‘Return of the Killer Tomatoes (Special Edition)’
(George Clooney, John Astin, Anthony Starke, et al / Blu ray / PG / (1978) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: The killer tomatoes are back! But this time around, they re going to have to contend with late 80s George Clooney and his wicked mullet... Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Nope, it s Return of the Killer Tomatoes!
Blu-ray Verdict: Picking up a couple of years after the original, tomatoes are now banned - which has ruined the pizza industry - and the unseen mad scientist who chalked up those giant killer tomatoes in the first film, Dr. Gangreen (John Astin) is up to his old tricks again, only this time he's using music to make tomatoes into people - and depending on the type of music being played, that determines who/what the tomato becomes!
Playing sexy jazz music produces sexy blond tomato women, playing Salsa music produces Carmen Miranda, playing Church music produces the Pope, playing pop produces either a pre-white Michael Jackson look-a-like or a Don Johnson look-a-like, or if you play rock music, you get big, burly military tomato men!
So, after making ketchup (sorry!) of the original killer tomato attack in the 1978 feature ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes‘, here the tomatoes would show up again being much more of a threat in ‘Return of the Killer Tomatoes‘. It's not just your standard follow-up, but it deliberatively goes up a notch adding its own unique spin to the crazily random formula. Being so absurd, strange and uncanny, it knows that and ambitiously takes every opportunity to poke fun at itself.
From it's silly nature, low-budget origins and blatant product placement the gimmicky material is a satirical delight taking pot-shots with its political and social slant - but these campy, low-brow gags within had too much of a wink-wink attitude to make too much of it. Just sit back, enjoy the spoof onslaught especially on film-making, for that’s what was said back then and it still applies today, trust me!
John Astin relishes the mad genetic scientist role Professor Gangreen with his constantly hysterical animation and grimaces. Anthony Starke and George Clooney (in his most creditable role) are charismatically likable as the pizza-makers taking on Gangreen and the tomato army. A voluptuous Karen M. Waldron is memorable as one Gangreen's perfect creations. Even though it was going for that tatty inept touch with it's charmingly chintzy decors, props and special effects. Still, technically, it was competently staged. Ultimately ridiculous and quirky, but a cartoonish hoot, ‘Return of the Killer Tomatoes (Special Edition)’ is as good a romp today as it ever was.
I mean, sure, the plain cinematography by Stephen Kent Welch and Victor Lou gives this picture a properly chintzy look, but the bouncy score by Rick Patterson and Neal Fox, along with the witty theme song both hit the groovy spot also! Again, and withut sugarcoating it, yes, this flick is incredibly dumb and ridiculous immaterial fluff, but the film's endearingly giddy'n'goofy sense of off-the-wall humor is impossible to either resist or dislike. An absolute gut-buster, if you have that frame of mind attached before heading into it! This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
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