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When you think of a plant, do you imagine a man-eating monster? Probably not.
For most of us, we usually think of plants as being fairly docile and, well, helpless. As a vegetarian, I consider plants to be an entire food group.
But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying all the weird and wacky movies about plants that eat people instead!
And it turns out there are a surprising amount of killer plant movies out there! Some are terrifying, some are hilarious, a few are both.
Wondering where to watch?
We have done our best to list buying – and sometimes viewing options – for the following films. But as streaming services vary greatly from country to country and we probably don’t live where you do, we just can’t cover them all. However, we 100% recommending checking if the show is available on your favourite viewing platform(s).
As digital nomads we don’t always have access to some of the MANY options only available in countries like the USA and UK. So outside, of the powerhouses like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, these are the services we recommend:
• Shudder: This one is for all our fellow horror fans out there!
• KweliTV: Find 500+ Black TV shows, films, documentaries and more from around the world
• Viki: A must for those who love East Asian cinema. An absolute treasure trove of Korean, Japanese and Chinese media.
• Mubi: Perfect for anyone who enjoys indie and arthouse cinema from around the world. If you feel overwhelmed, they do a film of the day recommendation.
• SovietMovies: If you haven’t gotten into Russian cinema, you’re missing out! They have a great range of old and new Russian films available with many subtitle options. And, they offer a lifetime, unlimited subscription option for $100!
With that having been said, here are some options to find where to watch or buy in your country:
• uNoGS will tell you in what countries a film or show is available on Netflix.
• JustWatch & PlayPilot can help you find additional streaming and buying options in several countries around the world. Those located in the USA and UK can also use ReelGood.
Need to unlock content?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allow you to unlock content from around the world. AND they keep your information safe while browsing online (essential if you use public WiFi).
We literally couldn’t do our jobs without a VPN. We personally use & recommend ExpressVPN
The Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
In order to prevent the flower shop he works at from going out of business, Seymour Krelborn begins to care for Audrey II; a popular (and carnivorous) plant. But as Audrey II grows, so does his appetite, and soon Seymour must find increasingly criminal ways to supply him with more food. Also, he sings!
As movies with killer plants go, this might well be the most jaunty. Murder and human consumption are seemingly easier to gloss over when the tunes have such a good beat and catchy lyrics.
There are memorable supporting appearances from the likes of John Candy, Bill Murray and, of course, Steve Martin as a sadistic dentist, and there’s some excellent puppetry of Audrey II, courtesy of members of the Jim Henson Company – which is not surprising, considering Frank Oz (aka Miss Piggy/Fozzy Bear/Yoda) directed the movie.
If killer plant movies such as this are your cup of child-frightening tea, why not check out more of our dark and disturbing kids movies!
Adéla jeste nevecerela [Dinner for Adele] (1978)
When legendary American detective Nick Carter travels to Prague he stumbles upon the mystery of a lifetime. Originally brought in by the Prague police commissar to help find a missing member of a noble family, Carter soon discovers there’s much more to this case than meets the eye. Not least of all are the mysterious botanist Baron von Kratzmar and his potentially carnivorous plant, Adela.
This genuinely might be one of my new favourite dark comedies. Often considered the Czech Little Shop of Horrors (sans the singing), I honestly loved this so much more. The opening sequence alone had me cackling the entire way through. Dinner for Adele is very self aware and is a must for any lover of killer plant movies, or even those looking for an entry into Czech cinema.
My one complaint is that the female characters are all pointless (damsels in distress, one-note baddie sidekicks) and overly sexualised, and there is some wild lechery going on.
By strange and intriguing coincidence, all of the animated sequences and gadgets seen throughout the film were created by Jan Švankmajer (yup, the same one who wrote and directed Little Otik).
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)
I hate tomatoes. Even the thought of eating them makes me gag. So when I was a kid and one of my friends showed me this so-bad-it’s-good horror comedy about killer tomatoes, I suddenly felt vindicated in my severe dislike of tomatoes.
It may have also sparked my love of ridiculous horror comedies.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is exactly what you might think: a parody film about, well, killer tomatoes. It’s awful in every possible way, but that just makes it all the more enjoyable; and why it’s one of our favourite killer plant movies.
Despite overwhelmingly bad reviews, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes became a cult classic and spawned three more sequels: Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (1988) (which notably features George Clooney in one of his first roles), Killer Tomatoes Strike Back! (1990), and Killer Tomatoes Eat France! (1991).
If you enjoy these kinds of monster movies, you’ll love our list of unexpected B-Movie monsters (sadly, the Killer Tomato does not feature since they felt kind of A-List at this point).
The Happening (2008)
When people across the United States mysteriously start committing suicide en masse, a high school science teacher and his wife join up with a man and his daughter who are trying to leave town before whatever is happening (get it?) happens to them.
Will they be able to survive among such waves of suicidal violence? And is it really nature itself that’s trying to kill them?
I think it’s fair to say that this film split the crowd somewhat. The fun thing about The Happening is, you can either treat it as a bleak, apocalyptic disaster movie, or a quirky botanical comedy (I’m looking at you, Mark Wahlberg).
However you feel about it though, it’s still true that The Happening has a very select group of passionate followers, even if some think that they’re slightly insane for being so. If only someone would take an interest in science!
The Day of the Triffids (1962)
An unexpected meteor shower somehow blinds most of the Earth’s population. Even worse, the shower brings with it some deadly spores, which turn into carnivorous mobile plants! With most of humanity cowering in blinded fear, it’s up to merchant navy officer Bill Masen to try and find a way to defeat these botanical beasts!
Based loosely on John Wyndham’s 1951 novel of the same name, this is one of the most peak post-nuclear age “a thing came from space to kill us” movies about plants. The acting, the music, the panicked citizens; you’ve seen it parodied a thousand times. However, this is one of the original classics that pioneered those well-worn tropes.
Being set in the UK makes for a reasonable change, though. You can quite easily imagine this happening to small town American teens, or triffids shuffling through the streets of New York.
But instead of the Statue of Liberty, it’s Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral that we get to see pasted in front of the dazzling special effects of this meteor shower.
The creature effects are equally as effective, even if there’s a tendency to look on with nostalgia as opposed to genuine horror. It’s all just as fun though!
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
A psychiatrist is called to a hospital to listen to the ravings of a very distressed man. As we hear his story, we see that he is Dr. Miles Bennell, a small town doctor who believes that the residents of his town are being replaced by alien imposters. But is his seemingly impossible story actually real?
More alien spores from outer space! But this time, their effects are far more insidious. This time, rather than follow the now standard directive of “kill all humans”, once they settle on Earth each spore has the ability to produce an exact copy of an existing human, including personality and memories, provided that human is sleeping next to it.
The only difference is a complete (and chilling) lack of emotion in the new plant clone.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is directly responsible for the popularisation of the phrase “pod people” to describe anyone who behaves in a drone-like way, or indeed just suspiciously at all. Are they tired, or have they been replaced? Of course this makes it very difficult to get other people to believe you, especially if you don’t know whether or not they’re already a pod person themselves …
Danur: I Can See Ghosts (2017)
Okay, technically this one is cheating. But hear me out, because I need more people to start watching Indonesian horror movies!
When she was a child Risa (Prilly Latuconsina) befriended three ghosts living in her family home. These ghosts warned her to never go near a large ficus tree.
But after a concerning incident with her ghost friends, she closes herself off to them and the family move away.
A decade or so later Risa and her younger sister Riri (Sandrinna Michelle Skornicki) move back into their family home to help their cousin take care of their sick grandma while waiting for the new nurse to show up.
One day Riri is out playing in the neighbourhood and sees something near the old ficus tree. She takes a closer look, and appears to be talking with someone.
That evening the new care nurse, Asih (Shareefa Daanish) moves in. But there’s something really off about Asih. For one, she doesn’t seem remotely interested in the grandma, instead pouring all her time and attention into Riri.
So basically what I’m getting at is that the ficus tree is associated with evil and that’s why this belongs on a list of the best horror movies about plants.
Important to know going in: There is an unnecessary and dangerous restraint scene, as well as a somewhat graphic suicide scene.
Swamp Thing (1982)
No list of killer plant movies is complete without the Wes Craven horror classic, Swamp Thing.
Scientists Alec and Linda Holland (brother and sister in the film, unlike in the comics where they are a married couple) are called in to assist on a top-secret bioengineering project in the swamps of Southern USA after another scientist is killed. The goal of the project is to create a new a new plant-animal hybrid species that is capable of surviving any harsh conditions.
After a tragic accident at the facility involving bad guy Anton Arcane, Alec is set on fire and dives into a nearby swamp to live.
When he emerges, he finds himself transformed into a monstrous, plant-like … swamp thing.
Swamp Thing is based on the Vertigo/DC Comics character of the same name, and if you enjoy comic book adaptations, perhaps you’ll like some of our top horror graphic novels!
And of course, don’t miss the so-bad-it’s-hilarious sequel The Return of Swamp Thing (1989).
Little Joe (2019)
A team of botanical scientists are working for a corporation to try and create a new species of flower. One of the team, Alice, makes a breakthrough – a new plant that, if taken care of, makes the owner happy.
She names the new plant “Little Joe”, after her son, and gives him one as a gift. But the flower’s pollen seems to have unknown properties, as soon many of the people who come into contact with it seem to act differently, including Alice’s son.
Just what have they made?
Paranoia is the name of the game here. Much like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, “Little Joe” doesn’t leave any outward evidence that anything is wrong with whoever has inhaled the pollen. Suddenly, everyone’s motives are in question, and trust is pretty much out the window.
Plus, while some movies about plants would have had Little Joe grow tentacles and start eating people, no one under its spell seems to be suffering that much. So would it be a bad thing to just join them? Or will Alice be headstrong enough to resist?
Told from the point of view of several chopped down Christmas trees, this short film will have you rethinking your Christmas traditions.
The acting is way over the top. However, considering Treevenge is from the point of view of the trees, who have no idea why they’ve been so savagely ripped from their happy life in the forest, the overacting kind of just adds to the disorientating nature of the film.
Although it’s only 16 minutes long and it’s absolutely ridiculous, it’s one of the creepiest movies about plants there is. It’s also REALLY graphic, so I wouldn’t advise watching it if you’re squeamish or with kids.
And! It can be watched online for free (the quality isn’t great and the saturation is turned up to the max, but free is free).
In 1969 – 100 years after two boys bury a mysterious box in the woods – a young boy named Alan Parrish discovers that same box (a game called Jumanji) at a construction site and takes it home. After inviting his friend, Sarah, to play with him, the two realise too late that the game is a little too interactive when Alan is sucked into the game and Sarah runs away, traumatised by the experience.
26 years later (yes, there ARE a lot of dates in this film), young Judy and Peter move into the Parrish mansion and discover Jumanji. Like Alan and Sarah, the two begin a game that will have irrevocable consequences on their lives.
Oh, and at some point there are carnivorous vines.
Although the ratings for Jumanji are relatively unfavourable, it remains a popular cult classic for many kids who grew up in the 90s (of course, 90s cinema was pretty problematic in every way possible, so what do we know?).
Plus, it resulted in multiple spin-offs: Zathura: A Space Adventure in 2005 (a film which almost no one liked or remembers, but notably features a young Kristen Stewart and an even younger Josh Hutcherson), and the far more popular Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).
The Japanese know how to do horror, so it’s no surprise that one of the most terrifying movies about plants comes from Japanese cinema (although it is partially based on a short story by English author William H. Hodgson).
Matango (sometimes called Attack of the Mushroom People) is a horror sci-fi film not for the faint of heart. When passengers onboard a yacht find themselves drifting towards a seemingly deserted island after a storm, their skipper advises them not to eat the mushrooms because they might be poisonous. Which is … an understatement.
They soon discover another shipwrecked boat, which they suspect was involved in nuclear testing, and that has now altered the lifeforms on the island. Nevertheless, as their food supplies dwindle, they decide to try the mysterious mushrooms. As one can imagine, deadly consequences ensue.
Little Otik (2000)
In Little Otik (Otesánek, also called Greedy Guts), a young couple, Karel and Božena, long for a baby, but are unable to have one for medical reasons. One day, while in the countryside, Karel digs up a tree stump that he thinks bares an uncanny resemblance to a baby, whom he and his wife name Otik.
Thus begins this rollercoaster comedy horror as Božena fakes her pregnancy to little Otik. Except that Božena’s desire for motherhood is so strong it actually brings Otik to life. And as expected, Otik isn’t like other babies; for one he’s awfully hungry …
Despite being made in 2000, this creepy Czech fairy tale (based on the story of Otesánek) gives off hardcore Rosemary’s Baby vibes. Which makes sense, because it’s also about a pregnancy gone very wrong. I can’t say I expected pregnancy and horror movies about plants to go hand in hand, but in the hands of writer and director of Jan Švankmajer, it turns out it’s a killer combo.
Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
Following the events of The Return of Godzilla (not essential viewing for this film, but why not watch it anyway?), a team was tasked with scouring the city for remnants of Godzilla in order to collect tissue samples. A mercenary known only as SSS9 intercepted the samples and shipped them to the Republic of Saradia.
Meanwhile, Dr. Genshiro Shiragami and his daughter Erika are brilliant geneticists who work at the Saradia Institute of Technology and Science. They are in charge of a project whose goal is to fuse Godzilla’s cells with genetically modified plants in order to create a new species of plant capable of surviving in the harsh Saradian desert. Their research is going well until a terrorist attack destroys the lab, and their research, and kills Erika.
Heartbroken, Shiragami returns to Japan, his home country. But he isn’t alone. He’s bringing a rose that he’s fused with Erika’s cells in hopes of saving her soul. And it turns out that maybe not ALL of Godzilla’s tissue samples were destroyed in the bomb …
And yes, this is only the first fifteen minutes. If you’re looking for totally bonkers films about plants, Godzilla vs Biollante is exactly the film you’re looking for.
Nothing much ever happens in the small town of Hazelville, Vermont. But as Memorial Day approaches, several hikers and campers suddenly start turning up dead in the nearby woods.
Forest ranger Mark Cody wants to shut down the park before Memorial Day weekend – Hazelville’s biggest money-maker of the year. But Mayor Swindell (yes, that’s his name) is dead set (pun intended) on keeping the woods open and the deaths on the down low – even as more and more bodies keep piling up.
Does this sound vaguely familiar? I recommend watching the original Jaws before watching Trees, as it parodies the former, and you’ll get more out of Trees if you understand all the callbacks.
Trees is as absurd as it sounds, but for fans of Jaws and this genre of horror, you’re sure to get a kick out it. You can skip the sequel, Trees 2: The Root of All Evil, though. Sadly the best part of this sequel is the name. Although annoyingly you normally have to buy them together, if you can buy them at all.
Based on the book of the same name, this trippy but thought-provoking sci-fi horror movie follows Lena, a biologist who goes into a strange, potentially alien ‘shimmer.’ Lena’s special ops husband – a criminally underused Oscar Isaac – went through the same shimmer a year prior with his troops and was the only person to ever make it out.
Inside the shimmer, Lena and her team encounter ever-mutating plants and animals. As the team fend for themselves against this foreign environment, increasingly strange and hostile things keep happening.
This definitely isn’t one of our favourite horror movies about plants. We actually thought it was kinda boring, but pretty much everyone else seems to dig it, so it seemed worth including.
The Woman Eater (1958)
Dr. Moran, a mad scientist in the running for Misogynist Of The Century, abducts [beautiful] women and feeds them to a woman-eating tree he brought back from the Amazon. Technically it’s never explicitly stated that the tree won’t eat men, but the film title itself suggests perhaps not, and Dr. Moran certainly makes no efforts to find out.
Anyway, this carnivorous plant has the power to bring people back from the dead … once it’s fed.
As the title might suggest, The Woman Eater has some … questionable content. And yes, it does kinda suck (and like most things of that time, it’s rife with sexism and racism). But if you really enjoy the horrible campiness in classic horror movies, The Woman Eater is actually one of the better old movies with man-eating plants – albeit, an awfully phallic one.
If this is your cup of tea, it’s the perfect double bill with Voodoo Island (1957). It’s somehow a worse film, but it has Boris Karloff (it’s hardly one of his best performances, though), carnivorous plants and zombies …