Zombies, cheerleaders with guns & toxic space dust? If these kind of things can grab your attention while getting stoned & eating burnt grilled cheese then this movie might just be for you!
“Night of the Comet”, written & directed by Thom Eberhardt who’s body of work I’m not entirely familiar with but hey, the guy made “Captain Ron” so that’s a good enough reason to fucks wit em if you ask me! My sweet little morbid mother had introduced this movie to me as a young child for reasons that are beyond my comprehension… Maybe she thought that the breastfeeding wasn’t enough so we needed to bond more.. Who knows? but till this very day, I can never pass up a chance to watch this doomsday delight.
So where do we begin? The beginning of this movie takes place at the night of the big comet sighting where everybody is fuckin’ amped on some New Year’s Eve in Times Square shit, waiting for the ball to drop. We are soon introduced to one of the main characters, Regina played by Catherine Mary Stewart (the girl from “Weekend at Bernie’s & “The Last Starfighter”) who was a strong female lead way before feminists made it trendy. Regina is the type of chic that knows karate on the low, drives motorcycles & might give you some pussy in a projection booth but can’t get a guy to bring her an egg McMuffin to save her life.
Shortly after she gets sonned by her grouchy, old boss and argues with her fuck buddy/co-worker at the local movie theater, the comet passes over the spectators below projecting vibrant, bright, flashing lights which ends up exposing the crowd to deadly radiation, turning everyone into sandy, red powder while the partially exposed are transformed into hideous mutant zombies and those who were lucky enough to be hidden behind steel structures don’t seem to to be affected by the comet.
After being attacked by one of these crazed comet zombies, Regina heads home to find her younger sister, Samantha played by Kelli Maroney (of “Chopping Mall” status) alive. She’s the wise-cracking, gum chewing, valley girl that’s dedicated to her pep squad type. Regina convinces Samantha to come to terms with the situation and they quickly head down to the local radio station to contact for help which is where they then meet “Hectorrrrr!”, the poorman’s Erik Estrada who is also a fellow survivor/truck driver. After becoming aquanted with the girls, Hector suggests that they do what you should never do in a horror movie… split up! Hector takes the solo mission back home but is soon faced with a small problem. While that’s happening, the two girls are drinking diet Pepsi, chatting about boy troubles & testing out machine guns on parked cars. Suddenly they decide to break into a nearby shopping mall to try on clothes to Cyndi Lauper joints which is one of the perks of a apocalypse along with never having to stand on long lines again or ever be stuck sitting in a traffic jam. It appears as if the movie takes place in L.A. so my Cali heads could definitely appreciate driving through an empty highway for a change. While enjoying a little girl time, the sisters are forced to put their target practicing skills to work. Things are looking grim for the girls when out of nowhere they are rescued by a team of socially awkward scientific researchers and we get a chance to meet Audrey played by Mary Woronov (Terrorvision) who claims that the team are there to rescue survivors and bring them to safety at their research facility.
The researchers convince the girls to do some more things to get you killed in a horror movie like.. split up again!! Samantha stays behind with this weird, drugged up Audrey lady at the radio station & Regina leaves in a helicopter with this group of emotionless scientists rockin’ some kind of prototype Ghostbuster uniforms.
Regina becomes skeptical of the group’s intentions & supects an ulterior motive for separating them. Hector finally locates Samantha and they formulate a plan to reunite with Regina. Meanwhile, Regina uncovers the real purpose of the researcher’s interest in finding them.
Overall the characters are memorable, sarcastic & cynical. The special effects are pretty much what you’d expect from a sci-fi, horror movie made in 1984 on an estimated $700,000 budget. It holds up well over the years making it a classic to certain individuals such as myself. Dont get me wrong, the film is definitely a bit dated but if you don’t mind the feathered hairstyles & the fact that none of the actors drop a Twitter reference for pop culture relevance then it’s genuinely an entertaining movie with retro color pallets, the ghostly vibe of an abandoned world cloaked by eerie 80’s syth music and a couple of easy listening make-out ballads. Prior to our recent apocalypse fetish in modern cinema, this movie is part of the handful of others such as: Terminator, Maximum Overdrive, Mad Max & Escaped From New York which helped pave the way for this now over-saturated genre of film that seems to be so popular. I don’t know.. maybe this bleak obsession is a sign of the times and a reflection of where society is heading. Hey, it’s gotta be close to the end of humanity when Hollywood is resorting to making blockbuster movies based off of fuckin’ smartphone apps!
Words by Wayne Wilkins
Night of the Comet available NOW from Arrow Video