Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)
What’s It About: Those damn dirty killer tomatoes are back and no one knows why this movie was made.
Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:
- One dollar movie! I’d buy that for a dollar! No I wouldn’t, this regurgitated pile of trash isn’t worth 50¢.
- The Pot O’Gold jackpot is a whopping $9.22! That’s probably what this movie cost to make.
- The secret word of the day for this stupid movie is “the.” The fact that there’s a secret word that could potentially make for some laughs later on in the film is good enough but couldn’t they choose something funnier then just ‘the?’ It would probably be funnier of they pick a real good obscure word like ‘isosceles’ and somehow worked into the script to have someone say it.
- Of course I’m assuming the film is planning on using this secret word gimmick in the future of the flick. This could be part of the gag.
- Now we’re talking! The “wrong movie” the TV station is showing is a soft-core teen comedy called “Big Breasted Girls Go To The Beach and Take Their Tops Off.” Seriously, thats’s the joke? Is this flick written by 8-year-olds?
- Full Disclosure: I’ve seen this flick a bunch of times back in my elementary school days but I barely remember it and I’m curious to see if it’s any or at all funny. I probably thought it was comedy gold back when I was 9.
- Intentionally fake matte painting of the spooky house with smoke coming out of the chimney is kinda funny—I’ll give that to them.
- John Astin. He’ll give this movie the credibility it deserves!
- This assistant chick is played by the gorgeous Karen Mistal who a year after this movie was in another dumb (I’m safely assuming) spoof called “Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death” with Shannon Tweed, Adrienne Barbeau and Bill Maher. She then did some light TV appearances for the next 30 years, She could’ve easily skated to super stardom just on her smashing good looks alone but she starred in this and the Cannibal Girl flick and cursed herself to a Dukes of Hazzard TV movie in 2000.
- And I know what you’re thinking, “why don’t you watch the Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death movie since it has the word Cannibal in the title?” Well for two good reasons, Fuck and You. No but seriously, I’m already watching enough bad horror comedies and from what I read, it doesn’t really feature any good cannibalism at all. Maybe another drunken time.
- So This mad scientist played by Astin chemically altered a tomato and by playing certain music it can change the tomato to a Rambo-like super soldier (equipped with camouflage fatigues and M16 machine gun for some dumb reason). The funny thing is he has this lab full of all this scientific equipment but to play the music he has an old jukebox that he needs to pay with quarters. A simple boombox would suffice. Again, I know this is a spoof but I’m failing to see the gag here.
- I should mention that Tara was created by Professor Gangrene as the ‘perfect woman/assisant/housekeeper/sex slave’ and is also a mutated tomato turned human.
- I’m glad we’re getting a recap of the first movie where barely anything happens.
- Now Finletter owns a pizzeria but since tomatoes are now banned he puts on weird and usual toppings even though there’s plenty of other non-tomato-sauce pizza’s that he can make that already exist. Again, I know this is a gag but it’s awful.
- Our main hero is Anthony Starke which you might remember from such classics like 18 Again and Repossessed with Leslie Nielsen which is another terrible spoof flick which mocks The Exorcist that I used to watch when I was younger also. I’m sure that Repossessed is just as bad now as Return of the Killer Tomatoes is turning out to be.
- There’s our real hero George Clooney!
- According to imdb.com old congressman Gary Condit is supposed to be in the pizzeria because he was a friend of Rock Peace whom plays Finletter. If you don’t remember Gary Condit, google him, I’ll wait. Him being an old friend of Rock Peace makes perfect sense really.
- Another bad joke about extreme sailing. My sides can’t take much more of this laugh riot.
- This film could do great with a PTSD veteran gag with the whole Tomato War with Finletter but I’m sure that is too sophisticated for this dreck.
- More recap of the first film. And the film thinks this is funny by bringing this up.
- And another one of those shows clips of one city while the subtitle says it’s another city gags.
- Professor Gangrene is talking about how the song Puberty Love foiled his devious plan of world domination by way of tomatoes. He says that “music will be our victory, not our defeat.” But earlier in the film when he created the Rambo soldier, one song made the tomato the soldier and then he played Beethoven’s 5th Symphony which again made the soldier into a tomato. So why does he think that the heroes won’t figure this out again?
- I should probably point out that Astin is wearing a dark pin-striped suit. You see kiddies, he was Gomez in the original Addams Family TV show.
- It’s not a great indication of how well I’m enjoying this film if I get irritated when Astin says that tomatoes are vegetables.
- Gangrene’s ‘Igor’ is some Aryan raced buffoon who is training to be a TV news anchorman in his spare time. Or something.
- There’s one of those static electricity balls that pop up in almost every 80s movie. Of course tomatoes are on top.
- Who the hell is Rob Lowe? Clooney is running a scam contest to win a date with Rob Lowe just to score chicks. That’s the whole gag. That’s not even a gag really.
- A scene earlier, Gangrene accidentally created a mutant tomato that is fuzzy and casted it out. Later that evening, Tara saves it from the garbage and names it FT.
- I can’t stand it when our hero in a movie is freaked out at a beautiful woman like Karen Mistal comes on too him aggressively and suddenly. I mean, he doesn’t have to whip his Johnson out now but he can certainly close up shop and take her back to his place ASAP. Not act all terrified.
- Back in 1988, this is the first time I ever heard the term ‘blow job’ and today still I don’t understand it.
- Clooney comes back home early in the morning to his own apartment that he shares with Chad and upon hearing the shower running, strolls into the bathroom and starts talking to him and brushes his teeth. It just so happens it’s Tara in the shower but that’s besides the point—why is a male roommate walking into the bathroom while he assumes his male roommate is showering?
- This film fails in giving us nothing but Karen Mistal naked silhoutte and nothing else. BOO!
- Clooney just said to Chad: “Part of me is rubbing off on you.” Great choice of words Georgie.
- Who has a giant Raging Bull movie poster hanging in their living room?
- Chad just called Tara a “real Cloud Jockey.” Is that the same as saying she’s kookie?
- “Nobody made toast like that girl!” Ha ha ha ha. I. can’t. stop. laughing.
- At least this film had a budget for some modern pop music. Not saying it’s good music but it sounds like normal 80s montage music.
- Decent gag involving a Chad and Tara dating montage that keeps getting interrupted by a street mime popping up every so often. Although it could’ve been funnier because the mime shows up when they go inside an Adult video store. The mime just makes kissing faces when the flick could’ve had him do the oral sex hand-mouth gestures instead.
- Again, Chad is freaked out by all the kinky sex that Tara is interested in. What a dope.
- Chad and Tara overhear a deal in a grocery store backroom mocked like a drug deal but instead of drugs it’s tomatoes (because remember they are banned now) The dealer says “don’t give me no “Joe Carcione” routine here.” Well I didn’t get what he meant so I googled Joe Carcione and he was a famous television greengrocer in the 70s and 80s. Maybe that joke would’ve landed back in 1988 but that went right over my head back then AND now. Ironic too, because it’s probably one of the better jokes in this turd.
- I’m also kinda stumped as to why The Godfather theme is playing. Because the grocer and the dealer seem Italian? The dealer acted more like a street-wise drug dealer not a mafioso type. Strange.
- This scene makes very little sense. Tara got really pissed at Chad in the grocery store because he hates tomatoes and wants to call the cops on the deal they just witnessed. So pissed she walks out on him and calls him a carnivore. Next scene they are both dressed up nice and arriving at a fancy restaurant. When Chad goes to help Tara she jerks her hand away and says “let go of me!” Why did she agree to go on the date with Chad if she was so mad at him? It’s not as if they had an unbreakable dinner obligation right?
- For a society that hates tomatoes why would they have a fancy restaurant that features an assortment of vegetarian dishes. Wouldn’t it make more sense to be more meat-orientated. I know this is a stupid spoof but this isn’t a gag on restaurant culture. It’s really only highlighted to give trouble to Tara who’s a mutant tomato herself and refuses to eat vegetables. When she asks if they have any red meat the waiter rudely suggests a chili dog and Tara accepts. Man, this film really needs comedy writers.
- Why would the violinist play Beethoven’s 5th in a fancy restaurant? That’s not exactly romantic dinner music.
- The movie is practically repeating the first movie’s gag about the TV reporter asking loaded and personal as well as irrelevant questions to a panic-stricken woman. “You were alone? Aren’t you married? What happened to your husband? He died? Was it suicide?” This is the only time I laughed so far. We’re 38 minutes into the movie. And I shouldn’t laugh since it’s a rehashed joke.
- So Igor tells the valet that he drives the garbage truck (again, not much of a gag) as he trails Chad and Tara. They leave in Chad’s car and the valet pulls up the garbage truck and Igor gets pissed and shouts “That’s not mine!” Kinda funny I guess. Then he races to the parking lot and gets inside his garbage truck. Before he leaves he asks another random couple if this movie has had a chase scene in it yet. The lady replies no and that it’s already been 25 minutes! Like hell it’s only been 25 minutes! It’s really 40.
- Clooney is complaining to Chad that Tara won’t let him play music in the apartment and that she hates music of all kinds from Mozart to Sinatra and the Grateful Dead. He then says “C’mon who hates the Grateful Dead?” I can’t tell if this a joke or not. Seriously!
- And now a rip-roaring hilarity-palooza scene of FT going from one bad event to another without anyone noticing it. Like falling in an ice cream street vendor’s chocolate vat and the vendor selling it as a treat to some kid. Real classic slapstick stuff.
- More proof that this script was written by kids. Gangrene is frustrated that he can’t get the eyes right on his experiment and it just happens to be a Mr. Potato Head.
- So the film decides to be a real spoof now and breaks the fourth wall showing the whole film crew and having the director or producer say they ran out of money to continue filming. Clooney comes up with the brilliant plan to have product placement instead of all the generic stuff they had.
- That joke continues with a scene where Clooney keeps recommending products like Pepsi, Nestle Crunch or a Moosehead Beer to a patron in the pizzeria. Even offering Chad Crest toothpaste. Again, kinda funny. Mostly because it’s Clooney and his delivery.
- Is that Stanley from The Office?
- So now a random fight breaks out between cowboys and ninjas in the pizzeria. If only this film had more random lunacy. It may not make me laugh but it would be more interesting.
- That isn’t Stanley from The Office but Sam, the master of disguise from the first flick. But it’s not the same actor. He REALLY is the master of disguise!
- That was one comically large Goobers box that Clooney offered Chad. I actually remember his delivery of “Have a Goobers” when I was younger. My brother for some odd reason laughed hard to that. Probably because of the word Goobers. Again, I’m finding other things funny instead of what the film is offering.
- Igor is wearing a sports coat and tie but also wearing short shorts and Reebok sneakers. It just dawned on me that Igor might be a spoof of Rocky from Rocky Horror but I’m not so sure that this film would get that.
- Another failed gag that could’ve been funnier. Igor collects some toxic waste from a waste dump and then walks past some kid who’s fishing there. The kid pulls up a large fish skeleton as a gag for how the toxic waste is destroying the marine life. Wouldn’t a mutant fish creature be a more entertaining choice? See this is what I’m trying to say, that this film’s comedy is just so weak and lame.
- This background music sounds like porn music. Or 16-bit era video game music.
- Clooney is watching a TV program called The Smorgasbord of Sports. Kinda funny.
- But they show is still trying to make us laugh at the extreme competitive sailing event.
- Chad must be some sort of film nerd to want to hang all these old film posters in his room. Especially one above his bed for The Last Detail that features a half-naked Jack Nicholson.
- Come on! There’s still 40 minutes left?!
- This piece of shit film franchise (OMG) is not worth wasting the food. It bothers me greatly whenever I see a squashed tomato.
- This flick could’ve spoofed Gremlins more with FT being akin to Gizmo but FT doesn’t do anything.
- There’s a horror movie that Chad sees called Frankenstein’s Mummy. Also kinda funny.
- Not sure why Playboy’s Teri Weigel is in this flick but I’ll take it.
- This is another random scene that I recalled from back in 1988. Chad and Clooney gear up on ATVs to go rescue Tara and before they go, they talk about the ATV’s features like a commercial. Chad gets annoyed and asks if they have enough money to finish the movie. The director says yes and they ride on. I’m not sure why I remembered that scene.
- Chad just used the old Palmolive commercial’s “You’re soaking in it” line as Clooney had his hand in toxic waste. I’m shocked I got that joke in 2018.
- When Chad and Clooney attempt to use Gangrene’s equipment to try to change a tomato that Chad thinks is Tara we are treated to a lousy sight gag of Chad picking the wrong music and getting unfunny results. Like latin music changes the tomato to Carmen Miranda. Organ music into the Pope. You get the idea.
- One day I might meet George Clooney, I sure hope I do because I will hound him about this movie. And I will repeat his iconic line “Yo, Zucchini!”
- They want to write a note to Finletter to ask for help that will be carried by FT. Chad asks where are they going to get paper and Clooney says use a page from my script. OK, kinda funny.
- This film really really wants to make us love this sailing sports gag.
- Why am I still taking notes? Are you even reading this?
- Gomez saying “See you in a salsa” gave me a slight chuckle. I think I’m just going slighty mad at this point.
- The whole Finletter gag of him wearing the paratrooper uniform with the dragging parachute worked for the first film (OK not really) but here it’s just retarded. Yes I used the R word!
- Finletter’s buddy Sam, who’s now disguised as the Lone Ranger for some unfunny reason, opens up a door labeled China Closet and when he looks inside he sees The Great Wall of China. Oooof.
- This movie is the Ted Cruz of spoof flicks.
- As Finletter struggles with his stupid parachute to get up to turn off the timer that’s set that activates Gangrene’s trap to change Chad and Clooney into tomatoes at the final seconds, Clooney calls a ‘Time Out” and a referee comes out and blows a whistle. I’ll give the film some kudos for that gag. At least it was original.
- I like how this prison that Gangrene is helping Congressman Jim Richardson escape from looks like a high school.
- This whole gag of the congressman saying he was the star from the first film and now they only gave him a few lines would be funnier if it was the same actor who played the congressman in the first film.
- So to stop Gangrene the secret word gag comes into play when he answers the phone call to say the secret word and wins allowing them to attack him while he’s distracted.
- Just to wrap up now because I found something else to do, Gangrene is caught and tries to gas Tara. But Tara’s OK because she’s not human and can survive noxious chemicals. Gangrene then tries to play Beethoven to change her back to a tomato (which can be reversed anyway as the film clearly shown) but he says that she is permanently human now because of the gas.
- It’s entirely possible that John Astin had a lot of fun making this picture. He seems to like hamming it up.
- The film’s last gag had the mother of the director tell the audience that he worked hard making this movie and that they should stay until the end of the credits.
Is It Actually Palatable: My younger self should really apologize to my current self for having seen this a few times in the late 80s. It’s probably a small notch above the original though, mainly because of John Astin and George Clooney.
Scariest Entree: Again, like the original this is a poorly made comedy spoof and has barely any laughs much less scares. Like Brian said yesterday we should apologize for this year’s theme. In Heinz sight, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Is It Raw and Bloody: Just tomato juice.
Any Mouth-Watering Nudity: Sadly, we were teased with some silhouetted Karen Mistal behind frosted shower glass. Later on we see Teri Weigel in lingerie but that’s about it.
Most Delectable Line: Tara: I speak perfect English. I also cook 815 international dishes, perform 637 sexual acts, use all the popular home appliances. Shall I cook you something.
Chad Finletter: No. Thank you.
Tara: How ’bout a blow job, maybe iron your pants?
Most Delicious Scene: I still like the first George Clooney product placement scene. Even though Wayne’s World did it better a few years later.
Most Flavorless Scene: Off the top of my head, whenever they tried that America’s Cup sailing gag. It could’ve been funnier I suppose if they showed the sailors actually killing each other or something.
Overall: For a comedy spoof it sure lacks in the comedy department and goes long stretches of nothing funny even remotely happening. I don’t really remember if I thought this was hilarious back when I was 10 or 11 but I’m going to assume since I never watched it ever again until this year that I didn’t. But this is one lackluster and lame franchise. I suppose it has its charms but it’s light-years away from anything Student Bodies or the parodies the Zucker Brothers did. In fact, this franchise really needs to catch-up to those comedy greats.
Score: 3 Sequels! There Were 3 Sequels to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (out of 10)
This movie would’ve been better if Clooney played the lead and The Stick played the Clooney role.
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I still haven’t seen this or the original. I should maybe, some day. But after perusing these reviews, I think I might put it off for another twenty years or so. Maybe.
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