Hello again, horror lovers! Welcome to the second edition of Horror With a Side of Cheese! If you have no idea what this is, allow me to explain. Twice every month, on the first and third Friday, I talk about the cheesiest horror movies I can find. Instead of the classic star rating, I rate these films with cheese slices. To determine the rating, I look at several factors, such as re-watchability, acting, effects and dialogue. In this edition, I am talking about the 1988 film Return of The Killer Tomatoes, the sequel to Attack of The Killer Tomatoes. I am giving it 3.5 cheese slices! Read on to find out why.

About Return of The Killer Tomatoes

When the world thinks the killer tomatoes are no more, Professor Gangreen (John Astin) starts experimenting. The professor is working on creating tomatoes that transform into humanoids so they can exist in the world without becoming suspect. He wants to build an army of human/tomato soldiers.

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After successfully creating a tomato woman named Tara (Karen M Waldron), Gangreen continues his experiments, creating a fuzzy, sentient tomato with tiny feet. When the professor shows his nasty side, Tara takes the fuzzy tomato and escapes. Once they are free, Tara runs into Chad (Anthony Starke), and he takes her home, where she eventually meets his roommate Matt (George Clooney). Together, the odd group must find a way to save the world. They must also protect Tara from Professor Gangreen.

John Astin as Professor Gangreen holding a tomato and laughing


John De Bello directed Return of the Killer Tomatoes. He helped write the story alongside Stephen Andrich and Costa Dillon.

This film has a zero percent Tomatometer Score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49 percent Audience Score.

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Fun fact: There are two more sequels in the Killer Tomato series. The titles of those movies are Killer Tomatoes Strike Back, and Killer Tomatoes Eat France

My Thoughts

There is so much to say about this movie. Let’s start with the story. For an over-the-top, ridiculous premise, the plot is surprisingly good. It is pretty believable in a world where someone can create tomatoes that essentially turn into humans. My biggest fault with the story is there are often moments where it is acknowledged that it’s a film. The actors and director discuss budget and scene problems before transitioning back into the movie.

Many people love the back and forth between the movie and the set. However, I am not among those individuals. Instead of adding to the cheese factor, it detracted from it. That is the main reason my overall rating is low. I would easily give it four or four and a half cheese slices were it not for the distracting fourth wall nonsense.

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On to the effects — as expected with any cheesy horror movie, the effects are often laugh-inducing. That said, they are not terrible. The transition when a tomato becomes a person or vice versa is depicted as a bright light. In my opinion, that is the best option they could have used. It allows for a visual representation without the necessity of elaborate effects.

Matt Stevens holding a can of soda and leaning across a counter in Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

Pictured: George Clooney in RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES

There are several big-name actors in Return of the Killer Tomatoes, such as John Astin and George Clooney. Given the nature of the film, great acting is not expected, and they all play into the trope. Everyone overacts and gives the cheesiness 100 percent. Watching famous actors overact intentionally and embrace the cheese is fantastic.

As for re-watchability, I would watch this film again in a heartbeat. I laughed until I cried and enjoyed the sheer ridiculous nature of the killer tomatoes. Now I want to find the other sequels.

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This movie is cheesy enough to have a fondue party while you watch. I am giving it three and a half cheese slices out of five.

Have you seen this or any of the Killer Tomato movies? Sound off in the comments. If you know of a super cheesy horror movie you think I should feature, let me know.

Until next time, stay spooky and embrace the cheese! Before you go, check out this trailer for Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

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Becca Stalnaker
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