Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Phil's Halloween Horror Watch: RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (1988) from Arrow Video - October 9, 2018

Starring Anthony Starke, George Clooney, Karen M. Waldron (as Karen Mistal), John Astin, Steve Lundquist, Costa Dillon, J. Stephen Peace
Written by John De Bello, Stephen Andrich, Costa Dillon, J. Stephen Peace
Cinematography by Victor Lou, Stephen Kent Welch
Edited by John De Bello, Stephen Andrich
Produced by Lowell D. Blank, J. Stephen Peace
Directed by John De Bello
Originally released by New World Pictures
Released by Arrow Video

Welcome back to another thrilling installment of Phil's Halloween Horror Watch! After watching yesterday's mean and nasty film THE UNSEEN, I wanted to watch a more light hearted horror film. A horror comedy, maybe? Yes! So for Day Nine, I decided to watch the hilariously brilliant horror comedy that's a sequel to one of the greatest cult classics of all time! And it only took 10 years to finally getting around to making it! Go figure? Anyway, I went back to 1988 and watched my favorite entry of this legendary series entitled RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES!

The film's official synopsis: The killer tomatoes are back! But this time around, they’re going to have to contend with late ’80s George Clooney and his wicked mullet… Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Nope, it’s RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES! Ten years on from the Great Tomato War, mankind lives in fear of another uprising by the waxy red menace. Meanwhile, Professor Gangreen – played with gusto by the great John Astin from TV’s The Addams Family – sets out to pursue his own evil ends by creating a burgeoning army of tomato militia men (who, somewhat conveniently, look just like regular men).

This movie is a laugh riot! In the same vein as AIRPLANE and THE NAKED GUN, the film is chock full of random humor, over-the-top cheesy acting, hilarious fourth wall breaking, brilliant self awareness, and the ridiculously humorous product placement running gag!! John De Bello, Stephen Andrich, Costa Dillon, J. Stephen Peace deserve eminence praise for making such a clever and hysterically batshit crazy movie that still speaks to my inner thirteen year old! The jokes still hold up, the cinematography looks even better than ever, and it's just a silly, funny, and entertaining film!

Original Theatrical Poster (1988)
The actors are all amazing! Anthony Starke's crazy and frantic Chad Finletter plays off well with the George Clooney's straight and suave ladies man Matt Stevens. Iconic actor John Astin's performance as Professor Gangreen is what a scientific madman should look and act like! And then there's the girl of my dreams: Karen Mistal. Good lord did I have a mad crush on this woman! She starred in another cult classic called CANNIBAL WOMEN IN THE AVOCADO JUNGLE OF DEATH and appeared in a number of television shows like The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, Coach, Baywatch, and Men Behaving Badly. Her last credit was on an episode of Dragnet as the character Laura Canrinus. Now known as Karen M. Waldron, she's co-produced the TV movies At the Hands of Another, Inside the Circle, The Note and the TV series The Clinic.

The film was released to theaters by New World Pictures on April 22, 1988. The company was actually founded by the legendary Roger Corman back in 1970 and was sold in 1983. The film grossed $5 million at the boxoffice. This fan found it at his local video store and rented it repeatedly until I bought it. Anchor Bay Entertainment released the movie on DVD several times before Arrow Video gained the rights and released it in June of 2016 on a High Definition Blu-ray.

The Blu-Ray comes with some cool special features: Brand new audio commentary with writer-director John De Bello, Brand new interview with star Anthony Starke, Original Theatrical Trailer, Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin, and a Fully-illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing by critic James Oliver.

RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES is a horror comedy cult classic that will tickle your funny bone till milk come out of your nose!! It's far and away superior than the original, and it has the beautiful Karen Mistal and George Clooney and his wicked mullet!! Oh, and it's freaking funny too! So grab some friends and make it a night-in as you all watch this totally hysterical and wickedly smart film!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES is available on Blu-Ray from Arrow Video. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit the Diabolik DVD website at www.diabolikdvd.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the horror!

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