There have been several mysterious deaths. The main clue found at each scene is tomato juice. It appears that tomatoes have become sentient and are taking revenge on humans. The government puts together a team of specialists to combat the tomato crisis. Mason Dixon (David Miller) is to head the unit. His team is comprised of Sam Smith (Gary Smith), an expert in disguises, Gretta Attenbaum (Benita Barton), a swimming expert who defected to America after the last Olympics, Greg Colburn (Steve Cates), an underwater expert, and Lt. Wilbur Finletter (J. Stephen Peace), a paratrooper who is always with his parachute.
The President (Ernie Meyers) assigns his press secretary, Jim Richardson (George Wilson) to minimizing the optics of the situation. Richardson hires Ted Swann (Al Sklar) from a company called “Mind Makers” to come up with an advertising scheme to convince America that there is no threat.
A Newspaper Editor (Ron Shapiro) manages to get a copy of a classified file from the Senate Subcommittee on Domestic Tomato Growth and Expansion. The document references the strange occurrences with the rampaging tomatoes. He assigns reporter Lois Fairchild (Sharon Taylor) to investigate.
Meanwhile, a masked man attempts to kill Mason Dixon, and the tomatoes are invading America.
“Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” was released in 1978 and was directed by John DeBello. It is an American comedy and horror parody film, and a musical. Due to a cult following, and a skit in an episode of “The Muppet Babies” (a sort of parody of a parody), the film spawned three sequels, an animated television series, and a web site.
Coming in at around $100,000 to produce, it was considered a failure at the box office until rabid tomato fans sunk their teeth into it. The film boasts the worst jokes, songs, acting, dialogue and story line since the word parody was invented. Most of the people in the movie aren’t even actors. Reportedly it started out as a 15 minute student film that eventually morphed into a full blown movie. Creator Costa Dillon got the idea from watching the Japanese horror film “Attack of the Mushroom People” 1963. The original student film is said to be lost.
Near the beginning of the film is a scene with a helicopter crash. The scene called for the helicopter to land in a tomato patch but the tail of the helicopter actually hit the ground sending the helicopter spinning and crashing. The pilot was OK and since the scene was being filmed it was used in the movie. The pilot quipped that the helicopter was attacked by a "kamikaze" tomato. His adlib was worked into the script.
The giant tomatoes were made out of foam. One of the giant tomatoes is seen wearing lime green earmuffs. The earmuffs are actually furry toilet seat covers. In 1989 the movie theme song was used to wake up the Columbia Space shuttle crew. One of the missions for the crew was to retrieve millions of tomato seeds that had been sent to the space station in 1984.
The song "Puberty Love" was performed by Matt Cameron, who would later go on to be the drummer for Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Matt was fourteen at the time. Ted Giannoulas AKA “The San Diego Chicken” has a cameo.
*Spoiler: The reaction of the tomatoes to the “Puberty Love” song is similar to how Earth handled the Martians in the movie “Mars Attacks” 1996.*