Night of the Comet
- 95 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
“The burden of civilization is upon us…”
Often, when you rewatch movies that you use to love years later, it’s a big disappointment, much like the 1985 horror movie Ghoulies was for me last week (Thanks, Netflix, for ruining my childhood), but the 1984 sci-fi movie Night of the Comet was a different story.
Two teenager sisters, Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha Belmont (Kelli Maroney) survive a revisit of Haley’s Comet by a stroke of luck. Almost the entire civilization exposed to the comet is in the process of turning into dust. The semi-exposed end up as bloodthirsty zombies hellbent on violence (which sucks for the people left alive).
The girls flee to the radio station in hopes that someone is still alive, and find a truck driver named Hector (Robert Beltran). I hate to say it, but he’s every Lou Diamond Phillips stereotype you could think of, complete with a gold cross and chain around his neck. Hector is a man of many hats. There are many jokes that could be said especially when he dresses up like a southern cowboy or Santa Claus. The English major in me says that these are symbols of our American culture and degradation, but I’m probably reading into it too much.
The trio take over the radio station and try to communicate with the outside world. They are discovered by a team of scientists hidden underground who attempt to find them. These scientists knew the comet was coming and were selfish enough not to warn anyone. They’re probably part of my misanthrope club. While they wait, Hector tries to find his family and the girls go to the mall for a fashion show montage (I admit it, after I got some guns, I’d probably go to the mall too).
I forgot how snappy one liners in the 80s were. My favorite line arises from Samantha’s dispute with her step mother, “You were born with an asshole, Doris; you don’t need Chuck.” This leads into a scene of girl on stepmother fighting, which is pretty awesome.
Let’s talk about the decor! It was neon lights, bright colors, and bad hair everywhere. Remember the single cross earring in one ear that Kiefer Sutherland wore in 1987’s vampire classic, The Lost Boys? It all begins here. Samantha ends up kicking butt in a cheerleader costume for most of the movie (for the guy movie watchers out there).
Another merit of the movie is the effort to explain everything. These girls didn’t just magically get martial art skills. They were trained by their military dad who is off in “banana land.” Samantha wasn’t at the party that would have gotten her killed because she tried to run away and ended up sleeping in a storage shed. Hector wasn’t driving the truck during the comet, he was getting laid by the hitchhiker he picked up in the back of the truck. See, everything wraps up nicely.
This is a very tame, campy sci-fi 80s movie, sure to be good for the squeamish.