Return of the Killer Tomatoes (Blu-ray)

August 3, 2016 6 Min Read

Review by: Jake Keet

Plot: What’s it about?

Arrow Video recently sent me a copy of Return of the Killer Tomatoes. I had never seen any of the killer tomato movies, but I did remember watching the kid’s television series that ran on Saturday mornings when I was about seven years old. Essentially, whenever Arrow sends me another release, I am pretty excited to see it because their catalog of cult films tends to deliver the goods when it comes to entertainment that is off the beaten path. I had a feeling that if they were going to send me a relatively obscure sequel to a cult film, they probably had a good reason. The only other thing that I knew about this release was that it had a big supporting role for a famous actor named George Clooney.

The movie takes place after the great tomato rebellion of the first film. Tomatoes and tomato sauce are completely banned. This has left pizza places serving pizzas that are made with jellies and peanut butter. Professor Gangreen (the fantastic John Astin of Addams Family fame) has developed a way of transforming tomatoes into human beings. He has a yuppie assistant named Igor (Steve Lundquist) and a beautiful assistant named Tara (Karen Waldron)- both formerly tomatoes. His plan is to raise a tomato army and take over the world, but when Tara sees him mistreat an oddball tomato, she runs away from his castle. She runs directly into the arms of mild mannered dorky pizza boy Chad (Anthony Starke) and his friend Matt (George Clooney.) Slowly they come to realize that she is a tomato.

If you read my previous paragraph, it is pretty obvious that this movie is insanely idiotic and just insane. If you can get past that, there is a lot of fun to be had here. The jokes are all tongue in cheek and I was surprised at how funny the film really was. It is pretty edgy for a PG rated film and a good reminder of how much more adult the themes of PG rated films were in the eighties. The movie may not make it to the very top of the list of the best comedies ever made, but I thought it was a pretty pleasant way to spend an hour and a half. There are a few jokes in particular that really land, especially anytime the film references exactly how low budget the film is and how idiotic the writing is. It’s self-deprecating humor helps the loose feel of the film and makes it all work surprisingly well.

Video: How’s it look?

Arrow Video did a very solid job on the transfer of the film using an MPEG 4 AVC codec of a new 2K restoration. The transfer looks good overall, with very few scenes suffering any issue whatsoever. This is similar in look and feel to the transfer they performed on Society, and unlike some other reviewers I checked out, I thought the image quality was pretty spot-on. It may not win any awards, but I appreciate all the due diligence from Arrow.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The audio treatment of Return of Tomatoes was pretty good. Arrow has presented a LPCM 2.0 mono track that may not blow any systems away, but fidelity to the source material is excellent. I had no problem with this track, as the dialogue was clear throughout the whole film.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Audio Commentary – director John De Bello talks about his involvement with the Killer Tomatoes film series with host Michael Felsher. This track is pretty interesting with him explaining that the studio actually requested he not “make it look too good” since the studio was worried that it would take away from the first film’s low-key charm. Fun stuff.
  • Hangin’ with Chad – an interview with Anthony Starke where he still seems dumbstruck by the fact that he worked with Clooney. Pretty funny.
  • Stills Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer 
  • TV Spot

The Bottom Line

Return of the Killer Tomatoes is good campy fun that doesn’t for a second take itself too seriously. I enjoyed it, even if a few of the jokes don’t quite land. At the end of the day, if you are considering this purchase, and you know who you are, then you should probably just go ahead and buy it. It looks and sounds the best it will probably ever look and sound. Arrow Video have included some fun and informative  special features to finish out a pretty attractive package. Recommended.

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