Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

11993From a classic monster film to a classic B-Film. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes released in 1978 is just what you think it is and quite a bit more. A Horror/Comedy/Sci-Fi/Musical that satirizes the B-movies of the era. Shot for around $90,ooo, which I found surprising until I learned that a helicopter crash early in the film actually crashed. The pilot escaped with only minor injuries, but the crash cost the film a whopping $60,000. A full two-thirds of the budget. Written/directed and produced by John DeBello aided by Costa Dillon with writing and Stephen Peace, who also helped produce, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was enough of a success to spawn three sequels and a TV cartoon.

After a number of murders and attacks perpetrated by Tomatoes the Presidents press secretary Jim Richardson (George Wilson) puts together a team to deal with the rising menace. This team is headed my Mason Dixon (David Miller) who is aided the majority of the film by the rest of his team. Two are dispatched to other areas rather quickly except Wilbur Finletter (Stephen Peace). After the press gets hold of this information, they send reporter Louis Fairchild (Sharon Taylor) to investigate the story. Dixon manages to avoid assassination revealing that humans also want to stop Dixon. After the death of one the team members the US sends in the troops in a crippling battle. After the battle Dixon finds a trail of tomato juice and follows it. Leading to a wounded tomato that chases Dixon until he manages to dodge it causing to fly out a window and fall to its death. He notices the assassin from early trying to steal his car leading into the slowest chase scene I may have ever seen. After catching up with the assassin Dixon is knocked out and when he comes to he learns that Richardson is behind the attacks. Before he can reveal how he controls the tomatoes he’s killed by Finletter , who uses a sword. Dixon looks around finding records, including an album with the new hit “Puberty Love” Dixon realizes that the song had played on the radio every time he managed to escape from the tomatoes and has Finletter call everyone to the stadium for one final battle.

Ok, so to enjoy this movie you have to enjoy stupid. Which is fortunate that I do. with lots of silly sight gags and tongue in cheek humor Attack of the Killer Tomatoes really hits the mark. After finally watching it, I can see why Attack of the Killer Tomatoes has maintained such a strong cult following. I found myself often laughing out loud at the humor as bad as it may be.

For a B-movie from the late 70s, the film really looks great. Much better than some other films from the same era. This is due to the filmmakers using negative film stock over the less expensive positive. This allowed for a better quality image, causing many people to think the film cost more than it actually did.

Final thoughts, not scary. Even a little which isn’t surprising, but still was a bit of a let down. The acting was campy and chock full cheesy goodness. But that’s my only complaint, the rest of the film is solid and could easily stand up to multiple viewings. I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to get into B-Movies but doesn’t know where to start or has but has somehow missed this one. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes gets a well earned 8/10.


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