Night of the Comet (1984)
Don’t let the hording meandering of acrylic keyboard social justice pounding tell you that “strong female protagonists are a rarity in cinema [whiny voice]”. If you’ve heard something like this in person, I can guarantee it’s from a mouth that’s never enjoyed the satisfaction of a med-rare porterhouse steak or pulled a drag from a Camel cigarette inside of the bowels of a local video arcade or billiard hall while gripping her brass knuckles in the holster of her front-right Levi’s jeans pocket; they… are dunce capacitors. They are nincompoops. They bit the big one and can’t differentiate their vacant Aqua Net hair-hives from their cerebral glands located just below the pilonidal sinus. Female protagonists kick ass and have been around for decades already. Just look at the Horror and Thriller genres.
Merry Christmas, everybody!! Come gather round the yule log and stay warm by the fallen one’s light. It’s Christmas time; or Holiday time; or Hanukkah time. Or Kwanzaa, sure. Overall it’s my favorite season of the year.
So let’s come together and celebrate togetherness during the Pagan festivities with this month’s Retro Movie of the Month – 1984’s Night of the Comet. Night of the Comet, directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Catherine Mary Stewart (Last Starfighter, Weekend at Bernie’s), Kelli Maroney (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ryan’s Hope, One Life to Live), Robert Beltran (Lone Wolf McQuade), Mary Woronov (Silent Night, Bloody Night), Geoffrey Lewis (10 to Midnight, Salem’s Lot) with cinematography by Arthur Albert (Surf Ninjas, Happy Gilmore) and released on November 16th 1984.
Set in the wasteland that was the nineteen eighties Los Angeles. It’s Christmas time and there’s not a valley girl in sight. At least not yet as the earth passes through the tail of a comet for the first time in 65 million years. The last time happened during some extinction event (foreshadowing).
Reggie Belmont works at a Movie Theater. She’s an avid gamer and dating the dunderhead projectionist, Larry. She has a younger step-sister named Samantha who is always bickering with their stepmother Doris. After being punched in the face by the she-wolf Doris, Sam spends the night in the backyard shed like a castaway on Big Brother.
Large crowds of people all gather outside on this special night to witness the celestial light show in the sky. The next day however is something strange as the streets are empty. Not just the streets but houses, jobs and abandoned automobiles are without people. The emergency lines are off. The whole towns a ghost town and not like the SPECIALS song. It’s as if everyone just disappeared. The only thing stranger is the now crimson sky that has enveloped the entire planet’s atmosphere.
After a pump n done night of sex between Reggie and Larry, Larry is killed outside by a pipe wielding zombie when he walks outside half asleep and unaware of anything peculiar about his surroundings. When Reggie goes looking for his schlepping ass, she is attacked by said zombie but, unlike her dimwitted boyfriend, she escapes. She returns home to find her sister unaffected by the stranger things going on. And they go out on an investigation into the wasteland that is Los Angeles to find answers and whatever.
Atlantic released Night of the Comet in the US on November 16, 1984, earning $3,580,578 in its opening weekend. It stayed in theaters for six weeks and grossed $14,418,922 total in the US. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 83% based on 29 critics' reviews; the average rating is 6.4/10.
I’m not the biggest fan of the Walking Dead or of the zombie genre period… okay maybe not even a centimeter of a fan of TWD. But, the zombie apocalypse for me is like Turkey; yeah it’s good once in a while but, in recurring portions is downright boring. This however, is good and entertaining. I like how matter of fact it all played out even with the dated humor. The people act like people would act. At least, the few survivors we see during the story. The soundtrack is not bad and sparse. It’s good and the chicks that kick ass. Yeah, there’s a guy in this and he’s competent. But, it’s a female driven story and that’s okay. No need to get your testosterone pumped camo-panties all crunched up about this… ever. Film is art and there’s enough art for everybody.
So fringe your hair, commandettes. And strap your boots, boys. Keep it cool and chill and keep your damn holiday fingers on the Rewind Button.