Like sharks and gremlins, tomatoes have a grudge against humans. We have harvested, processed and eaten them by the bushel. The result, KILLER TOMATOES STRIKE BACK, is congenial but seldom inventive and incomplete either as spoof or on its its own terms.
A screaming vixen in a negligee flees through ominous nighttime woods, prey for a pursuer in a hockey uniform, wielding a huge game stick and wearing a face mask synonymous with movie evil. She stumbles. Doomed. Then, as she laughs at Jason in relief--"I thought you were a killer tomato!"--a
horde of the vicious vegetables rev up their chainsaws.
Detective Lance Boyle (Rick Rockwell) is awakened and summoned to the grisly scene of the double homicide. Enter "tomatologist" Dr. Kennedy Johnson (Crystal Carson) who quickly deduces that the carnage is the work of killer to-MAH-toes. Boyle retrieves a costume moustache from the bushes,
speckled with tomato juice, incriminating Jeronohew (John Astin), alias Professor Gangreen, the aggrieved "Lord of Tabloid TV." (He hosts the hit show "Talk of the Town" in a wig and moustache.) Gangreen, who exults in the power of bad television (why else buy a half hour of Bulgarian TV time?)
has publicly asserted that the myth of killer tomatoes is fed by an irrational fear of red vegetables.
Boyle is given a load of murder cases in which tomatoes are the chief suspects, but insists that the solution doesn't have anything to do with vegetables. Meanwhile, Gangreen attempts to eliminate his enemies. On Media Appreciation Day, he lures a group of reporters into the "food pavilion," in
reality a rental truck, and kidnaps them to further his plan of global domination.
In a PSYCHO-esque shower scene, set to the indelible JAWS theme, Johnson is assaulted by a tomato. She triumphs--juice down the drain--and calls the police. When Boyle arrives, she mistakes his red paddle ball--glimpsed in the peephole--for another deadly tomato. Boyle is eventually convinced
that the tomatoes are a menace. One result is romance with Johnson. After an abbreviated visit--he has been assigned as 24-hour guard--he returns for his shoes. The to-MAH-tologist is besieged by two tomatoes Gangreen has dropped down the air shaft, but they are pureed thanks to Boyle and a golf
iron. Undeterred, Gangreen robs a bank and takes a paranoid Pee Wee Herman clone hostage. Captain Finlater sends Boyle to the FVI (Federal Vegetable Investigators).
Johnson and Boyle visit a bar patronized by tomatoes. Boyle orders a Bloody Mary, to the great disdain of every tomato in the joint. The head tomato cryptically tells them to "follow the stars." This is a slogan on a CBS (Camp Broadcasting School) bus advertisement. Boyle and Johnson check into
the CBS hotel as "Mr. and Mrs. Goodwrench." Upstairs, Gangreen grills a captured cop, proclaiming, "It's time for a worldwide attitude adjustment," and torturing him with the Universal Home Shopping Network. The lovers are attacked by ninja tomatoes. Johnson is captured. Boyle stalks into
Gangreen's tomato temple where the grand ceremony inaugurating his evil empire is about to begin, with Johnson awaiting sacrifice atop a crisp bed of lettuce.
If you've seen one high camp movie, perhaps you've seen them all. Manic humor; sight gags; runaway spoofery of movies and customs. Eventually, it all wears rather thin; the story becomes too complex to sustain such two-note antics. KILLER TOMATOES STRIKE BACK is better than some, but runs out of
juice when it should have ladled on the sauce.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: NR
- Review: Like sharks and gremlins, tomatoes have a grudge against humans. We have harvested, processed and eaten them by the bushel. The result, KILLER TOMATOES STRIKE BACK, is congenial but seldom inventive and incomplete either as spoof or on its its own terms.… (more)