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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (Blu-ray)
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (Blu-ray)
MVD Entertainment Group // PG // January 23, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Oktay Ege Kozak | posted February 24, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes never really works as a feature comedy that's funny, smart, and creative enough to hang onto our attention, even for its relatively short runtime. A lot of the jokes, especially ones that reference 70s pop culture that might not mean anything for today's audience, fall flat, are too obvious, and lack expert timing that could sell its silly concept. However, its tenacity in upstaging itself at every turn in regards to how downright stupid and absurd it can stretch itself into deserves some kind of praise. What kind, I have no idea, but any group of filmmakers who would be willing to take a chance on a movie that has this much anarchic fun on its own expense has to have some place in film history.

And that's what exactly happened to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, it gradually and predictably turned into a cult film that spawned a bunch of equally dumb sequels (Return of the Killer Tomatoes is a personal guilty pleasure). The first film has the roughest production value, with cheap production design, questionable acting choices, and terrible special effects. Of course that's part of the charm, especially when it comes to bringing to life the titular murderous tomatoes that wreak havoc across the world, which mostly consists of the crew throwing the vegetable (Or fruit, as described in the movie during an un-PC crack that would never see the light of day today) at unsuspecting cast members while the soundtrack drones on with "evil tomato giggle" that sounds like a heated political argument sped up to incoherence.

There's a semblance of a plot here, with a group of secret agents trying to destroy the tomato menace, but it's used as an excuse to lay one silly sketch after the other. I don't see much value, apart from cultural research, that new audiences would get out of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, since the kind of wanton absurdity it inspired has gone to much more irreverent lengths since its release. Take one look at a random show on Adult Swim, and you'll trace the origins of the humor back to this cult classic.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

That being said, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is the kind of comedy that already has its core fan base that neither grows or diminishes. Either you're really into it, or it's a waste of time. For those who are fans, good news come in the form of this newly restored 1080p transfer being the best the film has ever looked. I watched various home video versions in the past, from VHS to DVD, and it always looked blurry and faded. This transfer is sharp, crisp, and colorful, with some minor scratches. Of course this also brings out the cheapness of the production, but I have a feeling that fans don't care about that.

Audio:

My pet peeve with mono presentations is when they're expanded to two channels, instead of my preferred center channel only, 1.0 deal. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes showcases that issue, but otherwise, the LPCM 2.0 track finds a nice balance between dialogue and sound effects, as well as a pretty impressive dynamic range during musical sequences.

Extras:

Legacy of a Legend: An old featurette about the making of the film.

Crash and Burn: A quick clip about the helicopter crash that actually ended up in the final cut.

Super Duper 8 Prequels: This will surely be a treat for die-hard fans, as we get to see the original 8mm tomatoes movie, as well as another short from the same crew. The tomatoes short gets an optional commentary.

Famous Fowl: It's the kind of interview you'd expect being connected to this movie. The San Diego Chicken mascot who appears in the background in the film is interviewed. In costume, of course.

Deleted Scenes: The feature itself consists of at least 15 minutes that should have been deleted, so click on this one at your own risk. The commentary from the director is a bit of a plus.

Killer Tomatomania: A silly old clip about the "killer tomato" going to Hollywood.

Where Are They Now?: Want to find out what the cast is doing years after the movie came out?

We Told You So: The filmmakers warn us about the possibly reality of a tomato attack, thanks to those pesky GMOs.

Sing Along: The various songs from the movie (Yes, it's also a musical!) with sing along subtitles.

Slated for Success: I can't believe I'm writing this, but this is a short clip about the slate clapper who worked on the film.

Commentary: Director John De Bello is joined by his co-writer and producer for a surprisingly intimate dissection of the production.

We also get a Trailer and some Radio Spots. The package also comes with a DVD copy and a nifty mini-poster.

Final Thoughts:

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is nowhere near as memorable or successful as other absurdist comedies from the 70s, like Airplane. But it definitely has a place in the genre's history as one of the first American films that dared to be as intentionally bonkers and random as it is. Even though the Blu-ray doesn't offer many new extras, the clarity of the transfer is more than enough for fans to purchase it.

Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com

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