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Home > Movies > 31 Monstrous Failures #9: Tabonga

31 Monstrous Failures #9: Tabonga

October 9th, 2011

Plant creatures, as a rule, don’t have a lot of personality. Oh sure, Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors gets by on his lovely singing voice, and Swamp Thing is as much man as monster. In general, stems and leaves and vines don’t lend themselves to truly memorable monsters. But what if you slap a face on them?

Enter…

Tabonga!

The “It” of 1957’s From Hell It Came managed to hit three out of the four quadrants of ’50s movie monsterdom: it was a Native Superstition brought to life by Atomic Fallout and Well-Meaning Science Gone Wrong. If only Tabonga had arrived by Flying Saucer, audiences could’ve shouted “Bingo!” and left the theater fully satisfied.

On a random Pacific island, a native prince was betrayed by both the local witch doctor and his own cheating wife. Killed by ceremonial dagger, the prince’s body was buried. Later, thanks to the unholy combination of a vengeful spirit and some handy radiation leftover from nearby atomic testing, a tree grew from the spot. A tree with a face…and a dagger protruding from where its heart would be.

American scientists uprooted the growth and injected it with an experimental compound (because, Science!). Before you could say “this is much less fun that a movie about a killer tree with a face ought to be,” Tabonga was on the prowl!

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