I can probably pinpoint exactly where in my psyche FOLIAGE comes from. It’s me poking away at the emotional scars caused by seeing bits of the BBC’s adaptation of THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS in 1981.
It wasn’t from reading the book. I didn’t read the book until much later. To be honest, since I was only six in 1981 when this adaptation aired, I’m not entirely sure how I got to see any of the TV series (my parents were relaxed with policing my viewing habits, but they surely weren’t that relaxed). But I saw it and I saw the title creatures and I was left with a deep seated dread that there were plants out there who would happily hurt me.
These childhood fears weren’t alleviated by the fact that we had a number of large plants in and around the house. There was a giant Mother-in Law’s tongue just inside our lounge which towered over me and always seemed to be on the point of reaching out its sharp leaves and impaling me; there was a honeysuckle around our front door, the kind of thing which would get out of hand in a fairy tale and seal us in forever; while around our back and front garden was a hedge of conifers that an imaginative little boy could easily imagine upping roots and marching towards the house to do terrible things to me and my family.
In short I didn’t have the mentality of the green fingered. Green fingers were surely what happened when the evil sap of the enemy plants got into our bloodstream.
I was scared of plants and I had the BBC’s 1981 version of THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS to thank for it.
What makes this so absurd is if you look at that adaptation now, the effects and the realisation of the Triffids is ludicrously poor. The monsters are clunky, cumbersome and obviously made out of rubber. Even for the time period they seem ridiculously unconvincing. So bad are they that one can imagine the contemporaneous FX guy on DOCTOR WHO shaking his head with disappointment and pity for his poor inept colleague. How it could have created such a reaction in me is unfathomable.
But rewatching it and being amazed was for the future. The 1981 Triffids got into my mind like few other things and the notion of plants not being oxygen producing friends, but instead monsters the equivalent of werewolves and vampires was made part of my DNA.
FOLIAGE is my response to that. A short sci-fi/horror story that I started writing in my childhood nightmares.
I hope you enjoy.