I don’t think we’ll ever run out of the good eighties post-apocalyptic movies. I know that’s a bold statement but every time I think I’ve seen them all, a new one pops up. That was the case with Night of the Comet, a cute little indie movie that caught me off guard. I was expecting something rather gloomy and got a rather upbeat and fun science fiction movie poking fun at the subgenre. It’s a blend of old fifties and sixties disaster movies and seventies foray into the post-apocalyptic environment. Our unlikely survivors of the apocalypse add another layer of fun to the whole thing.
The cast of Night of the Comet is just perfect and also quite memorable. Gorgeous Catherine Mary Stewart, whom you might remember from The Last Starfighter or Weekend at Bernie’s was THE formidable lady hero kicking ass and chewing bubble gum. Oh man, do I have crush on her or what? That’s what happens when you see Last Starfighter in your teens. And we also delightful Kelli Maroney as her cheerleading sister just to cover the other side of the character stereotype. Working on a tight budget all the actors were advised to stay in character if anything goes wrong. Like when her Uzi jammed she just improvised her line. Also, after she says “beam me up, Scotty” fucking Chakotay appears! If that wasn’t a good omen for Robert Beltran’s career, I don’t know what was.
The excitement grows in the general public as the mysterious comet keeps getting closer and closer to Earth. It will miss us by quite a distance but scientists are saying you’ll be able to see it with a naked eye. So, people are gathering outside their houses to witness this unique stellar event. Reggie, a young girl working in a movie theater, has better things to do like playing video games. That, however, is soon about to change.
Night of the Comet opens with a narration that sets the mood for the rest of the movie. Since the dawn of mankind, we’ve been looking at the sky, noticing weird shit. Comets were always treated as omens, making their way into a lot of ancient prophecies. For example, Halley’s Comet, one of the most famous ones, may have been recorded as early as 467 BC. Hale–Bopp comet served as an excuse for the Heaven’s Gate cult members to kill themselves in 1997. They thought it’s a spaceship and that aliens will pick them as soon as they get near the Earth. You can check out a couple of documentaries about them as the story is truly stranger than fiction.
Anywhoo, before I get completely distracted, let us get back to this awesome little movie. I say little because the budget was quite tight and you can feel that this is an indie production. You shouldn’t expect wonders from Night of the Comet as it has a bit of a pacing issue with the final third dragging on and on. However, if you really immerse yourself into the atmosphere, you should be fine. Plus, the main plot taps into a powerful and quite popular fantasy. One that I will leave you to discover for yourself. Enjoy.
Director: Thom Eberhardt
Writer: Thom Eberhardt
Cast: Robert Beltran, Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Sharon Farrell, Mary Woronov, Geoffrey Lewis
Fun Facts: The original working title for the film was “Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies”.