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Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
We bet George Clooney has dropped this low-budget horror spoof from his resume. But like “Lost In Space,” its a classic. Click here to purchase the DVD.
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July 2006

Food Fun / Food Film Festival

Horror Films

Eeek! (And Pass The Popcorn)

 

When the Lumiére brothers invented the film projector in 1895 and screened The Arrival of a Train in a small café, movie-goers literally lost their lunches. They thought a train was coming through the wall and were so terrified that they ran out of the café and into the street. In other words, horror films have existed since the birth of cinema. The movies we’ve picked as our favorites aim to strike the perfect balance between making your stomach turn and making you hungry. If a roller-coaster ride for your stomach isn’t your cup of tea, then click here to explore other genres.

Click here to tell us about your favorite films or food scenes.

 

 

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Movies with “wacky” titles are almost never any good, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! was intentionally made to be an instant golden turkey. Despite that, and the grade-Z production values, this is a regularly funny film. You need to be a fan of the kind of low-budget horror movie it’s spoofing, and you need to be very forgiving of the technical ineptness and frequent clunkers, but it works. The story? Well, tomatoes attack, basically. Jack Riley and the San Diego Chicken are in it, and that genuinely alarming helicopter crash you see in an early scene was a real accident. Seen now, the whole ratty affair brings back agreeable memories of the circa-1978 college-movie/midnight-cinema era, when seeing this film was virtually unavoidable. The sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes! (with a young George Clooney), is actually an even funnier film. Director John De Bello would continue to squeeze the Tomatoes franchise for years to come.—Robert Horton, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Auntie Lee’s Meat Pies

A woman sends her four seductive nieces to bring home boys to turn into ground meat.—Melissa Hom, TheNibble.com

auntie lee's meat pies

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Few directors polarize audiences like Peter Greenaway, a filmmaker as influenced by Jacobean revenge tragedy and 17th century painting as by the French New Wave. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover is both adored and detested for its combination of sumptuous beauty and revolting decadence. A vile, gluttonous thief (Michael Gambon, The Singing Detective) spews hate and abuse at a restaurant run by a stoic French cook (Richard Bohringer, Diva), but under the thief’s nose his wife (the ever-sensuous Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect) conducts an affair with a bookish lover (Alan Howard, Strapless). Clothing (by avant-garde designer Jean-Paul Gaultier) changes color as the characters move from room to room. Nudity, torture, rotting meat, and Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) at his sleaziest all contribute the atmosphere of decay and excess. Not for everyone, but for some, essential.—Bret Fetzer, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Click here to purchase The Cook, The Theif, His Wife & Her Lover

Delicatessen

A post-apocalyptic future becomes the setting for pitch-black humor in this visually intricate French comedy. The action takes place within a single apartment complex, which is owned by the same man that operates the downstairs butcher shop. It’s a particularly popular place to live, thanks to the butcher’s uncanny ability to find excellent cuts of meat despite the horrible living conditions outside. The newest building superintendent, a former circus clown, thinks he has found an ideal living situation. All that changes, however, when he discovers the true source of the butcher’s meat, and that he may be the next main course. This dark tale is played out in a brilliantly designed, glorious surreal alternate world reminiscent of the works of director Terry Gilliam, who co-presented the film’s American release. Like Gilliam, co-directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro hail from an animation background, and have a fondness for extravagant visuals, absurdist plot twists, and a sense of humor that combines sharp satire with broad slapstick and gross-out imagery. This mixture may displease the weak of stomach, but those attuned to the film’s sensibility will be delighted by the obvious technical virtuosity and wicked sense of humor.—From Amazon.com

Click here to purchase Delicatessen

How Tasty is my Little Frenchman

In 1594 in Brazil, the Tupinambas Indians are friends of the French and their enemies are the Tupiniquins, friends of the Portuguese. A Frenchman (Arduino Colassanti) is captured by the Tupinambas, and in spite of his trial to convince them that he is French, they believe he is Portuguese. The Frenchman becomes their slave, and maritally lives with Seboipepe (Ana Maria Magalhaes). Later, he uses powder in the cannons that the Portuguese left behind to defeat the Tupiniquins in a battle. In order to celebrate the victory, the Indians decide to eat him. A classic example of Brazilian Cinema Novo, How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman tells a uniquely tongue-in-cheek version of what happened when the Europeans "discovered" America.—From Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

frenchman

The Last Supper

Painted in mile-wide strokes of black satirical comedy, The Last Supper turns intolerance into a parlor trick, then repeats it ad nauseam in case we missed the joke. Still, redundancy can be fun when applied to the premeditated murder of right-wing extremists by self-righteous left-wing zealots; director Stacy Title is an equal-opportunity offender, never taking sides. The grisly high jinks commence when a truck-driving, child-molesting, Hitler-loving ex-Marine (Bill Paxton, acing the role) is accidentally killed while dining with a clutch of snobby liberal grad students, played with uniform excellence by Cameron Diaz (showing early promise), Ron Eldard, Courtney B. Vance, Annabeth Gish, and coproducer Jonathan Penner. Having acquired a taste for blood, the wine-poisoning liberals stage “last suppers” with hand-picked targets (Charles Durning, Mark Harmon, Jason Alexander, and ultimately Ron Perlman), eventually attracting a suspicious sheriff (fine work by SNL alumnus Nora Dunn). It’s got all the subtlety of a pile-driver, but The Last Supper craftily defends free speech by exposing its most vicious violations.—Jeff Shannon, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Click here to purchase The Last Supper

The Legend of Alfred Packer

An eerie movie based on the true story of a man who led a group of hopeful gold-miners to a site in Colorado in 1873. The cold winter strands them from civilization and as rations run out, the only survivor, Alfred Packer survived by resorting to cannibalism.—Melissa Hom, TheNibble.com

Click here to purchase the VHS tape.

The Legen of Alfred Packer

Return of the Killer Tomatoes!

You’re not going to believe this, but Return of the Killer Tomatoes is a genuinely funny movie. Ten years after John DeBello made the frowzy, low-budget Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, he brought the fleshy fruit back for a murderous encore. Like the first film, it works as a parody of horror-movie conventions (and it repeatedly makes fun of itself, Mad-magazine style), but this time the budget is higher. There’s a great, ongoing send-up of product placement, plus a juicy role for the oft-underutilized John Astin, as the evil genius this kind of movie needs. Just to keep everything moving, another exploitation film keeps cutting in: Big-Breasted Girls Go to the Beach and Take Their Tops Off. It ain’t high art, but this movie knows its audience. A young George Clooney plays one of the heroes.—Robert Horton, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes

The Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lechter was a foodie long before Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods brought seven-dollar canned tuna to the masses. He makes cannibalism seem more like an acquired taste than a crime against humanity, and he single-handedly taught millions how to pair Chianti with fava beans and liver. When it was released in 1991, Silence of the Lambs breathed new life into the horror genre and won five Academy Awards®.—Jake Lemkowitz

Click here to purchase the DVD.

silence of the lambs

Soylent Green

Charlton Heston seemed fond of starring in apocalyptic science-fiction films in the late 1960s and early ’70s. There was Planet of the Apes, of course, and The Omega Man. But there was also 1973’s Soylent Green, a strange detective film (based on Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room!) set in 2022 and starring Heston as a Manhattan cop trying to solve a murder in the overpopulated, overheated city. His roommate (a necessity in the overcrowded metropolis), played by Edward G. Robinson, tries telling him about a better time on Earth before there were no more resources or room left; but Heston doesn’t care. Directed by Richard Fleischer (The Vikings), the film has a curious but largely successful mix of mystery and bleak futuristic vision, somewhat like Blade Runner but without the extraordinary art direction. This was Robinson’s last film and he’s easily the best thing about it; his final scene seems terribly appropriate in retrospect. Joseph Cotten makes an appearance as the man whose murder results in the revelation of a shocking secret.—Tom Keogh, from Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Soylent Green

Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

A film of the 1982 Tony Award-winning Broadway stage production starring Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett) and George Hearn (Sweeney), this gem of a musical by Stephen Sondheim may not be for everyone. After all, some might bristle at a story about blind revenge murder (by Sweeney, aided by Mrs. Lovett) and cannibalism (by Mrs. Lovett’s customers)—even though the people who eat the meat pies made from the flesh of the innocent victims don’t realize it’s human meat. But Sweeney Todd, while dark in plot, is a masterpiece of words and music. If you’re not squeamish, this is one of the most thrilling musicals of all time, brilliantly directly by Terry Hughes and Hal Prince.—Karen Hochman, TheNibble.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Sweeney Todd

301 - 302

301-302 explores the mysterious disappearance of one of two young women who live across the hall from each other in a modern apartment complex in Seoul, Korea. The women, referred to by their apartment number, each share common yet dissimilar obsessions. 302 is an anorexic recluse with a pathological dislike of food. 301, a talented chef, has just moved in across the hall. 301 befriends 302 and tries to tempt her into eating with glorious cooking. There are twists, flashbacks and black humor as the histories of both women are revealed and we learn why 302 won’t eat. An Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival.—From Amazon.com

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Click here to purchase the DVD.

Click here to purchase 301-302 on DVD
   



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