Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)

attack of the killer tomatoes poster 1978 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 5/10

Actually quality visuals, semi smart writing, intentionally bad acting

The parody will go over most viewers heads

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

Studio: Four Square Productions

Genre(s): Comedy/Horror/B-Movies

Release Date(s): October 8, 1978

MPAA Rating: PG

attack of the killer tomatoes jaws parody

There’s no where to run…there’s no where to hide…they will find you!

Mysterious deaths are popping up around the United States, and the horror could be growing in the garden.  As the government tries to keep the rise of murderous tomatoes under wraps, Mason Dixon (David Miller) is assigned to investigate the strange rise of the tomatoes and what possibly caused it.  Reporter Lois Fairchild (Sharon Taylor) makes a connection with the growing number of deaths and tries to discover what the government is trying to hide…meanwhile, the tomatoes are growing restless and the danger is literally growing.

Written and directed by John DeBello (with additional writing by Costa Dillon and Stephen Peace), Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is a B-Movie horror comedy musical spoof.  The film was met with negative reviews but gained cult classic status.

attack of the killer tomatoes master of diguise

He blends right in…

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! was one of those movies that seemed to be shoehorned into empty spots on UHF stations in the middle of the night.  It was one of those cheap movies that was both goofy but also kind of smart in its presentation.  The concept, the writing, and the delivery of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! deserves praise even if the movie doesn’t quite hit the target.

The movie is firing on all cylinders.  Nothing is safe, but that is maybe part of the problem with the film.  It parodies everything from news, to spy films, to Jaws, to Superman, and to low-budget late-night TV.  It has so many targets that the movie kind of loses focus in that sense.  You throw in musical numbers and the movie just becomes hard to categorize and in a sense limits its already limited audience.

The cast is intentionally lowbrow.  The movie plays with the idea of B-Movies and seems to go out of the way to cast actors who overact every scene (which kind of falls back on the actors who might actually be intentionally overacting every scene to emphasis the humor…or they might just be bad actors).  It works well with the script including intentionally dubbed characters, but it has to hit the right audience notch to succeed.

attack of the killer tomatoes ending san diego chicken

They can take our land…but they can never take our FREEDOM!!!!

The weird thing about Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is that it actually looks pretty good.  It was shot on a high stock of film and it utilizes the goofiness of the story to the max.  The parodies are pretty spot on and scenes like the incredibly small conference room work.  The helicopter crash wasn’t intentional, and it ended up being a huge chunk of the budget because of the cost.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! not only gained a cult audience, but it spawned a franchise.  The title alone leads to laughs (I imagine especially for younger viewers who didn’t “grow up” with it).  The series lead to a cartoon series and multiple sequels.  Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! was followed by Return of the Killer Tomatoes in 1988.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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