Tuesday, June 1, 2010

4 Pack: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

In the wake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a lot of movies tried to become cult classics by throwing out the weirdest plots they could think of.  How else do you explain a movie called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?  The film is the brain-child of John De Bello and freaks you out as it makes you laugh.  This movie is bizarre, irreverent and not for everyone.  Is it a good movie?  Well, it features the Royal Shakespearean Tomatoes, if that helps sway you.  The film is full of goofball humor that has no respect for the Fourth Wall, as well as common sense.  If you haven't seen this movie, it's something to behold.  If you want to know the full story, check out my review of...
The film begins with a woman being sneak attacked by a tomato in her home.  Horror movie parody right from the beginning- interesting.  We get a whole slew of silly credits, including the aforementioned Royal Shakespearean Tomatoes bit and a fake ad for a furniture company.  In the aftermath, the government faces a big problem from the titular creatures.  They want to deal with it, but don't want to make a big fuss about it.  In order to do so, they hire the lowest-ranking government worker they can get: Mason Dixon.  Alongside some non-famous military brass, the group assembles in a very tiny room for an awkward meeting.  You get a good look at the movie's humor as well when a Japanese scientist is introduced...and talks in a dubbed voice.  After knocking a portrait of the U.S.S. Alabama into a fish tank, the man finishes up and our hero is sent off to meet his elite team of agents.  They are a recently-defected women's swimmer, an underwater expert in full SCUBA gear, a parachutist who never removes the aforementioned object and a master of disguise.  This makes for an awkward meeting for the latter two as the disguise expert is dressed as Hitler...despite being fat and black.  This is part of the master plan, but they never say how.  In the B-Plot, the Press Secretary meets up with a PR firm to spin the problem.  Naturally, there's a musical number.
The disguise expert is sent off to infiltrate the tomatoes, while the others go out on patrol.  In the film's C-Plot, a female reporter is sent to investigate the story, since all the Special Assignment reporters are on, wait for it, Special Assignment.  If this joke makes you groan, this is not your movie.  We get more tomato attacks and the movie gets a chance to mock it's low budget.  A group of fleeing civilians run back and forth past a camera in a representation of the chaos in several cities.  It's still not as great as the establishing shot of San Francisco with a title card reading 'New York?'  The comedy keeps coming and continues to be random as the defected-swimmer eats some cereals named Steroids and gets killed by tomatoes tossed just off-camera.  Thankfully, the parachutist comes a minute later to warn her of tomato presence in the area.  A mysterious man is trying to kill Mr. Dixon, which leads a scene of him narrowly-avoiding being shot, although the people he passes are not so lucky.  We eventually get a chase scene that starts out fast, adds the parachutist to the mix and becomes comically-slow.  Dixon finally gets out of his car and walks up to the other one...only to get hit by his own car.  D'oh!
Things don't look good for our heroes as nothing goes in their favor.  The undercover expert un-wisely asks for some ketchup and blows his cover.  Our parachutist is followed by the lady reporter and assails her when she sneaks into his room...only to fall for the 'stuck under a blanket' routine.  The worst part: they're constantly assailed by a horrible song on the radio called 'Puberty Love.'  As it turns out, this actually helps them out and becomes much more important.  When a tomato force flees from an attack on Dixon, he realizes that the song is a weapon.  Well, it makes my ears bleed, so I guess so.  He arranges for all of the residents to meet in an arena and play the song.  Before that, he is cornered by the mastermind behind the whole thing: the Press Secretary.  Wow, that's random.  His plan to make his vegetables replace that of our own is foiled by a sword in the gut.  In the arena, the song plays and causes the fruits to shrink.  The crowd of extras swarm them and stomp away.  Dixon plays the hero when he has to stop a giant tomato wearing giant earmuffs.  Fortunately, he has the print version of the song to put the beast to rest, allowing him to get a random romantic scene.  In the aftermath, the carrots plan their attack...
This movie is really, really weird.  In a lot of ways, it's not good.  The humor is sometimes hit-or-miss, but they try to compensate with an Airplane-like joke speed.  While it will never replace the Zuckers' film, it is funnier than it has any right to be.  The special effects are extremely low-budget and are not at all convincing.  Hell, you can see the wheels on the giant tomato rolling in a parking lot at one point.  However, the low-budget of the film is part of its appeal and is played as the biggest joke of all.  They know that the effects look dumb and just go with it.  I can't really fault them for that, although it is still a bit silly.  The biggest selling point of the movie is its quirky nature.  In that regard, it will either make you a fan for life or make you just scoff at it.  That's really all I can say about it.  This movie is stupid as hell, but makes me laugh.  That probably says a lot about me, huh?
Next up, the sequel to the film comes ten years later.  Does the addition of Batman and Gomez Adams to the cast make this one a winner?  Stay tuned...


  1. You know...I've never made the effort to watch this one, which will probably surprise people. But...seeing the screen caps here...I think I've made the right decision! Although, I do kinda want to hear "Puberty Love"...

  2. Honestly, if you're on the fence about the whole series, you may want to check out Part 2 that I'm covering today. It's my favorite. More on that later though...

  3. I always hope to like this one more than I do, but it just isnt all that funny. It is awesomely cheesy and stupid, but the only reason I respect it is for existing

  4. I saw this when I was 8- and actually had nightmares about tomatoes coming out of the drain to kill me. I was a weird little goober.

  5. Yes, yes you were.

    Given that you're reading my stuff, it means that you still are. Good for you.