Monday, May 3, 2010

Killer Tomatoes: How Could I Have Missed This Classic?

"Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!" (1978)
IMDB (Internet Movie Database)

"A group of scientists band together to save the world from mutated tomatoes that KILL!..."

Movies which are, for one reason or another, genuinely awful are not all that uncommon. What's rare is a motion picture whose director, writer, and actors have gone out of their way to make their effort memorably cringe-worthy.

"Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!" is one of those movies.

The basic plot, mutant monsters threaten and a military/science team react, had arguably been mined out by 1978. What makes "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!" stand out is what director John De Bello and writers - who bravely let their names be associated with this film - did with that hackneyed story line. Their crack team included: "...a lieutenant who never goes anywhere without his parachute, an underwater expert who's never out of his scuba gear, and a master of disguise who conceals his appearance by dressing as a black Adolf Hitler."

I wouldn't put it past Hollywood writers to create characters like that: while assuming that they were creating a trenchant drama about contemporary issues. Judging from everything I've read about "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!," I think the folks who put this romp together knew what they were doing.

Sadly, although I've seen cinematographic works such as "Citizen Kane," "2001: A Space Odyssey," And "Snow White and the Three Stooges," I have not viewed "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." This filmic exploration of the dark side of horticulture came up yesterday in a conversation with my oldest daughter, about rabbit viral hemorrhagic disease: reminding me of a gap in my cultural education.

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