Feb 262012
 

Director:  Thom Eberhardt

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 95 minutes

Release Date: 11/16/1984

Genre:  Comedy, Science Fiction, Horror

Cast: Regina ‘Reggie’ Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart), Samantha ‘Sam’ Belmont (Kelli Maroney), Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), Audrey White (Mary Wornov), Dr. Carter (Geoffrey Lewis)

Synopsis: In this nearly forgotten 1984 flim, two sisters, Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney) wake up the morning after a much hyped comet has passed over earth.  They find that they are among the few survivors in Los Angeles, and almost everyone else has been turned into red dust or are murderous but disintegrating zombies due to strange radiation emmenating from the comet.

Quickly shrugging off the death of everyone they know, Sam and Reggie have fun in the deserted city by getting expensive clothes and driving fast cars and find survivors.  Another survivor, Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), meets them a unmanned but automated radio station and despite initial distrust they band together.  Another group of survivors, former stockboys at a department store, are not as friendly and Sam and Reggie barely get away from them.  Luckily the girls know how to use firearems and are now packing some  serious heat and are able to outgun the opposition.

Later, they encounter a group of scientists led by Dr. Carter (Geoffrey Lewis).  After some trickery,  Reggie is taken back to the scientists’ base while Sam and scientist Audrey White (Mary Wornov) wait for Hector to meet up with them.  Audrey tells them that the scientists were exposed to the comet radiation and are performing dangerous experiments on survivors to help find a cure and that Reggie is in danger.

While Reggie is being menaced by a degenerating Dr. Carter, Sam and Hector break into the facility.  After much chaos and shooting,  Sam and Hector rescue Reggie and two kids, and in a spectacular explosion, kill all of the rest of the scientists.

Since all threats have been removed they throw their weapons away in a trash can.  Reggie,  Hector and the kids  have become the last nuclear family on earth, but Sam is alone.  As they are crossing a street, Sam is almost hit by a fast car driven by the only other living man and they drive off into the sunset!

Pro: I loved this movie, when I first saw it in 1984, I thought that all Reggie and Sam were really cool, that the special effects were awesome and the story written by the smartest writers in the world.  Since then, I have ended up seeing it about once every 5 years.  My opinion of it has changed during that time.  I still really like it, but I see it more as a time capsule from 1984 and when I want to explain 1984, I show people this movie because;

  • I think that the comet reflects the fear of nuclear weapons and that everything could be destroyed in an instant.  The comet even killed with radiation and the surviving victims were falling apart like those hit by a real bomb.
  • Contains a music montage consisting of Cyndi Lauper’s, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” while Reggie and Sam are trying on clothes.
  • Reggie’s obsession with the arcade game Tempest and anger at someone else taking the top spot on the scoreboard.
  • Geoffrey Lewis being in it, because I think that he was in most films from the early 1980s.

Con: I already mentioned that even though I thought it was the greatest film ever, but it has some major flaws;

  • The dialogue is horrible in general.
  • Some of the special effects are not top notch, even by the standards of the day.  In particular, I’d say they did a really bad job with the funky looking skies.
  • The fact that the survivors were safe because the happened to be inside metal structures with no special air system, but the fact that the scientists happened to have the windows open they were doomed seems a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

Conclusion: Night of the Comet is pretty typical of 1980s horror, but I think that it does things better than most of the genre.  Even though it is rarely on tv, this is one of my guilty pleasures, and I will watch it every time!

Bonus Trivia: Geoffrey Lewis is the father of Juliette Lewis and also, in 2005, Geoffrey Lewis and Mary Woronov both appear in the Rob Zombie movie, The Devil’s Rejects

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 3
Story 2
Special Effects 2
Would Watch Again? 4
Average 2.75

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