Awfully Good #22

The recently announced remake of this cult classic prompted me to take another look at this vegetable-defying series.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

Director: John De Bello
Stars: David Miller, George Wilson, Sharon Taylor

Is there a plot?

Giant pissed off tomatoes have begun killing people across the United States and agent Mason Dixon must get to the bottom of it!

What's the damage?

God knows why, but when I was six my mom rented RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES for me. It was my first taste of a movie that was completely insane and off the wall and soon I had switched from Mr. Rogers to Mel Brooks and Disney to THE NAKED GUN. So I was weary to revisit this original series for fear that my comic foundation had been built on faulty nostalgia. Thankfully that wasn’t the case. ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES remains awesome.

Once PEARL HARBOR went overbudget, Michael Bay had to drastically cut down the sinking of the USS Arizona sequence.

It’s pretty much exactly what you expect from a movie about giant produce rampaging and eating people—campy and so tongue in cheek you might require oral surgery afterwards. Director John De Bello knows this and throws an hour and a half of pure insanity on the screen, from the opening Hitchcock disclaimer to the ridiculous theme song. And for the most part, DeBello wisely leaves the tomato chaos up to your imagination, thanks to plenty of great sound effects which up the kitsch factor and the hilarity. It’s almost like a Zucker Bros. movie in tone and execution, filled with lots of physical comedy, background sight gags and random non-sequiturs. The style can get a little tiring, but overall the jokes are more hits than misfires with plenty of laugh out loud moments that have been countlessly ripped off over the last 30 years. (Tim Burton owes the end of MARS ATTACKS! to a little song named “Puberty Love.”)

When your giant tomato is made of paper maché, there’s no real reason to bother hiding the cart.

That’s why a remake makes little sense: the movie is hardly about tomatoes eating people. And there’s no way to capture the nonstop hodgepodge of random humor and pop culture satire without feeling like a lame modern parody movie. It’s a lose-lose situation.

It’s nice to know that similar interests bond humans and tomatoes.

It’s also hard to call ATTACK a “bad” movie, since its obviously aiming directly for its tone, but as a camp classic it belongs atop this column. Make sure to check it out before the redux comes to a theater near you.

Michael Myers should not be allowed to do his own makeup.

"Best" Line

Such great sound effects.

I just wished the scientist had pulled off his glasses dramatically before the final line.

"Best" Parts

1) Tomato attack!

2) I think that’s the same cop who gave me my last ticket.

3) To be perfectly honest, I’m curious about the raping.

Nudity Watch

Lots and lots of naked fruit.

Enjoyableness Continuum:

Make marinara! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Tomato sound effects are awesome
  • Asian people are dubbed
  • Sam Smith switches disguises
  • Advertisements ruin the movie
  • Somebody says Pppppppbth

Double shot/ Finish your drink whenever:

  • Clark Kent makes an appearance.

Stay tuned next week for the RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic
Tags: awfully good



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