Time: the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. Whew! Close call, huh, Earth? As you may have heard (or not because Honey Booboo was more interesting), a large asteroid whizzed right by us on Tuesday, and many gathered outside to try and catch a glimpse of it (and to see which continents it might sheer off in passing). The media tickled our apocolypse-bone with headlines like "Giant Asteroid Heading Towards Earth!", to make us a bit more afraid of 12-12-12. Or better yet, 12-21-12. That first asteroid was probably just a piece of the LARGER one that's coming a week from today! Oh boy! All this dooms day stuff reminds me of a cheeseball '80's horror flick called NIGHT OF THE COMET. It turns a zombie apocalypse into a Cyndi Lauper music video. It's quite entertaining, and follows two girls who are apparently the last female survivors. So let's take a look back at one of the last hotties on Earth, Kelli Maroney.
First and foremost, I'd like to mention that Kelli was suggested to me by our own Cherry Liquor (so I will do my best to pay her a respectful tribute and mix in fewer depraved comments than normal). That being said, I wasn't very familiar with Kelli's work until a couple weeks ago, when I decided to check out a few of her films myself. From what I've gathered by watching her, I can certainly say she's one of a kind. She's capable of being funny, almost in a Judd Apatow sort of way, but she also has her "sexy" moments. It's hard to talk about her without referring to the great roles she's taken on, so let's get to it!
Kelli's name became known in showbiz rather vastly. The first role she landed was as Kimberly Harris on the soap-opera "Ryan's Hope", in which she appeared in 319 episodes total. Not bad for a first gig. As that series was winding down, Kelli got a role as a cheerleader named Cindy in the much more idolized FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982).
This may be Kelli Maroney's most memorable character in film, at least to float down the mainstream. Kelli had a hilarious moment in FAST TIMES where she's trying to get the students riled up in the auditorium and goes a little crackhead crazy with the school spirit. It's a small part, but she delivers it well. She's spotted throughout the film, occasionally falling victim to some misfortunate event. The cheerleaders in this movie are sort of treated like "geeks", which is different from most movies I've seen. I don't know if cheerleading went out of style temporarily in the '80's or what. Whatever the case, Kelli went on to give cheerleaders a better name in her next feature film, NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984).
Here's the basic premise of NIGHT OF THE COMET: the Earth is about to pass through the tale of a comet for the first time in 65 million years. As the news anchors tell us, the last time this event occurred, it wiped out the dinosaurs. So what do the people of the world do? They gather outside like lemmings to see what happens, of course! But not everyone was so attentive. Regina Belmont (played by Catherine Mary Stewart) was getting her rocks off in the projection room at the movie theater she works at. Her layed-back younger sister Samantha (Kelli Maroney) is introduced to us while doing her daily workout routine... on the couch.
At least she made the effort to get her workout clothes on.
She also misses out on the big event. As the comet passes, everyone outside disintegrates into sand. The next day, Regina and Samantha find themselves to be the last living human beings in the city. Or at least after Regina's love slave becomes a zombie happy meal. Yes, there are zombies in this film. NIGHT OF THE COMET could be considered a cult film, and it really has that campy '80's horror vibe. The mirrored personalities of sisters Samantha and Regina (or "Reggie") make for an entertaining duo. Regina is like a sexy, video-game savvy, comic book nerd. Samantha is a somewhat less-alert cheerleader, who's at first oblivious to the entire town's disappearance. See, while Reggie's asking, "Where are all the people?", Samantha is in more of a "Where are the chips?" state of mind. That is until she starts bringing out the big guns.
No, not those. This is what I meant...
The entertainment factor of NIGHT OF THE COMET took me by surprise, probably mostly due to its cheesy style and bargain-counter quality, but it worked. I would recommend this to fans of that sort of thing, especially from the '80's era. It's got hotties, zombies, post-comet freaks, and even a montage where Reggie and Samantha break into clothing stores to the song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" (why fashion matters during the apocalypse, I don't know). Most of the movie takes place in an abandoned shopping mall, which I noticed has become a popular horror setting in games and movies ever since. Hey, actually, that reminds me of Kelli Maroney's next big starring role...
CHOPPING MALL (1986) is also a cult classic in its own right. Originally titled KILLBOTS, the movie follows a group of bad decision-making teenaged mall employees who, after closing time, decide they're gonna drink and have sex all night in the furniture store. Little do they know, the mall has just assigned a trio of malfunctioning killer robots to do overnight security. To make things more interesting, the doors have been locked shut, so there's no escape for these teens. There are two couples, and a single guy and girl. Kelli plays the single girl, Alison Parks, the most modest of the three girls. Her friends are scheming to hook her up with the least douchebaggy of the three guys. Guess which couple winds up surviving the terror?
It takes about 30 seconds to realize this is not a film meant to be taken seriously. There's no explanation for why these robots (which were designed to paralyze burglars by electric shock) suddenly go awry. The first poor sap to get killed off is a mall janitor, who's played by the legendary Dick Miller. He's killed by electrocution, so you think "Oh, okay, these robots just made a harmless mistake"... but you're wrong. Pretty soon, and outta nowhere, these titanium f*ckers start FIRING LASERS at their victims, which leads to awesome moments like this...
Awww yeaahh! How cheesily badass was that? These killer robots may be slow, cheap, loud and obnoxious, but they're also easy to underestimate, much like the Daleks in "Doctor Who". The best part is after the robots murder someone, they politely say "Have a nice day!". What makes this film so fun to watch, besides the bad special effects, are all the terrible choices these dumb teens make just before they meet their doom. There are several moments when a character decides to leave a safe area to "take action", instead of, you know, waiting quietly till the mall opens again. But that wouldn't make for great, bloody B-movie fun! If you're still not convinced, this movie also contains a fair amount of nudity. Yup, so if you ever wanted to see SHORT CIRCUIT with tits and gore, CHOPPING MALL is for you.
CHOPPING MALL was directed by Jim Wynorski, who featured Kelli in a few other campy '80's flicks. She played a nurse in NOT OF THIS EARTH (1988) which was a tribute to '50's sci-fi flicks (very similar in terms of humor and quality). Another is TRANSYLVANIA TWIST (1989), which is sort of an AIRPLANE-style parody of horror movies, but more specifically DRACULA. I actually remember seeing it as a kid. It's very silly, but if you're seeking original "spoof movies", it's worth checking out. And finally, there's HARD TO DIE, a pornography-set thriller in which Kelli is simply credited as "Porno Wife".
Jim Wynorski (who goes by many other names) has evolved into one of the busiest soft-core porn directors of the 21st century. He's the creator of such boobsploitation films as THE BARE WENCH PROJECT, CLEAVAGEFIELD and PARA-KNOCKERS ACTIVITY. I swear those are all 100% real (the names, not the knockers). The creepiest part is, he still directs movies for KIDS on occasion (the same month he may be directing BUSTY COPS). If you were to pick up any 3 of his directorial efforts on DVD at random, it could come out like this...
That movie on the right is called LOST IN THE WOODS. Not "LOST WOOD", although that wouldn't be too misleading.Once the '90's started to kick in full throttle, Kelli began to take it easy with the acting biz. She was in a couple low-budget (and presumably lost) independent films that aren't worth mentioning. As the new millenium drew closer, Kelli flew further off the radar. This begs the question, what's going on in the world of Kelli Maroney today?
Very nice! I wasn't expecting things to go this well, but this might actually be another one of those "better with age" cases. She's 46-years-old, and I'd still nail her in my trailer, even if she wasn't the last woman on Earth. I've always been a sucker for big blonde hair, which seems to be Kelli's lifelong trademark. It seems like I read somewhere that she'd gained weight at some point, but I don't know what point that was, because she's looking toit like a toiger these days. Also, these pictures of her in a bikini from some years back would also disprove such alligations...
I actually have no idea what year those images are from, but I put them in the "NOW" section just to be safe. I'm guessing sometime in the late 90's. But as I stare in awe at how fantastic Kelli's body ultimately became, I can't help but wonder WHAT kept her out of the acting loop for so long. Perhaps she was just bored with it all? Luckily, she's kept herself a little more busy these last few years, making some more independent film appearances, and guest-starring on shows like "True Blood" and "Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!". Most notably, she recently appeared as Deputy Wilma in the TV-movie GILA! (2012), based on the giant mythological monster. Oh, and she brings back the guns.
I get a kick out of discovering new hotties from eras I wasn't lucky enough to be a part of. I guess that's what this whole "Then & Now" thing is about, looking back on greater days. Not like next week when that comet shows up and turns us all into sand. It's been a delight getting familiar with the pom-pom shaking, zombie-ass kicking, hot tub scream queen that is Kelli Maroney. I hope this column has intrigued some of you enough to check out one or two of her movies yourselves. CHOPPING MALL and NIGHT OF THE COMET would add a nice touch to your Dooms Day Eve. Okay, folks, Armageddon outta' here! "Have a nice day!".