Starring: Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran, Mary Woronov
Written by: Thom E. Eberhardt
Directed by: Thom E. Eberhardt
Run Time: PG-13
Rated: 95 Minutes
When I first saw Thom E. Eberhardt’s Night of the Comet, it was simply because of the original box (supplied here below). A comet comes and wipes out humanity. Yet another story that borrows heavily from Richard Matheson’s “I am Legend”. Only here, in Night of the Comet, it is not a lone male survivor, but two Valley Girls. Thus an Eighties gem is born.
Night of the Comet stars some Sci-Fi alumni that you will be quick to recognize. First and foremost the film’s lead, Regina, played by The Last Starfighter’s girlfriend, Catherine Mary Stewart. She is not only easy on the eyes but the exact kind of woman you want to have at your side when the world has ended. Quick with her geek knowledge, a desire to be the best, knows how to load a variety of small arms, and can ride a motorcycle. Yes, Stewart is the perfect woman for the apocalypse. Mary Woronov is more one for the die hard genre fans. She streaked into our fanboy hearts as Calamity Jane in Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000. We will always remember her as Miss Evelyn Togar in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. Shall we just say Chopping Mall? Without spoiling anything here, Woronov’s role in Night of the Comet is not her usual. Last and not least we have Robert Beltran, better known in Sci-Fi circles as Commander Chakotay. One has but to watch Night of the Comet and see how misused this fine actor was on Star Trek: Voyager. You get more from his role as Hector, the truck driver and apple of Regina’s eye than you do from multiple seasons of just sitting around doing nothing on Star Trek. The film has a fine cast and rises above its Eighties stereotypical rock soundtrack and material excess. Yet, this film would never have been made today.
The charm of Night of the Comet is its minimalist approach to bringing about the end of the world. Shot for a budget of 3 million dollars, you’ll be awe of downtown shots of LA that show only our heroes. With each camera trick, you’ll only be enticed more to see how the Night of the Comet can accomplish its tale.
When the comet known as “The Visitor” arrives, it turns everyone to dust. Our heroes, Regina and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) each have survived due to different circumstances. Their initial shock is quickly thwarted by a desire to go shopping. The city of Los Angeles is their’s, so why not? This, of course, brings out what is left of humanity. Some good, enter Hector, and some not, the “Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies”. Our world today is populated with numerous movies and TV shows about the end of the world. In fact, in most ways, the apocalypse has become passe. We are all prepared for it. What is charming and original here is that those who are prepared screw it up. So when humanity’s last hope is two Valley Girls armed with Uzis, we get a fun movie that still manages to nail the point home.
Night of the Comet may be the brightest spot in a series of movies that feature life after the apocalypse. For sadder fare, see Omega Man (1971), The Quiet Earth (1985), Last Man on Earth (1964) and I am Legend (2007), or just tune into AMC for The Walking Dead. With an Eighties soundtrack blaring and shopping on their priority list, two girls show us that there is something finer and better worth fighting for.
Pick up the stunning transfer from Scream Factory on Blu-ray here.