I still don't know why they kept making movies after this. Cinema was over, nothing can top this movie, so why try?

This week I will be taking a look at two movies that are seemingly at ends with one another. Both are horror movies, both have an amazingly low budget and both are sequels, but one manages to take all of it's disadvantages and judo flip them into strengths, and the other just thinks that it is better than it is. One is highly entertaining, the other is almost impossible to watch. Two movies that start at almost the exact same starting line, but take totally different paths to their main goal. Try to figure out which film is which! It's like a game! A game for stupid people!

The first film I will look at is the sequel to 1978's cult classic "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" cleverly entitled, "Return of the Killer Tomatoes". The original was to horror movies what "Airplane!" was to dramas; totally self-aware, shameless, silly, pointless and fun. If you can't remember what it was about, and the title isn't cluing you in, giant tomatoes are terrorizing a town, and can only be stopped by the powers of the worst song ever recorded, Puberty Love. Pretty standard stuff right there.

In "Return", the killer produce is back (duh) and we meet their creator, Doctor Gangreen, played delightfully by John Astin, who is still alive! Dios Mio! I honestly thought he died right after "The New Addams Family". I am being totally serious here, John Astin is one of my favorite, if not my absolute, favorite actor of all time. Look at any project he has worked on, and tell me there is ever a time, one single time, where he does not look like he is thrilled to be on camera, and alive

This is from an event promoting one of the "Lord of the Rings" movies. He is happy to be at an event that is not even for a movie he is in.

Back to plot! Doctor Gomez has discovered a way to turn tomatoes in people somehow, and is planning on raising a werefruit army to take over the world! But there is one man who can stop him (which is good, as if there wasn't, it would be a pretty one sided movie), young Chad Finletter, who, after Doctor Gangreen's love slave/actual slave/tomato (played by the beautiful Karen Mistal) escapes and finds her way to him, takes up arms against the offending plant life and saves the day!

I can hear you now, sitting in your space cubicles in space, trying desperately to breath in the vacuum of Space-office and wondering why you ever took a job that kills 100% of it's biological employees in under a minute and a half. Oh I can hear you, muttering about how you should have sprung for those new cyber lungs, how the extra sweater you are wearing today isn't helping against the chill of absolute zero. Well if you would stop worrying about your own petty problems, I can get on with letting you know why this movie is worth watching, or would be worth watching if you still had eyes, which you won't when the pressure differential between the space around you and the interior of your eyeball becomes so great that your eyes will literally burst from your skull. But you wont mind because the same thing will be happening to all your many nooks and cranies. Well, try to keep it down out there, and if you could lay down a tarp, the space janitor has only a few precious seconds to clean your mess up before the endless void of space claims his life as well.

Being a space temp is hard work, we get it, but this is my soap box, not yours...and you are dead. Moving on.

Like this, but with a tie. And taco Tuesdays.

As I said before, "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" was a very self-aware movie, and "Return" is even more aware. From actors bemoaning the low budget of the film, to the Screen Actors Guild popping up mid scene to inform everyone in the crew that if they speak on film, they are entitled to $400, from the beautiful blond tomato girl describing breakfast as "Toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast waffles and toast", to her toaster fetish, to the film's massive product placement (five years before a similar gag in "Wayne's World"...

And this is a subtle scene.

The whole movie takes itself about as seriously as a movie about killer tomatoes can, which isn't much, and because of that it moves past the point of being a terrible B movie and becomes a...well it is still a terrible B movie, but it is a fun terrible B Movie.

The acting was surprisingly good, with the aforementioned John Astin chewing up any set that he finds himself on. Even the roles that could have been terrible, the ditzy girl, the bumbling henchman, the sex crazed friend, all turned out great. Which makes me wonder why we never heard from more of the cast, especially the friend, I had to look him up on IMDB to see who he was, apparently he has been in a few TV shows (I guess he was in a few episodes of Roseanne, and was a doctor or something) and a movie or two, but he must have fallen on hard times, he had to resort to marrying a Wrestling Lady...

He's the one on the right. I think his name is George something...

I think movies that I like are the hardest reviews to write. I want to put forth the idea that a film is worth the time you would have to take to track it down and watch, and do so while trying to poke fun at it. This is not an easy movie to review not just because I love it (it is one of my new favorites), but because it has already poked fun at itself so much that it is impossible to take it seriously. In the end, all I can say is that it is a funny, silly, totally pointless film about tomatoes turning into humans and that really is all it is about. This is a movie without a hidden agenda, without a reason, without a goal; it is like a friend you comes over just to hang out, and like that friend it will eat all your pizza and leave the bathroom a mess. I feel like I lost that comparison somewhere...

Anywho, obviously the movie did well, as it spawned an early 90's animated series, like every other non-kid related property from the 80's. Seriously, there is a post in there somewhere. Who thought that Killer Tomatoes, Little Shop of Horrors, Beetlejuice, Bill and Ted, Back to the Future, Rambo, Godzilla, the Toxic Avenger, or Tales from the Crypt would make decent cartoons? Who in their right mind thought that?

The 90's thought that. That's who.

This is just part of this week's review. I will go into a different movie in a day or two, just to contrast how a cheaply made horror movie can be a different animal altogether when the filmmakers lack critical self-awareness and a sense of humor.

Til then, enjoy this!

Oh I am just getting started homeboy...

And I'm spent.

Rating A

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