In honor of Earth Day, I won’t give a flying fuck about sapphire felinegtauns, but instead, I shall wax poetic about the botany of asskicking. I think that I shall never see something as lovely as a tree, fucking your ass up hardcore. I have assembled a list of ten of Nature’s Miracles that if given the opportunity will seriously go primeval on your asses. Just as vegetarians claim that eating meat is murder, I propose that carrots can feel your pain. Put on an album by the Screaming Trees and tell me that’s not abject misery. Only now, they’re fighting back.
For the purposes of this list, I did not count any sort of magical or supernatural influence on the creatures. The poppy field that downed Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion was nixed, as was the entirety of The Happening, since nature fought back but nobody seems to care why. Actually, I pretty much left M. Night off the list entirely, even though he had a pretty cool treebeast looking thing try to eat the scary ginger fairy. Also, my apologies to Troll, which while amusing as all hell, did only turn critters into plants.
Honorable mention goes to Joaquin “Leaf” Phoenix, Leif Garrett, The Children of the Corn, the tree stump from Flash Gordon, The Kite-Eating Tree and of course, Carrot Top — who will one day snap and claim us all.
10. The Veggie Gremlin from Gremlins 2
It wasn’t bad enough that we had to bring back the little Feldman flayers, but old Saruman had to cook up genetic testing that would turn the killing machines into gimmicky, toy-manufacturable killing machines. (Except I can’t wait to find the parent who’d buy the Tranny Gremlin for Xmas.) In a movie based entirely on logic and science, we learn that genetic engineering is based on syringe injections. Some gained the power of a bat, or infinite knowledge, or even lightning. And then one of them got turned into an Old Country Buffet of tomaters and potaters and lettucers. Still, despite the Carmen Miranda-like accouterments, he’s still a killing machine. But one that can’t even best Phoebe Cates and a sherry-drunk Julia Child knockoff.
9. The Forest from The Wizard of Oz
The Wicked Witch put some hoodoo on the Killing Fields to drowse out the air-suckers of Team Wiz, but these branchy bastards were mean all on their own. Snide, brutish, and snippy, they hurled barbs at our skipping companions. And apples. Which in the grand scheme of things, is kind of a sappy weapon. For fuck’s sake, it actually turned into a boon, as the brainless tard of the bunch duped the trees into feeding them for their journey. Still, getting beaned by a fruit’s no picnic, so they make the list.
8. The Whomping Willow from The Harry Potter Series
Used to protect the secret entrance to The Shrieking Shack and as a major plot device in some of the later books, this wily willow thrashes the bejeesus out of anything that dares come within distance. In a later book, it fucks up a flying car. My only wish for the completely unnecessary eighth movie is that part of the new premise requires Harry to carve a baseball bat out of one of the lightning struck branches and use it to go DeNiro-Capone style on Vampire Cedric back from the grave. What? They added that pendulum clock tower in the third movie!
7. Killer Tomatoes from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Sentient tomatoes come to life, grow to massive size, and pretty much kill everyone. Except fucking George Clooney. (Yes, I’m aware he’s not in the original, but the sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes). They’re able to foil a brilliant master of disguise, thwart garbage disposals, and even murder in the form of juices. In later films, the vegetables are able to take human form to spy. Which totally explains ScarJo.
6. Pumpkinhead from Pumpkinhead
Unleashed as a vehicle for vengeance against the teenagers who murdered his only boy by Lance Henriksen in a unholy covenant by Linus and the Great Pumpkin, Pumpkinhead is a twisted mutant who goes around savaging folks like a spookstore golem. Unstoppable, PH is still coming back in terrible sequel after sequel, and has now joined Megashark and Uberbeaver as a Syfy TV movie property. Plus, he inspired a fucking Misfits song, so eat it.
5. El Seed from “The Tick”
Armed with mercilessly powerful knowledge garnered from night school classes, El Seed is a plant with a lustrous Spanish accent (which was later egregiously co-opted by Cover Girl Richard Alpert for his Die Fledermaus clone Bat Manuel) who uses plant vitalizer to make plants grow and retain the ability to destroy the animal kingdom. Basically a giant fucking daisy, he spritzes The Tick with vitalizer, causing plants to sprout on him throughout the episode. He pops up several times in the cartoon, but never in the live action series, which is reason #1256 why the live action series sucked stem. SPOOOON!
4. Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors
You’ll be a dentist. Unless you cross the Motown-slinging alien potted menace. He’s a lean mean mother from outer space, and he’s pissed. He feasts on human blood and body parts, sucking down several hapless victims of insane Rick Moranis’s nefarious plot to bang Sylar’s mother on astroturf. He can sprout tiny replica plants, which also presumably chomp down ’50s folks. The only thing that takes him down a notch from total annihilation is that he’s reliant on Seymour and his reluctant ax for sustenance. It’s hard to be frightened by a Venus flytrap that can be dominated by STAYING OUT OF THE FUCKING FLOWERSHOP.
3. Swamp Thing from Swamp Thing
Wes Craven wanted to prove that he could do action, and so in 1982 he brought us the film version of the DC Comics hero Swamp Thing, a superhuman mass of intelligent vegetable matter that would protect the environment and his swampland at any cost. He’s buff, he’s tough, and he’s not gonna get snuffed by Fatkid and a shotgun, even if his name is Horace. He’s practically indestructible, able to regrow parts as necessary. He can control any plant life around him. Oh, and he can teleport, sending his sentience into any vegetable matter nearby — even your weed, motherfucker. So theoretically, he could be the van Cheech and Chong use to evade Stacy Keach. Tremble! (I also secretly think this is the character Akiva Goldsman plans to fuck up with his environmental critters, not Toxie. But who knows? It could be both.)
2. The Ents from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
There’s nothing more frightening than a giant tree. Unless that giant tree is pissed off and ready to fuck you up. Birnam Wood goes all Dunsinane on Saruman as the Ents uproot and go orc-stomping in Peter Jackson’s second epic. Many religions have myths about talking trees, and Tolkien co-opted all of them, creating these sentient woodlings who go commando on the wild wizard and his army. Proving once again that Christopher Lee hates fucking trees.
1. The VeggieTales from The VeggieTales
Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, spreading their Judeo-Christian agenda and donning pointy white napkins, have engaged in a seven-state abortion-clinic bombspree, peppering those who would dare de-seed young saplings with grapeshot and stuffed shells. The two salad-shooters, and a veritable cornucopia of accomplice veggies, have made ketchup of doctors and greengrocers as well as catsup of a few landscapers. They’ve also been linked to several right wing militia groups, going underground for a few weeks every winter in the hinterlands. Attempts by the FBI to smuggle plums into their movement have resulted in informants being found skinned alive, boiled, and served in soup kitchens. They’ve been linked to ratatouille attempts on six senators, protesting the catering at several troop funerals, and assassination attempts on three scientists attempting cross-pollination. But even they think the Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family are fucking bananas.