Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988)

This is a great little film! And one which I'd not seen before. I've not even seen the original Killer Tomatoes film, so had no preconceptions as to what this might all be about. But as sequels go, this is pretty enjoyable and well done fare. It's streets above other 'so bad they're good' type films, and I'd almost go so far to say that this is 'so good it's good'!

The basic plot is that there's a mad scientist, Professor Gangreen superbly played by John Astin (the original Gomez Addams), who has discovered a way to turn tomatoes into people. So he has created Rambo-esque guards for his house, and also a hot female assistant (Karen Mistal). In fact she is so hot she's steaming! Except that said assistant falls for one of the lads from the local high school, and he and his mate (played by a young George Clooney) decide to try and liberate her ...

It's generally a nonsensical romp of a film, with some brilliant '80s moments. I love how it starts as a beach movie, with a whole bevvy of unfeasibly hot babes in bikinis, and then moves into sideswipes at consumerism as they try product placement of all types to try and get enough money to finish the film ...  Tomatoes are bad as well and are smuggled in, while people run around screaming if there is even a hint of tomato! Chad (Anthony Starke) and Matt (George Clooney) work in a pizza place and pizzas are made with every ingredient but tomato as well - strawberry jam being one such replacement, and the whole film is silly and yet compelling.

As mentioned, I was somewhat entranced by Karen Mistal who plays Tara Boumdeay (Professor Gangreen's assistant). She is stunning and with a body ... what a body ... The '80s fashions really work to her advantage in this regard. We even get a return of the bikini girls at the end as Matt uses the Professor's machine to create some hot girlfriends for himself.

I loved the film. I liked the sense of self-awareness that it has, the breaking of the fourth wall, the insanity of the plot, and the gorgeous girls of course. For the ladies, there is of course George Clooney, and another assistant of the Professor called Igor, who is a handsome blond chap with a very educated speaking voice (Steve Lundquist).

It reminded me a lot of the more recent Sharkanado movies, with the same sense of the absurd and rollicking fun which they embody.

My one disappointment here is in the extras on this new Blu-Ray release from Arrow. Usually Arrow stuff their disks with tons of material, but here there's only a recent interview with Anthony Starke to round it off (there's a trailer and a couple of other minor elements, but no documentary or behind the scenes information. Ah well.

Worth getting to watch with your mates on a beer and pizza night. Just watch out for the tomatoes!


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Stereo audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary with writer-director John De Bello
  • Brand new interview with star Anthony Starke
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
  • Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver

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