as big as a house, there’s not much more you can do.
Seymour’s love of botany means he’s a stellar florist. Unfortunately, being a plant nerd doesn’t necessarily translate to being smooth with the ladies. When he starts feeding a carnivorous plant human blood, the plant–who he names Audrey II after the object of his affection–becomes insatiable in a way only human flesh can cure. Maybe it will help him get the girl?
Supersized lizard Godzilla has fought a giant moth, King Kong, a Mechagodzilla, and more, so why not have him fight a murderous plant as well? When scientists studying Godzilla combine his cells with those of a plant and a woman, they produce a superior monster named Biollante. Though Godzilla vs. Biollante received positive reviews upon its release, it’s often overshadowed by the plantless mashups in the series, like the multiple iterations of Godzilla vs. Mothra.
Although they long to have children of their own, a Czech couple has to accept the fact that they are unable to do so. Or do they? When the husband digs up a stump that’s vaguely shaped like a baby, his wife starts treating it as if its real. Hope becomes reality and the stump, who they’ve named Little Otik, comes alive. Unfortunately, he has an unquenchable taste for human flesh that could spell trouble for the couple and those around them.
When a group of Americans take a trip to Mexico, they meet a German man looking for his friend and decide to join him on a trek to some ancient ruins to find him. They soon learn that Mayans are defending the ruins, which are covered in vines–and now that the crew has touched the vines, they won’t let them leave. And those vines? They’re relentlessly deadly and will find any means to get inside them.
People start killing themselves in droves, with seemingly no explanation, though the working theory is a bio-terror attack. Elliot and his wife and friends attempt to flee the big cities where these mass suicides are happening, but chaos follows them. As is usually the case with an M. Night Shyamalan movie, there’s a twist about where this attack is coming from, and the hint is in the topic of this list.
A group of plant breeders are working on creating new strains of flowers that could become popular in the florist market. When Alice creates a beautiful new flower she calls Little Joe, paranoia creeps into the lab. Is Little Joe’s pollen infecting anyone who breathes it in, changing their personalities in the process? And can they stop the flower from spreading worldwide before it’s too late?
More Killer Plant Movies
- From Hell it Came (1957) has a prince wrongfully executed only to come back as a killer tree, which inspired Stan Lee’s Groot character.
- The Navy vs. The Night Monsters (1966) shows what happens when the Navy has to fight murderous tree monsters unearthed from Antarctica by research scientists.
- Maneater of Hydra (1967), also known as Island of the Doomed, finds tourists visiting an island inhabited by a mad scientist and his insatiable carnivorous plants.
- Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) has residents of San Francisco being replaced by pod people after alien spores float in from outer space.
- The Evil Dead (1981) has a segment where demonic tree roots attach a woman. Though not the entire place, it’s a memorable scene for many.
- Creepshow (1982), in the segment called “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” features alien plants wreaking havoc on a man who touches a meteor that lands on his property.
- Poltergeist (1982), though ultimately about a haunted house and Carol Ann being taken into the family television, this Stephen Spielberg/Tobe Hooper classic features a scene where tree limbs attack.
- Annihilation (2018) follows a group of researchers as they enter an area surrounding a fallen meteor called “The Shimmer.” The Shimmer mutates living things, which means some gruesome things happen with plant life and the characters.
- In the Tall Grass (2019) features a field of grass that, once you enter, you can never leave. This is based on a novella by Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill.