I read a book: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Novelization, by Jeff Strand

While I mostly write about books, my love of horror began with old movies and branched off into comedy horror shows like The Addams Family and The Munsters. The more ridiculous the premise, the better. Enter Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s been forever and a half since I last watched the movie, but I do remember that ridiculous is an understatement. The fact that it inspired multiple sequels, a children’s cartoon, two video games, a comic book, a couple of similarly themed books, and now this novelization written by Jeff Strand and audiobook narrated by Joe Hempel is actually pretty amazing considering the poor reception of the movie in its time.

Let’s talk about the audiobook. Joe Hempel is a treasure. Like the movie, the audiobook is speckled with songs and faux advertisements and that one awful puberty song. Hempel narrates with gusto and paired with Jeff Strand’s humor, this audiobook is a joy to listen to.

As for the book itself, if you’ve seen the movie, you know the story. Humanity comes under attack by constantly mutating killer tomatoes. Everyone is an idiot and there’s little hope that humanity will figure out how to survive, except for maybe China and their secret weapon, Bruce Lee. It is ridiculous and hilarious. I know it’s cliche to say the book is better than the movie, especially when the book is a novelization of that movie, but it’s true. Characters that didn’t get much screen time, like master of disguise Sam Smith, come to life in this book. Jokes that barely registered in the movie are amplified. Imagery that were probably cost prohibitive to produce in a movie are elevated by Strand’s colorful writing.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. This book is 233 pages or 5 hours of pure fun. This book filled in a lot of gaps that the movie left wide open. I particularly enjoyed all the fourth wall breaking commentary. The whole thing was just so funny.

Big thanks to Jeff Strand, Joe Hempel, Encyclopocalypse Publications and BookSirens for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can preorder Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Novelization on Amazon or Audible for its April 14, 2023 release.

Day 30 of 31 days of horror: Cargo (2017)

Thoomi: Proper creepy in there.
Andy: It’s proper creepy out here too.

Martin Freeman in a zombie movie? Yes, please. It is immediately apparent that this is not your average zombie flick. Cargo is a post apocalyptic story that takes place during an aggressive pandemic that turns people into snot dripping flesh eating zombies. They’re far enough into the pandemic that they’ve figured out how much time you have before you turn and there are these little kits that included a symptom card with a timeline, a watch that counted down from 48 hours, and a brain jabbing device in case you wanted to take care of yourself before you ate your family. This movie follows a man who is trying to find a safe place for his baby before his time is up. Several heartbreaking moments. I really liked this one.

At the beginning of the month, I made a list. 31 movies for 31 days, with 5 alternates. I watched 14 of them. Cargo was not on the list, but I am glad I took a chance on it because it’s really good.

Day 29 of 31 days of horror: The Munsters (2022)

I almost skipped this one because Rob Zombie movies just aren’t my favorite. But I love the Munsters, so I decided to give it a chance. In the beginning, I thought it was visually appealing and fun. A decent homage to the original Munsters. But the lack of a cohesive plot and an overly long run time highlighted the poor acting and badly set up bad jokes. The Munsters is not known for subtle acting either, but there is such a thing as over-overacting. But Rob Zombie casts his wife Sheri Moon Zombie in all of his movies, so this was to be expected. The Munsters is also known for its specific humor, which to be fair, the jokes were pretty well suited to some of the characters. But the timing and responses were off. I was missing the echoing stomp sounds and shaking rooms when Herman got excited and started jumping around. The Lily we know and love wouldn’t moon over Herman the way this Lily did. Our Herman always had a high opinion of himself, from his looks to his varied talents, but he was not cocky like this Herman. I did enjoy Grandpa, known as the Count in this movie.

It’s not the worst Rob Zombie movie, nor is it the worst reboot/prequel I’ve ever seen. It’s fun for a while. I think if I had just turned it off around halfway when I started getting bored, I would have a higher opinion of it. It’s okay, but you’re not missing anything if you skip this one.

I think I’ll watch one of the Netflix serial killer miniseries now. Son of Sam, maybe.

Day 28 of 31 days of horror: Army of Darkness (1992)

Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.

Another comedy horror kind of night, though this one has a stronger horror element. Army of Darkness is the third installment of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series. It is also my favorite. It’s full of goofy special effects and one liners. I watch this highly quotable classic yearly. It’s great.

Day 27 of 31 days of horror: Raw (2016)

What are you hungry for?

This movie is about a vegetarian veterinary student who is forced to eat meat during a hazing ritual and is suddenly hungry for all the meat. All sorts of weird shit happens, aside from the hunger. It’s weird af and kind of…wonderful?

I read the description and hit play before realizing that that this is a French language film with English subtitles. I think that, and the score, actually added to the atmosphere of this movie. Anyway, it’s pretty good.

Day 26 of 31 days of horror: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

So this is more comedy than horror, but I’m counting it. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a super campy fun movie with thin plot and deep cleavage. Full of silly one liners and innuendos, this was a pleasure to watch. It’s pure fluff. And of course there’s that boobie dance number at the end. Not a movie I’m gonna add to the rewatch rotation, but it’s a fun one.

Day 25 of 31 days of horror: American Psycho (2000)

I like to dissect girls. Did you know I’m utterly insane?

American Psycho is an excellent movie based on an excellent book written by Bret Easton Ellis. If you ever watched this movie and thought, “Well that’s needlessly violent,” you would be shocked by the levels of violence in the book. If that isn’t enough to convince you that the book is worth a read, consider that there is also an excellent audiobook performed by an excellent narrator who is the very embodiment of the Patrick Bateman character.

This was supposed to be commentary on the movie as I watch it, but it turned into a book endorsement. What can I say, I like American Psycho in all its formats. Anyway, good movie.

Day 24 of 31 days of horror: Dr. Giggles (1992)

The doctor will see you now.

If it wasn’t obvious by now, I’m a big fan of slashers and body horror, in both book and movie form. Humor is a bonus that automatically adds to my enjoyment. I enjoy proper scary horror as well, but it’s the funny and absurd that I revisit. The more outlandish, the better.

Dr. Giggles is about as outlandish as they come. The doctor is a mental patient who escapes the institution and goes on a murderous rampage intent on punishing the town for killing his father, an actual doctor who was also (surprise) crazy. Dr. Giggles is not a doctor, but don’t tell him that. He gets it into his head to help the female lead with the heart problems, but of course, his help is chaotic and wholly unhelpful. You know, because he’s not a doctor. And he’s insane.

This movie has basically every cliche doctor joke and I’m here for it. The little kid glued to his tv playing Dr. Mario. I remember watching this movie as a kid. The stomach pump scenes where he say “I know, I know. It sucks.” The scene where he throws a human heart at someone and say “Have a heart!” is embedded in my brain. So many laugh out loud moments. You may find yourself unable to contain your giggles.

Day 23 of 31 days of horror: The Dentist (1996)

Nothing, no matter how good or how pure, is free of decay. Once that decay gets started, it can only lead to rot, filth, corruption.

Today’s theme is dentophobia. That’s right, the extreme fear of dentists.

I am not afraid of dentists. I’ve a had a fair amount of dental work. Several root canals, crowns, fillings, and one extraction. I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth out with only local anesthesia and a valium. The feeling of a scalpel cutting into your gums and digging out teeth that hadn’t erupted while you’re not quite sleeping with Prince Valium is super weird. There was some anxiety the first time I went to a dentist, but I’ve never been afraid.

That said, I’ve never had a dentist who lost his shit after catching his wife blowing the pool boy on their wedding anniversary. I’ve never had a dentist follow the pool guy only to find out he was fucking the neighbor lady too. Probably all the neighbor ladies. Rich people problems, am I right? Anyway, this dentist tries to go about his work day but starts hallucinating, seeing his adulteress wife and taking out his rage on his patients. This guy’s internal dialog tells us that he was one step away from a murder spree all along. Dude has issues. He reminds me of that hologram the crew of Voyager finds all alone on a ship, only to discover that he’d murdered his crew. Yes, everything is Star Trek.

If you’re scared of dentists, don’t watch this movie. You may never go back to the dentist. Honestly I’m not sure anyone needs to watch this movie. It’s not a bad movie, but not one I’m gonna watch again anytime soon. But today’s theme is dentophobia, so here we are!

Day 22 of 31 days of horror: Dead Alive (1992)

The devil is amongst us. Stay back, boy. This calls for divine intervention!

Peter Jackson is best known for the Lord of the Rings series. Long before that came a movie called Braindead, that was released in North America under the name Dead Alive. I recognize the movie cover, but now that I’m watching it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

It is terrible. And wonderful. It has all the makings of a great horror comedy. Ridiculous premise, bad acting, eccentric characters, and more blood and gore than the average person can stomach. Several laugh out loud moments. The scene in the park where Lionel is punching the zombie baby and everyone just watches (and one guy laughs)…LMAO. And the party scene where the one guy yells “I’m sorry I called Nabokov a pedophile!” as he’s being attacked. And then later he pops off with “Some of my best friends are pedophiles!” Reminded me of this one person who posts the same couple books in all the book groups all the time. Zombie status confirmed. Anyway, if you like cheesy zombie movies where the gore flows freely, you’ll like this one.