The Construction and Subsequent Destruction of My Childhood of the Killer Tomatoes!

FeatureEvery single time I walked througha movie rental store as a kid, I always gave Return of the Killer Tomatoes! a good, long, curious look. By merely looking at the front cover, I could deduce three things:

  1. This movie must be terrible.
  2. This movie clearly was aware of its terribleness, meaning that I would enjoy it thoroughly.
  3. With the store’s shelves crammed with blockbusters like Mac and Me, She’s Out of Control, and Prancer, and considering that mine were the parents who consistently forbade me from renting WrestleMania IV on account that it was two tapes (where would we EVER find the two extra dollars???), there was no way that I ever would see for myself just how awesomely bad this movie was – for there was no chance that my parents would even entertain the idea of actually paying $3.50 to bring this garbage-in-a-can home with us – and the closest I could come to this experience was instead a rented compilation of sports bloopers from the Sweatin’ to the Oldies shelf at the back corner of the store where nobody ever went.

Don’t get me wrong, though – I don’t mean to imply for a second that Hitler is as bad as my parents.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes! is now offered on demand on Netflix. I considered watching it last night so that I finally could know once and for all just how good and/or bad this movie is, and maybe even discover by accident that there are hundreds of expressions, plays on words, and one-liners that have pervaded my world without my knowing it (“Oh, that‘s why my friend Blake referred to kicking me in the balls as “Turning your balls into ketchup!” I might say).  And why not?  I’m allowed now, right?

return-of-the-killer-tomatoesBut I couldn’t bring myself to click “play.”  I recalled one time when I was an angry young 20-something-year-old man and I was bitching to my Uncle Ray about something about which 20-somethings often bitch (I can’t remember what it was – it must have been really important), only to be interrupted, mid-bitch, by Uncle Ray saying “It’s too late for you to have a good childhood,” which led to my instantly realization of two things:

  1. My childhood might have been worse than I remember it.
  2. My childhood, whether having been good or bad, made me who I am, whether currently being good or bad.

My not ever being allowed to see Return of the Killer Tomatoes! is perhaps the only piece of my childhood’s innocence that I have left. Last night, I did what I thought my parents were a–holes for doing: I didn’t allow myself to watch it (I then told myself to take a shower, brush my teeth, give myself a spanking, and go to bed). And I never will. I can’t.

That innocent child inside me, though dangerously close to a natural death, is just as real to me as are the memories of the Poles and Jews at Auschwitz (and no, that is not Holocaust denial), and just as I am nowhere near evil enough to have “turned up the hot water” in a shower in OÅ›wiÄ™cim, I am not, and shan’t e’er be, man enough to pull the trigger on the paste-filled rifle that is pointed at the temple of my blindfolded inner child who, by the way, lives inside this 32-year-old man who actually is allergic to tomatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, though – I don’t mean to imply for a second that Hitler is as bad as my parents.

My innocence still has a few threads left (a rarity even among the youngest of Generation X-ers), but their grip is weakening. I found out only this morning that George Clooney is in the movie (this lessens the intrigue and, therefore, effectively contaminates the innocent nature of this life-affirming film-avoiding). I’d only found out that this movie was a sequel when I was in high school, despite the fact that the first word in the title of this film is “Return.”

Please do not take offense, therefore, if I get up off your futon and leave your studio apartment when you start a conversation about Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; I only ask that you give me a preemptive spoiler alert.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Adam Wilson

Adam Wilson was the original columnist for Balls, Pucks, and Cups. He returned after a five-year contract dispute with The Red Shtick management.

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