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Cult Cinema

FanTRASHtique #3 – Revisiting John De Bello’s Cult Spoof Shocker ‘RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES’

When our Editor suggested Return of the Killer Tomatoes with the crucial information that it features George Clooney, you can probably imagine how I may have been slightly sceptical. None the less, I acquired the film (with non-optional swedish subtitles I may add) and here we are for FanTRASHtique #3. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at first. I didn’t think it’d be awful, awful considering the idea is clearly tongue-in-cheek, or at least one would assume. It’s hard to imagine anyone would make a film about vengeful tomatoes in a serious context, apart from maybe Uwe Boll or Tommy Wiseau (I hope I haven’t given anyone ideas). Talking of Uwe Boll have you seen our interview with him over here? Certainly worth a read.

Right. Ever since the great tomato war, (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes) tomatoes have been banned. Thus pizza-boy Chad Finletter (Anthony Stark) has to be more creative with his choice of sauce. On a delivery, he meets a curious lady known as Tara. She works with the evil Dr. Gangreen who’s currently attempting to do…something with tomatoes? And he can seemingly turn them into Rambo, Michael Jackson…and numerous other people? Tara runs away after the good doctor mistreats a harmless fluffy mutant tomato, running into the arms of Chad, then they have all of the sex and toast. Meanwhile Matt Stevens (GEORGE CLOONEY) stands around looking pretty, and nodding in approval. The film runs out of budget, and resorts to clear product placement after an awkward confrontation with someone from the screenactor’s guild. Some stuff happens. Evil scientist is thwarted, Tara is no longer a tomato (Yeah, don’t ask) and…George Clooney went on to be incredibly successful. THE END.

Well, obviously it sounds ridiculous, and it clearly is, but it works. It’s constantly self-referencing, breaking the 4th wall, and poking fun at itself and that’s why Return of the Killer Tomatoes is actually quite amusing. It’s random, irreverent and ever so slightly witty, and with some rather humorous visual humour it somehow glues together. It’s not quite on the level of uproarious Street Trash laughter,  but that’s different. Street Trash teetered from comical, to hideously morbid in five seconds which actually lead to quite a jilting experience. Return of the Killer Tomatoes is a consistently funny film, it lives and breathes that b-movie (or more accurately e or f-movie) mantra and is happy to just laugh itself off. This particular scene had me in stitches.

Also, it’s legitimately the first film featured on FanTRASHtique where the acting isn’t completely dreadful. I mean sure, there’s still not going to be any awards given out, but Return of the Killer Tomatoes is fine in that regard because it’s happy to be a low-budget, trashy, throw-away b-movie. Ironically, that’s why it feels a lot better than what it’s trying to be. It feels like a real cult satire film, and the humour in the script is quite ripe, if you’ll pardon the pun. I suppose it earns some more points for the fact it doesn’t earn its entertainment factor or laughs out of horrible, cheesy effects like most b-movies. In fact, the whole tomato thing isn’t even really relevant.

Verdict: Return of The Killer Tomatoes is certified FanTRASHtique. It’s a film with a genuine intent to entertain, and manages to be really quite funny on little-to-no budget. I had a great time with RTKT to my complete surprise.

So that’s all for now. I honestly recommend Return of the Killer Tomatoes if you’re up for some light hearted and trashy fun. Until next time. And don’t forget, you can follow us over on Twitter @FanTRASHtique where we warmly appreciate your recommendations for future reviews.


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