Monday, September 1, 2008

The Great Tomato War: 10 years later...

In 1978 director John DeBello and his friends unleashed the cult comedy classic "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes". The film was a cheap semi-homemade horror movie spoof that chronicles the chaos and mayhem humanity had to endure during The Great Tomato War.


Ten years later during the summer of 1988 "Return of the Killer Tomatoes" made it onto a couple of screens across the country and the world would never be the same.
I first caught this masterpiece of 80s cinema on cable TV as part of "USA Up All Night", USA network's block of cheapo horror and skin comedies hosted by the one and only Gilbert Gottfried.

As I watched this film I was completely fascinated by its absurd blend of comedy and B-movie elements. I popped in a tape into the VCR and recorded the rest of the flick. Days later I ran to my local video store to find this piece of insane crap that had just rocked my world. I rented it multiple times that year.


As the film opens a decade has passed since the great tomato war…a time when produce turned bad and humans became their prey. After humans defeated the tomatoes utilizing the terrifying sounds of a horrendous love song titled "Puberty Love" tomatoes were completely banned. Pizza makers began to use alternative ingredients when making their delicious pies—and that's just what Chad (Anthony Starke) and company are doing at Finletter's Pizza, the restaurant owned by his uncle and former tomato war hero Wilbur Finletter.

Unbeknownst to anyone, the crazed professor Gangreen (John Astin) is working on a terrible new invention which can turn tomatoes into living, breathing people. One of Gangreen's early creation's is the lovely Tara, played by Karen Mistal, who after falling for Chad escapes from the professor's mansion and subsequently reveals the professor's master plan for world domination by using his army of tomato soldiers.

If you have never experienced the greatest chapter in the "Killer Tomatoes" saga I suggest you find a copy of "Return" at your earliest convenience. Here is a list of some of the greatest reasons to do so:

- The Channel 73 One Dollar Movie: "Big Breasted Girls go to the beach and take their tops off".


- George Clooney acting his heart out as Matt, the scamming best friend of Chad Finletter.


- F.T. - Fuzzy Tomato could've been the best thing to happen to movie tie-in plush dolls since the Ewoks.

- Momar Kadaffi, Ninjas, and Cowboys in the biggest pizza parlor brawl in motion picture history.

- Costa Dillon (one of the filmmakers) playing multiple characters throughout the entire film.

- Rick Rockwell from "Who wants to Marry a Multimillionaire" portraying a convicted former press secretary.

- Former Olympic gold medal winner Steve Lundquist playing Professor Gangreen's sidekick Igor .

- Did I mention "Big breasted girls go to the beach and take their tops off"?

The film's cult popularity led to two more sequels, a Saturday morning cartoon show on Fox Kids, a video game, a toy line from Mattel, and soon in 2009 a remake of the entire Killer Tomatoes concept.


The 2009 film will be produced by the same guys responsible for the hit web show "Ask a Ninja". Lets hope it retains the Dillon-DeBello touch of absurdity that made "return" work so well.

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