BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Picture it. Two men are sitting across from each other at a table in a diner. Their conversation is quick and intense. One is a very panicked Anthony Starke (best known for his role as the third-person speaking Jimmy in the Seinfeld episode “The Jimmy”) and the other is a mullet-sporting George Clooney. Let that name sink in for a bit. George Clooney. Clooney is calm and not at all phased by the insanity of Starke’s very attractive girlfriend actually being a tomato. She cooks. She cleans. What’s the problem? He shrugs it off. They lean in as the conversation gets heated. Suddenly, an unidentified hand places a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in front of them, obscuring their faces by the white box. Their conversation continues while the camera slowly zooms in on the cereal box. Obvious and intentional product placement. Hilarious, right?
It is moments like the one above that keeps people flocking toward John De Bello’s Return of the Killer Tomatoes rather than away from it. Celebrating a new 2K restoration from the original film elements, the film – released on blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video – has never looked better. Yes, those crazy killer tomatoes are back! Return of the Killer Tomatoes carries a sense of ridiculousness throughout its exploits that serves it well. Appearing 10 years after the original attack, it is a comedy in the similar style of Airplane! and The Naked Gun and, as it has amassed a huge cult following in the years since its original release, the deluxe treatment it is granted with Arrow Video’s release is sure to please fans.
Co-starring The Addams Family’s John Astin as Professor Gangreen, the movie is completely off its rocker. And I mean that in the best way possible. It makes no apologies for the insanity and low-budget thrills it throws at the audience. From the fake opening title sequence (called Big Breasted Girls Go To The Beach And Take Their Tops Off) to the only stuffed tomato in cinema history, Return of the Killer Tomatoes is all about its own antics. Nothing is sacred.
The film breaks the fourth wall several times, ultimately, breaking down as the crew informs the cast that they have run out of money and open the floor for ideas on how to continue. The plot – you know, about the return of those music-hating veggies – is self-referential, and, as it features cameos from the original heroes of the first film, a satisfactory continuation of the original flick. While it may the first of several sequels to the 1978 horror comedy that started the whole killer rolling vegetable thing, it certainly is the best of the bunch. Co-starring Karen Waldron and former Olympic gold medalist Steve Lundquist as Igor, Return of the Killer Tomatoes is an absolute blast that – while largely played straight – NEVER takes itself seriously.
The intelligence from this flick comes in just how far the writers and actors are willing to go in shaming itself, the genre, and, well, anyone involved in the shoot. I’m sure the hilarity on the screen echoed behind the scenes as well. Starke confesses that he and Clooney had a great time adlibbing several scenes that are just too damn hilarious (and seemingly spur of the moment) to have been planned. Everything works. It shouldn’t but it does.
Return of the Killer Tomatoes is one of the better examples of meta filmmaking. It is also pretty damn hilarious. I dig it. You dig it? Let's dig a garden and grow some of our own.
MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: John De Bello
Writer: Stephen Andrich
Cast: Anthony Starke, George Clooney, Karen M. Waldron
Genre: Comedy | Horror
Tagline: They were out for blood, and rotten to the core. Now they're back ...
Memorable Movie Quote: "My tomatoes can be made to look like anyone. A police chief, a congress man... the president himself! We... will... not... fail... AGAIN!"
Distributor: New World Pictures
Official Site: http://killertomatoes.com/
Release Date: April 22, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: June 28, 2016
Synopsis: Crazy old Professor Gangreen has developed a way to make tomatoes look human for a second invasion.
Available on Blu-ray - June 28, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD-50)
Region Encoding: A
Arrow Video continues to lead the way when it comes to the releases of obscure films on blu-ray. The 2K scan is solid, offering a clean look at the movie that most probably never spent more than $10 on its production values. Sure, it’s all cheap-looking but the killer tomatoes in the movie have never looked this fresh. Colors are strong and black levels solid. The film doesn’t visually pop but it does have a nice sheen in its new coat of paint. The original stereo audio (uncompressed on the blu-ray) is a definite step in the right direction.
- The brand new audio commentary with writer-director John De Bello is a hilarious treat for the film’s fans. Lots of stories involved in this one.
The brand new interview with the film’s leading man, Anthony Starke, is the highlight here. It’s almost 20-minutes in length and covers the film and some frank talk about some of the behind-the-scenes antics. The film’s trailer is included, too. With an image gallery and a tv spot also included, fans will probably most be interested to see the newly commissioned reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin. A fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver is also included with the purchase.
- Hanging with Chad (17 mins)
- Image Gallery
- TV Spot
- Original Theatrical Trailer