Night of the Comet (1984)
Director: Thom Eberhardt
Catherine Mary Stewart/Reggie
A passing comet turns most of the earth’s population into red dust or zombies with anger management issues. With the main survivors being two valley girls and a group of evil scientists, you know you’re in for a one hell of a shin-dig. Let’s party like it was 1984!
"Daddy would have gotten us Uzis"– Sam
"Night of the Comet" is the ultimate 80’s genre kitsch dish. I was personally never certain if the laughs found in here were all intentional or not, but watching it today in all of its zany glory, it didn’t matter one bit, "Night of the Comet" is just freaking entertaining all around, whatever the intent was.
Sit down, grab a cold one and think about it for a moment: Can you go wrong with the end of the world and two Valley girls (30 year old actresses playing 18..lol!) being the main survivors? Didn’t think so, hombres. That alone opened up all kinds of possibilities for wacky scenarios and the film thankfully ran with them throughout. And can you miss the mark with big 80’s hair, bright neon rooms, a dream sequence within a dream sequence, jaw dropping eighties fashion, people turned to red dust, ghetto blasters, a shopping spree set to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and an unsettling video game obsession by one of the leads? No freaking way! It's giggle fit time in the USA!
The film’s endearing cheesy flavor was also upped by the silly, yet arresting, images at hand. I rocked to the eerie fake colored skies that screamed “acid trip” and I rolled to the off-kilter feel that the totally deserted empty streets emanated. Hilarious dialogue was also plenty with clever lines assaulting my funny bone left, right and center. My favorite bits were: "I'm not insane; I just don't give a fuck!" - “You were born with an asshole Doris, you don't need Chuck” and the always romantic "You'd be worth a lot more than fifteen bucks- everybody knows that." Hey, I use that last one in bars to this day and it always works…in getting me bitch slapped! Tag to all that, sweet candy, a lickaliscious raunchy tone, a stand out scene of the dames getting into an “in store” shootout with bitter stock boy zombies and a horde of scientists who said and did shite that was so out of line that it was morbidly side-splitting and you get a filled-to-the-brim piñata of amusement ready to burst.
Now, this needs to be said: having seen Danny Boyle’s "28 Days Later" recently and re-watching this 80’s jewel, I couldn’t help but feel that 28 Days Later totally ripped off "Night of the Comet" in so many aspects. The end of the world premise, the deserted streets, the zombies, the script structure...shite, even the final block were basically freaking identical! In this film, we get evil scientists wanting to take advantage of the survivors and in "28 Days Later", we get evil soldiers who want to take advantage of the survivors. COME ON! Both film are oddly similar and we all know which one came first…that’s right…The Comet baby! Coincidence? Mmmmm…
On the stale side of this flying space rock, I didn’t care too much for the improbable love subplot that was slapped my way and that chewed up precious run time. The flick was also epileptic shaky when it came to its zombie infection rules; they didn’t always hold up or make much sense. The last third of the film was also not as engaging as what preceded it. Although the evil scientists thing did bring in its fare share of groovy moments, I just wasn’t 100% interested in that new story direction. Lastly, I wish the zombie action would’ve been exploited way more. We needed more conflict! More blood! More mayhem! LAY IT ON THICK!
But when the “soiree” was over, "Night of the Comet" wound up being a unique, strange, pleasantly dated, colorful and enjoyable genre lollipop. I personally don’t know of any other 80’s horror treats that are this tacky in such a positive way. Lick this one to the stick and get a sugar rush! IT'S COMET TIME!
We get ugly zombies, some light blood and frightening fashion.
Catherine Mary Stewart (Reggie) played it straight-faced and tough to the bone, sometimes at her own expense. Her facial expression while she was playing that video game had me chuckling. Now that’s intensity! Kelli Maroney (Sam) nailed her ditzy, bubble gum chewing part hands down and really surprised me when that “serious” monologue came up. Nicely delivered girl! Robert Beltran (Hector) did an ok job as the set of balls of the group.
T & A
None, even the Zombies kept their clothes on…BOO!!!!!
Eberhardt displayed an admirable showing, offering slick shot compositions, an effective use of his limited (by budget) special effects and a potent knack at maximizing the various lighting motifs that gave the flick a novel mood.
We get a slew of “Ti-Hi” 80’s ditties with my favorite being the sappy ballad “Learn to Love Again” by Chris Farren and Amy Holland. BARFFFFFFF! But in a good, I-drank-too-much-and-banged-my-ex-girlfriend-in-the-wrong-hole-again type of way!
I fondly remember watching "Night of the Comet" repeatedly when I was a wee annoying as shite brat; it was one of my token movies (along with "The Terminator", "First Blood" and "Revenge of the Nerds"). Hitting it today, it didn’t give me the same type of awe-inducing experience that I used to have, but it definitely made me appreciate it on a whole new level. This is a one of a kind B-movie that revels in being a B-movie like no other. Sure, it’s flawed but godammit Jim, it was such an insane and gnarly trek that the boo-boo’s didn’t hurt. “It’s the end the world as we know it and I feel fiiiiiiine...."
A sequel to "Night of the Comet" has always been the plan, but various “rights issues" have kept that from happening.
Kelli Maroney has now changed her name to Zoe Kelli Simon.