A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls to fight the evil types who survive. Sounds legit right? We delve into Night Of The Comet and get our Valley Girl on. Dig it!
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt
Distributed By: Scream Factory
1984 was a year that changed the horror genre in leaps and bounds. Ghostbusters, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Children Of The Corn, The Toxic Avenger, all of these films are staples for any horror fan. Yet many people forget about a little film called Night Of The Comet. It’s funny, witty, and even a bit scary. But to be honest, this film is more of a popcorn, sleepover, watch on Halloween only, type of film. It doesn’t grab you by the throat like some werewolf on a rampage. It tickles your belly and make you smile and long for the days of bad mall shopping, video game high scores, and Valley Girls.
The film centers around Reggie (Stewart), a young girl who works as an usher at the local El Rey theater in Los Angeles. Her sister Samantha (Maroney) is stuck at home after getting in a fight with her stepmother. The stepmother, along with the rest of the city, eagerly awaits the passing of a comet that hasn’t been in our solar system since the time of the dinosaurs. Some warn that this comet caused the extinction of those terrible lizards, but of course no one heeds the warning and parties rage on counting down to the comet’s arrival. Fortunately for Reggie and Samantha, they remained indoors as the comet passed, unwittingly surviving the comet’s effects. Unfortunately, most everyone else in the city didn’t fare so well. The comet turned them into either a pile of orange ash…or zombies. (Yeah, that’s a real toss up of choices there.) Unbeknownst to our two leads is a plot by the government to study survivors of the comet’s passing and see why and how they lived. The girls have a good ol’ time shopping their hearts out while trying to stay one step ahead of zombies and another step ahead of the evil government looking to study them. They befriend a local trucker named Hector (Beltran) and work together to try and survive. Did I mention the sisters were trained by their father to use Mach 10’s (“Daddy would have gotten us Uzi’s”) and basically any machine gun known to man? Yeah, they’re Sarah Conner level hardcore.
That’s basically it. Malls, zombies, ash, comets, and government scientists make the film sound like a bad Michael Crichton novel. The film has mediocre acting and a score that will throw you right back into the 80’s like a bad Flock Of Seagulls concert. The pacing is slow but has some enjoyable moments in its first act developing its characters. Even Hector is an easy favorite for me in this film. Each character has heart and it shows.
Kelli Maroney’s performance as Samantha is really enjoyable. She gives her character a real sense of teen angst. She’s just looking for a boy to love in all this madness and you really feel bad for her at some points in the film. The film picks up in its third act with more government involvement and a funky twist ending that is more Brady Bunch than horror but…it works.
Now we get into the real meat and potatoes of this flick with…Drive-In Totals:
5 Dead Bodies
6 Zombies (You actually see)
Lead Pipe Fu
Projection Booth Sex
And an ending that makes you go awwww.
The Blu-ray transfer is well done as one would expect from Scream Factory by now. Blacks are dark and deep with hardly any grain whatsoever. The DTS-HD 5.1 sound for the film is superb and never faint or mumbled.
Scream Factory delivers again with some great special features. Interviews with the cast and commentary from them as well makes for a well rounded Blu-ray. I personally enjoyed the discussion with the films special effects master, David B. Miller. He basically just runs down how the directors gave him a free reign to design the zombies in the film his way. The guy just came off of Michael Jackson’s Thriller with Rick Baker so he knows zombies.
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Thom Eberhardt
- Audio Commentary with Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart
- Audio Commentary with Production Designer John Muto
- Valley Girls At The End Of The World – Interviews with Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart
- The Last Man On Earth? – An Interview with Actor Robert Beltran
- Curse of the Comet – An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator David B. Miller
- Still Galleries (Behind the Scenes and Official Stills)
- Theatrical Trailer
All in all, Night of The Comet is a must own for anyone missing the 80s-style horror films of yesteryear. Comedy, a bit of slapstick, and a good scare here or there make for a very enjoyable late night watch. Hell, after we sat through this, we had an unmistakable urge to go shopping and say “like” and “whatever” after every sentence…weird.
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