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Tripods (1984-85)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

October, 2089. Trekking across Europe in search of the Alpine 'White Mountains' hideaway of the fabled 'Free Men', Will, Henry and Beanpole have been caught stealing bread in a mountain village.

The boys are sentenced for their crime and locked inside a horse-drawn cage to be commuted to prison. The cart driver Daniel, now one of the Tripods' 'black guards' law enforcers, was an old friend of theirs but rendered subservient after having undergone the Tripods brain 'capping' ritual. He will not listen to their pleas for release. Although reluctant, they use a belt slipped through the cage bars to choke Daniel into unconsciousness. Stealing their captor's keys they escape the cage, leaving Daniel bound and gagged.

Spending the night by a campfire, the boys hope they are just two days' trek from the Free Men, and discuss how exciting it would be to meet people who are, like them, 'uncapped' and free-thinking.

The next day Will, Henry and Beanpole find a small mining 'railway' - for them a ride on this 'train' is an exciting novelty. But just as their truck hits the buffers, Henry suddenly becomes aware of a Tripod sentry standing over them. So far unseen, the boys sit silently until Beanpole hatches a plan, reckoning that, like a fat man, a Tripod cannot see his feet. Henry is sent to climb the quarry face and place a grenade on the rocks under one of the Tripod's feet. Using a rope attached to the firing pin, the three get under cover on the ground and pull the line. The grenade explodes, and the Tripod topples over and crashes to the ground.

The boys watch as a hatch opens in the central pod - green light spills out from inside. Henry hurls another grenade inside the hatch and it explodes.

As the boys celebrate, green slime drips from the hatch. The boys realise they must flee before more Tripods arrive, in case this one has sent a distress signal. Henry thinks he saw a face inside the Tripod's metal shell - for the first time they realise the Tripods carry some sort of creature.

The boys reach the brow of the hill and see their Alpine goal but then they hear a low horn sounding behind them. They turn to see half a dozen Tripods gathering behind them. Slowly, the red gunner Tripod begins to advance...