Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978) - John DeBello

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (50)

Dated but funny comedy/horror.

Director

John DeBello

Producer

John DeBello
Stephen Peace

Writer

John DeBello
Costa Dillon
Stephen Peace

Starring

David Miller
George Wilson
Costa Dillon

Studio

NAI Entertainment

Release date

October 20, 1978

Country

United States

Budget

$100,000

Box office

$567,000

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is a bizarre sci-fi horror film from director John De Bello. It’s a satire of the old giant monster movies of the 1950’s and it predates Airplane! by two years. Its an absurdist feature. That has some insane twists in direction. It was such a cult hit; it spawned an entire franchise. I hadn’t seen this film before but I was very familiar with the Saturday morning cartoon. 

Tomatoes are attacking humans. That’s right, Tomatoes. They’ve become sentient and have hunted and killed human beings. ATE THEM! Our government sends their super agent Mason Dixon, along with a crack team to help stamp out this veggie menace sweeping the world. The whole thing comes to a head with a giant showdown between man and produce.

Tomatoes had a budget of less than 100 thousand dollars. The filmmakers had rented a vintage Hiller UH-12E, and it had crashed. Everyone escaped practically untouched. But most of the allocation had gone to that. In fact, some of the most effective scenes stem from that tightness. It’s like the humor just festered in that cheap of an environment. Due to the tightness of their wallets most of the actual action happens off camera and the horror is just implied. But the elements were there. Tomatoes flew from here and there, attacking helpless humans on foot and car, air and water. 

The intro to this picture sets the scene. A woman is attacked by a tomato. No explanation. No reasoning for it. It’s just a weird little scene that spells the young ladies demise. It’s genius. The comedy is spot on. If you're a fan of films like Top Secret! or Kentucky Fried Movie, then this bizarre flick comes highly recommended. The music is wonderful; the actors are impressive, and it delivers absurdist humor in good quality. It has a real Troma feeling to it. It’s a little known fact that Matt Cameron, drummer for Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, had sung the “Puberty Love” song from the soundtrack.