In 1978, the B-movie spoof Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! was released, mostly to indifference, but by the late 1980s its time had finally come, and a sequel arrived, followed in short succession by two more: Killer Tomatoes Strike Back! and Killer Tomatoes Eat France!, plus an animated series. Writer-director John DeBello attributes this to the success of Airplane! acclimating audiences to its style of absurdist parody. This might be the case, though audiences in the late 1980s also had a taste for selfreferential monster films such as Ghoulies, Gremlins, Critters, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and anything put out by Troma Entertainment or Empire International Pictures.
The Film Itself
The original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is considerably smarter and funnier than you might expect it to be, playing like an overlong Monty Python sketch, or the sort of film Frank Zappa would make in an alternate universe where he’s a director, not a musician. But, as much as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! suffered for being ahead of its time, Return of the Killer Tomatoes! is like a blueprint for many years’ worth of American comedy sequels that are no more than reprises of the jokes from the original, from Airplane II: The Sequel, through seven Police Academy films (plus a television series and an animated series), five Scary Movies, three Hangovers, and two each of Anchorman and Zoolander. While Return is not wholly free from good jokes or clever concepts, the main source of humour here is riffing on the concept of a played-out sequel itself, which is an OK excuse for the shameless reuse of parts of the original; still, the film gets by on its pure vivacity alone.
Audio and Visuals
It looks good, it sounds good. What more could you possibly ask for?
The cover is reversible, with original or newly commissioned artwork. The menu is easy to navigate, though the looping theme song could get annoying, if you spend too long on the menu.
The extras package featured here is very slightly light; the audio commentary with John DeBello is the centrepiece, and aside from that there’s only “Hangin’ with Chad”, a short interview with star Anthony Starke (who plays hero Chad Finletter), plus some stills and trailers.
No-one really needs to see Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; but, if you decide that you want to, be sure you see it the right way thanks to Arrow Video.
Return of the Killer Tomatoes is now on shop shelves today (from 27th June), will you be buying yourself a copy? Let us know in the comment box below!