Sunday, March 27, 2011

Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (1988)

Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (USA, 1988) - Color, Director(s): John De Bello
MPAA Rating: PG
[UK: 15]
Approx. 98 min.

Z-rating: 5 out of 5 stars

B-factor: 5 out of 5 stars

After reviewing Freaked recently, I was in the mood for more low budget cult comedies. I had to return to my roots and review a movie that served as one of my original inspirations for starting this blog. When the movie starts and some cheesy TV host of a show called "One Dollar Movie" announces a raffle for $9, we already have a pretty good idea of what kinda movie we're in store for. There's a poster on the wall displaying the movie of the week, a crumpled up Attack of the Killer Tomatoes poster that someone fished out of the trash and stuck a piece of scotch tape with the word "Return" written on it. After starting the movie, we see that they've switched the reels with a movie called Big Breasted Girls Go to the Beach and Take Their Tops Off (which, I'm sure about half my audience of readers wouldn't mind watching instead)  Cheap gag to put more female bodies on the screen... but damn do I love it!!! After switching back to Return of the Killer Tomatoes, we see mad scientist Prof. Gangreen (John Astin) and his super sexy female companion, Tara (Karen Waldron, then Karen Mistal) working on some evil experiment involving.... you guessed it, TOMATOES!!!!!

Tomatoes that have since been outlawed by Congress following the Great Tomato War. Life has since continued without tomatoes, everyone just adapts, even pizza parlors have begun to make pizzas without tomato sauce. Prof. Gangreen's plans seem to be going accordingly until Tara spots him throwing out a "failed experiment" in which he accidentally created a fuzzy tomato. Picking him back out of the trash, Tara names it FT (short for Fuzzy Tomato) and runs away with it. Since she doesn't know anyone, she goes to the only person that she knows in town... Chad Finletter (Anthony Starke), the nephew of the main character in the first movie. She appears to be the perfect girlfriend because she's able to cook 815 international dishes, clean, and perform 637 sexual acts!!! They start dating and everything seems hunky dory but before long, the truth comes out that Tara is really a tomato!!! She runs away after the truth is revealed and of course, Chad realizes that he loves her despite the fact that she's a tomato. Grabbing his best friend and roommate, Matt Stevens (one of George Clooney's first starring roles), the two boys try to rescue Tara from old Gangreen with a little help from the crack team that defeated the tomatoes in the first movie. (Uncle Finletter and his crew)

So, why review a sequel and skip the original? As much as I love cheesy, low budget, B-grade trash films... the original was just so terrible that not even I could bring myself to enjoy it. For as long as I could remember, Killer Tomatoes had faces and sharp teeth. The original was just about a bunch of people running and screaming while being pelted by little red balls that bounce around and "kill" people. As much as I love Troma schlock, low-budget indie trash, and ridiculously silly comedies... I can't stand movies that look like I could do a better job of putting them together myself. As much as I like movies, I'm no filmmaker. But if I feel like I can do a better job of making a movie, then I feel like whatever I'm watching just isn't worth my time. I LOVE the last three films in this series (yes, there were three), I just can't stand the first one.


Nudity: You can make out Karen Mistal's tits through a foggy shower door when George Clooney returns home in the morning after she first runs away from old Gangreen. There are some scenes of girls in bikinis running around on the beach, but nothing explicit.

Gore: None. Unless you count a tomato being crushed.

Awesome: to the MAX!!!!!!!!! I love how the movie never takes itself seriously, which makes it a very entertaining movie to watch. John Astin, who returns throughout the series, is absolutely fantastic as Prof. Gangreen. (He even lends his voice for the animated TV show) Half way through the movie, they "run out" of money in the budget and have to do a bunch of product placements to raise the cash to finish the film. This is followed by a couple of hilarious scenes where they plug Pepsi cola, Nestle's Crunch, and Foster's beer. (The very obvious product placements following this are hilarious) I love how they break down the fourth wall and address the audience towards the end to tie up any lose ends they had in the first reel. This movie looks like it was a lot of fun to make and so I have a lot of fun just watching it. Although I could've sworn that there was more nudity in this film, this is EXACTLY the type of silly, cheesy, stupid B-movie that I really enjoy. Totally 80's stuff.


  1. Ah yes, did I also mention that music turns them into super buff tomato men? I think I did...

  2. I saw the first killer tomatoes flick. That was enough for me. Nothing worse than a bad movie that sets out to be bad. Comedy of the unintentional kind is born of a desire to create something worthwhile but failing miserably. Plan Nine From Outer Space wouldn't have been even remotely entertaining if Ed Wood had intended it to be an atrocious movie.