Return of the Killer Tomatoes (1988): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

ROTKTGood God, it’s usually around the fifth movie in a horror series where the writers start poking fun at themselves, not the first sequel. John Astin is a mad professor named Gangreen who is secretly engineering tomatoes to be able to transform in to humans set to various genres of music, and plans to unleash another invasion on the world. Ten years after the events of “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” tomatoes are outlawed and anyone that is found with them is arrested. So naturally the big joke centerpiece of the film is that we follow a young pizza delivery man named Chad who helps operate a pizza place that uses every ingredient except tomato sauce.

Chad, who constantly makes deliveries to Gangreen’s mansion, is in love with his assistant Tara, who happens to be a tomato. When Tara escapes Gangreen’s clutches due to him attempting to kill a fuzzy tomato mutant, Tara seeks Chad’s help. Meanwhile Gangreen goes looking for her with his muscle bound killer tomato commandoes. “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” is one of the very few meta-science fiction comedy spoofs that sometimes don’t even seem to try to tell a story. It’s a movie so tight on budget that there are never actually any rampaging killer tomatoes here. This is more a romantic comedy with a Frankenstein twist involving a killer tomato that can turn in to a hot woman, who begins falling in love with a normal pizza delivery man.

It’s almost like tuning in to watch “Friday the 13th” and only see people talk about Jason Voorhees, and never actually seeing him on screen at any point. “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” spends a lot of time spoofing its own premise that it never actually takes the time out to unfold a narrative. That doesn’t make the film terrible, but it does hinder any efforts director John De Bello has to aspire toward the comedic lengths of “Airplane!” Characters break the fourth wall, co-star George Clooney breaks character, and there’s even a gag involving product placement. It comes out of nowhere and is blatantly tacked on, but it is quite a funny segue, all things considered.

Every cast member works in different wave lengths in the film, with Starke playing his character as goofy as possible, while Clooney is mostly a straight man who tries tongue in cheek comedy every now and then. Astin is nearly loses teeth chewing the scenery, and his comically uneven turn is quite the attraction. “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” could very easily have been an awful film, but its sheer relentless absurdity and embracing of its low budget compensates for the fact that there aren’t really any killer tomatoes in the film.

Along with a reversible slip cover, there’s also a new interview with star Anthony Starke, who discusses his experiences working with George Clooney. True to form, Clooney was a prankster on set, and the pair had a good time partying. There’s a two minute still gallery, the original theatrical trailer, and a thirty second TV Spot. Finally, there’s a brand new audio commentary with writer and director John De Bello who, with host Michael Felsher, discusses his history with the movie series, and how he went about making the film on such a miniscule budget. This is an informative commentary with some fun anecdotes.