|“Attaaaaack of the Killer Tomatoes
Attaaaaack of the Killer Tomatoes,
They’ll beat you, bash you, squish you, mash you, chew you up for brunch,
And finish you off for dinner or lunch.”
How often do the words, “cult classic,” “maneating produce,” and “Saturday morning cartoon” end up in the same paragraph? John DeBello’s campy 1978 spoof of low-budget monster movies became a underground hit, spawning a 1988 sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, starring The Addams Family’s John Astin and a pre-E.R. George Clooney. It was this second film that inspired the Saturday morning version in 1990.
In the city of San Zucchini, Dr. Putrid T. Gangreen (again voiced by John Astin) grew ordinary tomatoes into humanized killing machines. Head tomato Zoltan overthrew the doctor, sparking an ongoing war with the human race. “Fuzzy Tomato” (or F.T.) changed loyalties and fled to the tomato-hating world, where he masqueraded as “the world’s ugliest dog” to survive. Another tomato outcast was Tara, who as a result of Gangreen’s experiments, looked like a sixteen-year-old human but reverted to tomato form if salt was thrown on her. The two lonely tomatoes were befriended by ten-year-old Chad Finletter, the only human who knew their secret, and together the three fought against Zoltan and Gangreen’s fiendish plots.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a success for the Fox network, and was TV’s first fully computer-generated animated series. The cartoon left the air in 1992, but reappeared on Fox’s 1996 Saturday morning schedule with repeats of previous episodes. The film franchise continued with Killer Tomatoes Strike Back and Killer Tomatoes Eat France!
The first season Gangreen tried to take over San Zucchini in attacks that spoofed movies like "Invasion of the Tomato Snatchers" (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), "Streets
of Ketchup" (Streets of Fire), and "Spatula, Prinze of Dorkness" (Dracula, Prince of Darkness).