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The Comet Cometh: ‘Night of the Comet’ retrospective (minor spoilers)

Updated on March 21, 2018

Original movie poster

Poster for the film, they really shouldn't have come outside
Poster for the film, they really shouldn't have come outside | Source

An asteroid killed the dinosaurs, not a comet

The 80s was filled with unique science fiction films with unusual circumstances. One such film was the science fiction comedy horror Night of the Comet, which came out in 1984 and was directed by Thom Eberhardt.

The film’s plot revolves around Earth passing through the tail of a comet, the same one that apparently killed the dinosaurs. People gather in huge groups outside to watch the comet, however the comet wipes out all human life, except for a selected few who managed to hide in shelters beforehand. Two such people are sisters Reggie and Sam, who must adapt to the new world. They must also survive zombies in the wake of the comet while looking for survivors.

Catherine Mary Stewart stars as Reggie. She starts off working at a movie theater and plays the arcade games there. She had the high score in ‘Tempest’ but loses it to someone called DMK. Of the two sisters she's the one who thinks things out. She ends up spending the night in a room in the theater lined with steel that protects her from the comet's effects.

Kelli Maroney plays Sam. She’s Reggie’s younger sister who’s the more outspoken of the two. While not aggressive, she does state her opinion on certain matters, of which actually causes her to sleep in a steel shed at the start of the film.

After the night of the comet, Earth’s sky becomes solid red the next morning. Civilization has been reduced to red dust. Both sisters find that not a single person is around, well except for zombies. Sam actually had a boyfriend named Larry, played by Michael Bowen, who spent the night with her, but he’s quickly killed by a zombie. The zombies are actually survivors of the night who were mutated by the comet.

Despite losing everyone they know and love, the two sisters are rather nonchalant about it. At first they seem oblivious to what’s going on, well at least Sam is, but come to realize that no one is left in the world. They find another survivor, a radio host Hector Gomez played by Robert Beltran, who becomes the third protagonist.

Reggie and Sam realize that there’s no one around to tell them “no” so they decide to go to a mall and go shopping for free. They dress themselves up and have a blast with the song ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ playing. More zombie shenanigans happen afterwards that eventually reveals that other normal humans have survived at a science base. However they’re evil scientist who are experimenting on survivors.

Back to the music, the film has a few good songs. One song is ‘Hard Act to Follow’ by Diana DeWitt, which plays when Sam’s dreaming about taking a bath. Another is the ending song ‘Learn to love again’ by Amy Holland and Chris Farren, which plays at the end of the film. But throughout the film there are several songs from the 80s that mixes well with the film.

Overall, the film is a hidden gem. Being an older film it isn’t talked of much these days, but those who’ve seen it all say that it’s good. The film is about isolation, and it does reflect this with empty cities and heavy wind as the only sounds. The final plot involving the scientist feels a bit out of place and there could had been more emphasis on the zombies, either add more of them to the film or take them out entirely to add to the isolated feeling. Night of the Comet may be a tad outdated by today’s standards but it’s still an entertaining film worth seeing.

Original trailer

© 2018 Staff Oneil


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