Directed by Thom E. Eberhardt
Catherine Mary Stewart
As the Earth passes through the tail of a very rare comet, people celebrate and camp out to watch the event. After discovering that her high score has been bested, Reggie Belmont (Stewart) stays overnight at the theater where she works to spend time with her boyfriend and reclaim her crown. The next morning, the two teens find the city abandoned except for the reanimated dead, one of whom attacks Reggie’s boyfriend. Reggie reunites with her sister Sam (Maroney), who was unaffected by the comet because she spent the night sleeping in a metal shed after being abused by their stepmother. The girls go to the local radio station, hoping to find the DJ who is still broadcasting, but the station is empty and the broadcast has been pre-recorded. They meet up with Hector (Beltran), a truck driver who stopped in the town with his girlfriend for gas. They were attacked and his girlfriend was killed by zombies. When Hector leaves to locate his family in San Diego and the girls decided to hit the mall, where they are captured by the Think Tank group to be used as unwilling blood donors while the scientists look for a cure. It’s up to Reggie to escape and rescue the few remaining survivors.
I had a lot of fun with this flick and was pleasantly surprised by how watchable it was. Everything about it screams 80s in a really fun time capsule kind of way. It reads almost like a very dark teen comedy with horror and sci-fi elements mixed in, and even has a musical montage where the girls raid the mall and try on expensive clothes. The zombies are in the Return of the Living Dead vein; they use tools, talk, and make quips as they attack. It’s clear that Eberhardt meant for the film to be tongue in cheek – there are several references to the cast’s previous films and humorous callbacks to the film’s plot, including a Red Dust poster on the theater door after the comet reduces everyone to piles of red dust. I also really enjoyed the golden age sci-fi style voice over in the beginning of the film.
Stewart did a great job playing Reggie as a tough, no nonsense chick and I really enjoyed seeing a capable, independent heroine in a sci-fi/horror movie. It’s also great to see B-movie/character actress Mary Woronov (probably best known for her role as Miss Togar in Rock ‘n Roll High School) as scientist Audrey White.
Night of the Comet is a well loved B-movie and was referenced in 28 Days Later (Jim sees an abandoned Mercedes in the middle of the road) and Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror (the character El Wray is a nod to the ElRey Movie Theater where Reggie works and Muldoon calls for Lewis and Wilson, two members of the Think Tank group). I’d definitely recommend this movie for cult and 80s movie fans. It’s more funny than scary, and it would be appropriate for anyone over the age of 13. Night of the Comet is currently available on Netflix Instant.