Killer Tomatoes Eat France!

ktef-poster“Michael J. Fox is a major motion picture star and I’m making a Killer Tomatoes movie, part 4!”

The Scoop: 1992 PG, directed by John De Bello and starring John Astin, Steve Lundquist, and Marc Price

Tagline: No tagline

Summary Capsule: America, mostly in the form of Skippy from “Family Ties”, has to bail France out of trouble once again.

Justin’s Rating: A Lament For Tara

Justin’s Review: It began with the Great Tomato War, and it ended with… the Great Tomato War II. It began with a really chubby guy in polyester using an incredibly horrible song to stop the Red Menace, and it ends with a second-string player from the 80’s sitcom “Family Ties” walking up, and up, and up a whole bunch of stairs. If nothing else, the Killer Tomato series has some sort of warped honor when it comes to paying homage to itself.

Firmly in the territory of the Killer Tomato cartoon era, this final (fourth) film may be a little too politically correct to portray a black man disguised as Adolf Hitler, but even the softening (ripening?) of the franchise can’t quite keep a killer veggie (fruit!) down.

Key villain Dr. Gangreen (John Astin) and his lunky sidekick (Steve Lundquist, who pretty much lists three tomato movies as his entire filmography) take their tomato-using world domination plans out of the stifling USA, and into virgin territory: France! Now, while I’ll politely refrain from using my entire repertoire of French jokes, I know I don’t really need to — Killer Tomatoes Eat France is certainly not shy in slinging beret-wearing, wine-loving, chain-smoking jokes at our uneasy allies in Europe. Fresh off their drubbing in World War 2 (where the use of the fixed Maginot Line coined the phrase, “No, no no! You were SUPPOSED to attack us from THIS direction! I’m telling Mom!”), a plague of homicidal tomatoes bent on subjugating the country was just not what they needed.

Fortunately for tomato-haters everywhere, plucky American Marc Price (“Skippy” from the aforementioned sitcom) just so happens to be backpacking through the troubled nation, and he ain’t having no unlimited salad bar with HIS lunch, no sir! He falls in love with a local French beauty, eats some cheese, makes some cheesy dialogue, and finds himself enlisted to fight in the War to End All Wars before the film’s end.

Like the rest of the series, KTEF is territory where the jokes are broad, and the broads are jokey. I wouldn’t say it’s solely aimed at a kid demographic, but more like it’s aimed at anyone with a slight fetish for childish humor. If you’d be the sort of person who would find a giant, flame-throwing tomato amusing, this might be the sort of bedtime story that will put you into a great mood.

It is frustrating how many big dumb jokes are thrown in here, such as Marc Price endlessly trying to walk up the Tower of 900 Steps while objects — rollerskates, ball bearings, bananas — are thrown down, because there are such moments of sublime hilarity as well that make me suspect that the filmmakers were afraid to go entirely with sniggers when they could overwhelm us with guffaws. For me, the series is held together by Igor, the dumb-witted, always-smiling man child, and its his delight in his spiffy new castle tour where I find my delight as well.

Slightly better than Killer Tomatoes Strike Back, and boasting better tomato puppets (now there’s a phrase I haven’t used lately) than ever before, it’s worth a trip down insanity lane to see how this series wrapped up, and why, exactly, I am a pariah at dinner parties.

You see, Deja Vu is listed twice as a joke! Get it? Do ya? Yeah.

You see, Deja Vu is listed twice as a joke! Get it? Do ya? Yeah.

Intermission!

  • Killer Tomatoes Eat France was originally intended to be the third movie in the series, but got bumped to #4.
  • The stirring theme song — best version of the series?
  • Jokes during the opening credits
  • “Frenchy” is a very popular nickname
  • Blueberry pizza
  • Best tomato effects yet
  • It’s Skippy from Family Ties! Making… bad jokes about being Michael J. Fox…
  • Let’s all hear it for “Beautiful French Country Girl”
  • Lots of hand-held camera work
  • Igor loves his Really Big Castle
  • The fake bunnies roasting marshmallows on the fire of “Joan of Ark”… best laugh of the movie
  • “The End” at minute 11
  • Sheep love? Ew…
  • Well, that’s a disgusting dinner scene
  • The Sphinx is in Paris?
  • FT now speaks English and has feet
  • Tomatoes RAPPING. YES.
  • The WWI stuff is fun and creative
  • The original AOTKT theme music
  • The sword fight through the set
  • Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? Some jokes during the credits, and Gangreen gets a final scene. Fin.

Groovy Quotes

Michael: What am I worried about? I’m 22 years old, I’m backpacking through France… Life is wonderful. Oh, who am I kidding. Michael J. Fox is a major motion picture star and I’m making a Killer Tomatoes movie, part 4!. What am I worried about? I’m making a movie. I’m filming in France. I’ve got a piece of the merchandising! It beats dinner theater.

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