Branches of Evil : A Celebration of Scary Trees

Yeah it’s a very specific niche but as soon as I see the phrase ‘scary tree’  I immediately regress to childhood and think about being totally freaked out by an evil tree.  The fear taps into a primitive fear of nature, something that has grown more intense with most people now living in towns and cities.  I don’t trust nature, it stings, it pricks, it hilariously bends back and slaps you in the face with its leafy hand.  I grew up in the country and my nightmares are filled with all the times I lost a shoe in some extremely deep mud.  So why am I dwelling on these horticultural horrors?  Well I don’t think I need a reason to warn everyone about these big, brown, bark-covered bastards.  You’ll thank me when you all have an emergency chainsaw strapped to your back.

4. Poltergeist (1982)


This is where my fear of evil trees started. As a child seeing a tree busting through the window of a kid’s bedroom and try to eat him was obviously horrifying. And why was an eight year old me watching Poltergeist? You’d have to ask my parents. That way you could find out something about my roots! (boom! Its all been worth it just for that joke).


3. The Evil Dead (1981)

The most infamous scary tree in film history, this is one of the main elements of the movie that led to The Evil Dead being banned in the UK. This tree carries the dubious title of ‘rapiest tree in cinema history’. Sam Raimi has since said that the scene went too far and in my opinion it didn’t add anything to the film and detracted from the tone of the whole thing. Here’s a happy tree to cheer you up!


2. The Guardian (1990)

This might be hot if she didn’t feed babies to the tree

Another non child friendly film that I watched as a little boy, The Guardian is the wholesome tale of some kind of hot, half plant, half human, lady (Jenny Seagrove). What could be frightening for a child about this scenario? Oh and she sacrifices babies to a big tree. Being a country boy I can understand the need to make your own fun but this is a bit creepy. I thought I had imagined this film but finally found it on IMDB.

1. Harry Potter series (2001 – 2011)


The whomping willow! Probably not the nicest name for tree parents to give to their newborn nut. How was little WW, as I a call him, ever going to be anything else than a destructive sentient tree. I’d get defensive if I saw a nerd and a ginger kid driving straight a me in a flying card. And where do they get their wooden broomsticks, I wouldn’t want to stay around to find out.

Where are they now?


I’m starting to think Hollywood has something against our wooden neighbours. Where are all the nice trees? I can think of a couple off the top of my head. There’s Treebeard from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and there’s the upcoming Groot from the potentially huge Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy. However these are rare exceptions. I’m starting a campaign to express the tree community’s anger at being portrayed as bad guys. I know loads of trees and they’re great guys. Small minded Hollywood screenwriters, why don’t you make like a tree and get out of here?

Would you like to add anything to the list? Man-eating plants don’t count, I want proper trees. I look forward to leafing (I’m amazing!) through your entries.


  1. Great list! I agree – trees are freaking creepy, man. All of nature just kind of freaks me out. (I love your happy tree, though – that’s adorable!). 🙂 How about those evil apple trees in The Wizard Of Oz? Bastards.


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