The Scoop: 1988 PG, directed by John De Bello and starring Karen Mistal, John Astin, and George Clooney
Tagline: The vegetables of doom return! They’re bad and this time they’re really stewed!
Summary Capsule: The nasty tomatoes are back, and a new (80s) generation rise up to fight the menace. Plus, there’s this really cute babe.
Justin’s Rating: I will not, I shall not, I dare not use tomatoes as my rating system!
Justin’s Review: I confess to the American public my shame: I am a die-hard fan of the Killer Tomato series. I love the first two movies (this being the second), and the TV cartoon series was spoofy and fun. Plus it had a killer (ha) theme song. What is it about these juicy little vegetables that just appeal to the senses? Well… technically, sir, tomatoes are, er, fruits.
The second installment in the KT series, Return of the Killer Tomatoes picks up about 10 years after the Great Tomato War. Of course we young whippersnappers don’t recall how horrid the assault was — or how tasteless the music played — and so we now have tomatoe sauce-less pizza, tomatoe smugglers, and a mad scientist on the loose. He’s Professor Gangreen (John Astin), who’s figured out how to turn tomatoes into Rambo-lookalikes, and has even designed the most perfect human-tomato, Tara, to fulfill his every bidding.
Tara likes toast, lots of toast. She can make all she likes. Tara is very tasty, as my college buddies noted, even in today’s Pamela Anderson world.
Horrors, romance, and a lot of comedy follow as Anthony Starke and George Clooney (Yup, Mr. Clooney with the fluffiest hair seen outside of the cat world) get to the bottom of the mess. George Clooney does a good job with comedy, and this is all before he became that middle-aged pediatric surgeon that women flocked to, blowing mating calls. There’s FT (fuzzy tomato), a hero for young children and disturbed vegetables everywhere. Plus, Wilbur Finletter (the WWI crazy guy), Sam (the disguise expert), and the scuba guy are back to help out the new generation.
Return takes satire of horror and cheesy films to a new level. I particularly love the beginning, where the unseen projectionists are debating whether or not to watch “Big Breasted Girls Go To The Beach And Take Their Tops Off”. Ah… what might have been. I cannot stress how funny this movie is — think a bit of Naked Gun-type antics, throw in the newfound sexuality of 80’s films and some really strange songs.. you’ve got a classic.
There are many sly comments about the movie industry in particular (including an extended gag with product placement) and the worst-looking pizzas you’ll ever see in your life. No matter where you are in your walk of life, Return of the Killer Tomatoes should sate your desire for a little Saturday night lovin’ and laughin’.
- U.S. Congressman Gary Condit, who became a household name in the Chandra Levy disappearance, has an uncredited roles as a patron in the pizzeria. The movie was co-written and co-produced by a friend of Condit’s, Stephen Peace. Peace, along with Condit, was a member of the California State Assembly at the time.
- This was adapted into a cartoon, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series, on Fox Kids. It ran from 1990 to 1992.
- At the end of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, the beginnings of a carrot uprising are seen. At the end of Return of the Killer Tomatoes, two carrots with machine guns grace the final scene of the film. This continued through the rest of the series.
- Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? Yes indeedy — an old lady makes you stay, and the carrots return!
Chad: The girl of my dreams is a vegetable!
Tara: They are gardeners and carpenters, they are not tomato men.
Gangrene: My tomatoes can be made to look like anyone. A police chief, a congressman… the president himself! We… will… not… fail… AGAIN!
Charles: Cut it! Cut it! Cut it! Save the film, strike the broad and kill the babies.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
- Killer Tomatoes Strike Back
- Killer Tomatoes Eat France