Friday, September 6, 2013

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

Seen: On dvd on my tv, rented from Hollywood Express.

I believe it was Lyzette and Andreas who were talking about this movie on twitter a little while ago, and it just sounded so right for me. It took a while but I finally tracked down a copy and treated myself to some goofiness, totally expected from a film called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! The zany plot tracks the events surrounding an unexplained uprising of mutant tomatoes who take to murdering American civilians. The government puts together a sloppy team to handle the problem, and various shenanigans ensue. As the tomatoes grow ever-larger and more homicidal, the military is called in. Also there's a sneaky reporter lady. And musical numbers. Just a few.

Well well well. When a movie includes things as silly as sentient (and mobile) tomatoes and musical numbers about advertising, it's bound to incite warm feelings within me. I love silly movies, it's true! And the abundance of weird sight gags- from a man unconvincingly disguising himself as a tomato to infiltrate their ranks, to a conference room slightly too small to fit a group of gruff military officers- makes Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! stand out for more than just its memorable title. It's a zany concept executed in an appropriately zany manner, incorporating stop motion animation, weird sound effects, and terrible acting to really hammer in that low budget b-movie vibe.

The thing is, though, sometimes it's TOO b-movie, you know? Like, the ideas are funny and interesting but there isn't enough to actually make a whole narrative, so there are all these non sequiturs and loosely strung together subplots that don't quite work. It's pretty hit and miss overall, with a lot of the sight gags and silly characters winning me over but a lot of filler scenes totally losing my interest. Overall it's mostly good parts adding up to a less-than-satisfying whole. I guess I also had pretty high expectations because the concept of the movie was so great, so that's on me.


Pair This Movie With: Oh I guess the most obvious and also the most awesome suggestion is Little Shop of Horrors (Director's Cut OBVIOUSLY) for more murderous vegetation and musical numbers.