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Day of the Triffids was written in 1951 and contains many of the same themes as many zombie films. In fact you could replace Triffids with zombies pretty easily right through the book. I believe I am Legend is considered to be the first book to include something similar to zombies (in terms of the modern science fiction version) in it wasn’t written until 1954.

Have any zombie writers ever cited John Wyndham’s book as an influence on the zombie genre?

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  • 1
    That's a debatable assertion. One of the defining features of zombies is that if they bite/kill you, you become a zombie. Triffids, not so much. Jan 12, 2018 at 9:31
  • 2
    An interview with Danny Boyle confirms that opening scenes for the Triffids film inspired Alex Garland to write 28 Days Later.
    – user71418
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:34
  • 2
    George A Romero cites I Am Legend (1954) as the inspiration for the seminal Night of the Living Dead movies, so I guess he was led by US authors.
    – user71418
    Jan 12, 2018 at 9:49

2 Answers 2

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You are not the first to compare the two, from Infected, Zombies And Triffids

The plants that take over the world in Day Of The Triffids have many characteristics of zombies. In particular, they are slow-moving and can be dealt with one on one (as long as you’re not blind that is), it is when they appear en masse that they can over-run almost any human defences. In this respect, you could replace then with zombies or infected and the story told would remain pretty much the same. This proposition is supported by the fact that this is what happened with 28 Days Later, which is almost scene for scene a homage to the original Day Of The Triffids book but with rage victims replacing the eponymous predatory plants.

Also from the The Day of the Triffids wiki page

According to director Danny Boyle, the opening hospital sequence of The Day of the Triffids inspired Alex Garland to write the screenplay for 28 Days Later

So yes, it's clear 28 days later was directly inspired by The Day of the Triffids

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  • And arguably, genetically engineered plants are more believable than reanimated corpses that infect through bites..
    – Paul
    Oct 1, 2018 at 16:59
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    @Paul I thought Triffids originated in outer space?
    – Danny Mc G
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:21
  • @Danny3414 I haven't read the book, was going off the wiki article about it. On re-read I guess it never really says. relevant quote is > Due to his background, Masen suspects they were bioengineered in the USSR and accidentally released into the wild.
    – Paul
    Oct 1, 2018 at 21:27
  • Yeah you're correct, I just dragged out my old copy to check. Quote:" Nevertheless, their true origin still remains obscure". (However Masen does indeed speculate the bioengineering) Earlier in the tale he scorns the space seed theory - that must be where my memory came from
    – Danny Mc G
    Oct 2, 2018 at 6:20
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I've been saying this for years: it isn't even the basics of the plot, but the structure.

  1. The horror of the incident and the individual struggle.
  2. Formation of groups and founding a community safe house.
  3. The real villain is us all along.

28 Days Later follows this perfectly; Romero's movies do the same movie by movie. It's clearly the first.

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