So in 1978, a low budget movie came out that would end up becoming a cult classic. Ten years later, someone decided that it would be a good idea to make a sequel to that movie. I remember watching this movie once on USA Up All Night but to be honest, the main reason I remember this movie is because it was really the basis for the cartoon, more so than the original movie. So let me introduce you to Return Of The Killer Tomatoes.
The plot: A cheezy TV show is promoting their pot of gold jackpot, worth $9. 22, while they show Return Of The Killer Tomatoes during their $1 movie show. At first, a different movie titled Big Breasted Girls Go To The Beach And Take Their Tops Off, starts playing but, since they already showed it three times last week, they switch it out for the real movie. In the secret lab of Professor Mortimer Gangreen, the mad scientist that created the killer tomatoes, is at experimenting, using music to transform tomatoes into people and back again. Meanwhile, after the Great Tomato War, Wilbur Finletter has opened a pizzeria which specializes in tomato-less pizzas, as the fruits have been outlawed in the U.S. Finletter’s nephew, Chad, works at the shop as a delivery boy and routinely makes deliveries to Professor Gangreen’s place, where he is infatuated with a girl named Tara that lives there. When he returns to the pizzeria, he talks with his friend and roommate Matt, but when the subject turns to tomatoes, Finletter begins to reminisce about what happened (during which a phone call is taken by the TV show, with the caller complaining questioning if this is a new movie due to all the scenes from the old movie). Back at Gangreen’s, Gangreen is commenting about how he was defeated last time and then has his assistant Igor follow him to the lab, where he discovers a mutant, fuzzy tomato and has Igor get rid of it. Tara, having been yelled at by Gangreen earlier, retrieves the fuzzy tomato, which she names FT, and runs away from the house. She goes to the pizzeria to see Chad and ends up going back to his apartment. The next day, Chad believes it is was all a dream until Matt confirms that Tara is there. Matt believes Tara is the perfect woman but Chad thinks there is something strange about it, as shown by her showering with fertilizer. Gangreen realizes that Tara is missing and sends Igor to look for her, as well as go to see Jim Richardson, the former White House Press Secretary, and let him know their plan. Chad and Tara spend the day together but when they are in a natural food market, they notice a tomato smuggler selling tomatoes to the owner in the back. Chad feels like they should call the police but Tara argues with him against it. Later that night, they go out to eat and when Chad comments that tomatoes are evil and should be squashed, Tara, unknowingly causes some water to spill on Chad. While he is in the restroom, a violinist begins to play, causing Tara to turn into a tomato. The restaurant patrons all flee but when a clock starts chiming, Tara transforms back into a human and leaves with Chad, unaware that they are being observed by Igor, who starts to chase after them but ends up crashing his garbage truck. The next day, while Tara is cooking breakfast, Matt is complaining to Chad how Tara won’t let him play music on his stereo. Suddenly, FT, who was on the window ledge, is accidentally knocked off the ledge and, after being bounced around for a bit, lands in front of a shop window. When someone spots FT, a crowd of people swarm it and try to kill it but Tara grabs him and runs off with Matt and Chad right behind her. Back at the apartment, Chad and Tara begin to argue about FT when they are stopped by the movie’s director, who informs them that the movie is being cancelled due to a lack of money. Matt suggest that they use product placement to help fund the movie. At Finletter’s Pizza, Sam Smith arrives but Finletter, believing Sam to be Moammar Gadhafi, starts to fight with him, which leads to a massive brawl in the restaurant. After Chad clears everyone out, Sam tells them that he is investigating tomato activity in the area. Chad notices Igor in his garbage truck and follows him, where he sees Igor collecting toxic waste before heading back to Gangreen’s place. Spying a hole in the wall, Chad is able to look into Gangreen’s lab, where he witnesses Gangreen turning a tomato into a soldier. Chad returns to his apartment, where he finds Tara eating plant food, but when Tara runs from the apartment, she is captured by Igor. Chad and Matt go looking for her, and end up at the natural food store, where they find the owner’s stash of tomatoes. As Chad despairs about finding Tara, he sees the smuggler trying to sell FT and a tomato to the owner so he grabs them and runs out of the store. Realizing he can turn Tara back at Gangreen’s lab, he and Matt sneak in to the lab and try to use his equipment to transform the tomato back into Tara, but though they change it into various humans, it never turns into Tara. Gangreen catches them and then squashes the tomato in front of them then locks them into dungeon. Inside the dungeon, they find Tara, who apologizes for keeping her secret from Chad, but as they try to figure out how to escape, they hear FT outside the door and give him a note to take to Finletter. After FT gives Finletter the note, he summons his friends Sam Smith and Greg Colburn and they head to the lab. Meanwhile, Gangreen places Chad and Matt in the machine which will turn them into tomatoes while he heads to the prison with Igor and Tara to release Jim Richardson. While FT distracts the guards, Finletter and the others make it to the laboratory and rescue Chad and Matt, then head to the prison to stop Gangreen. At the prison, Gangreen uses an army of tomato men to storm the prison and free Richardson. When Chad and the others get there, they find themselves facing the tomato soldiers but before they fire, FT turns out the lights as the two sides begin trading gunfire. When the lights are turned back on, Chad and the others are ok while the tomato soldiers have all been killed. Tara breaks free from Igor, who chases after her followed by Gangreen. While Chad and Matt go after them, Finletter, Sam, and Greg go after Richardson and capture him. Igor catches Tara and by the time Chad and Matt reach them, they have her placed in the gas chamber. Igor uses a hand grenade to hold Chad and Matt at bay when suddenly, the phone starts ringing. Gangreen answers it, which turns out to be the TV host, and when he says the secret word, balloons and streamers begin dropping from the ceiling. Finletter and the others arrive and use the distraction to grapple with Gangreen and Igor. During the commotion, Igor drops the grenade, which FT jumps on to try and save everyone, while Gangreen manages to flip the switch for the gas chamber. Chad believes Tara has been killed but when they open the chamber, they find Tara is still alive. Gangreen attempts to use his radio to turn Tara back into a tomato, but the gas has made it where she will permanently be a human. While a celebration is held for Finletter, Sam, Greg, and FT, Chad and Tara decide to drive off together. Meanwhile Matt, who was supposedly going to destroy Gangreen’s equipement, he actually used it to make some more tomato girls and heads to the beach with them. As the credit’s end, you can hear a commotion coming from the TV studio and when the camera’s come back up, it shows that some giant carrots have killed the people in the studio and declared that there will be no movie tomorrow.
This was a funny movie but it unfortunately fell under the sequel curse of not being as good as the original. The acting was ok, with John Astin doing a great job as the mad scientist Gangreen. The story was funny but I think the whole breaking the fourth wall but was a little much. There wasn’t much in the way of special effect and the movie honestly felt like it was a way to intriduce Gangreen, Igor, and FT, as they would be recurring characters in the following sequels. A funny movie, but not necessarily a good one.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5