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Friday, March 19, 2010

Night Of The Comet Review

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Night Of The Comet is one of those films you can't help but like. It has all the plots 80's cheese is known for and crosses many horror genres.
It came out in 1984 and is directed by Thom Eberhardt starring the beautiful Catherine Mary Stewart. The plot was original and the film does not take long to get into the action.

The Earth is expected to pass through the tail of a rogue comet—an event which has not occurred in 65 million years, the last time coinciding with the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. On the night of the comet's impending mid-December passage, large crowds gather to celebrate the event. Eighteen-year-old Regina Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) is an employee at a movie theater in southern California. Annoyed to find her high score on the arcade game Tempest has been beaten by someone with the initials "DMK", she then sleeps with her boyfriend, the movie theater projectionist, in the steel lined projection booth at the theater. Meanwhile, back at Regina's house, her sixteen-year-old sister Samantha (Kelli Maroney) argues with their stepmother, and Sam is punched in the face. The next morning, a reddish haze covers everything, and there are no people, animals or other signs of life, only small piles of red dust and empty clothes where people stood and watched the comet's passage. Regina and her boyfriend wake up, unaware that anything strange has happened. The boyfriend steps out into the alley behind the theater and is immediately killed by a zombie-like creature. When Regina comes looking for her missing boyfriend, she encounters the zombie in the act of eating something. The zombie tries to attack her, but she escapes. Finding herself in the newly-empty world, she goes home and finds her sister. Sam had spent the night in a metal yard shed after the fight with her stepmother. After figuring out what has happened, they hear a disc jockey on the radio and head to the station, only to find that it is just a recording. However, they do meet another survivor there, Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), who spent the night in the back of his steel semi truck. When Sam speaks on air, the broadcast is heard by government researchers in an underground think tank. They call and notify her that a rescue team is on its way. The scientists note that the zombies, though less exposed to the comet, will soon disintegrate into dust themselves. Reggie tells Hector that, as military brats, she and Sam were taught self-defense techniques and how to use firearms by their father. Hector then leaves to see if any of his family survived. In true Valley Girl fashion, Reggie and Sam go shopping at a local mall. After a surprise firefight with some zombie ex-stock boys, the girls are taken prisoner, but are saved by the rescue team from the think tank. Reggie is immediately taken back to their base. Audrey White (Mary Woronov), a dying, disillusioned scientist, offers to remain behind with Sam to wait for Hector. Another scientist who stays with them believes Sam has been exposed, and should be executed; however, Audrey realizes that Sam is actually healthy. After purportedly euthanizing Sam, she then kills the other scientist. When Hector returns, Audrey provides enough information for him and Sam to try to rescue Reggie. Audrey then gives herself a lethal injection. The researchers had suspected and prepared for the comet's effects, but inadvertently left their ventilation system open during the comet's passage. Meanwhile, Reggie has become suspicious, escapes, and discovers that the dying scientists have hunted down healthy survivors and rendered them brain-dead, so they can harvest their untainted blood to look for a cure. Hector and Sam free Reggie, along with a boy and a girl Reggie has rescued from being the next victims. Some of the researchers are killed in the escape, while the rest presumably perish from the comet's after-effects. Eventually, rain washes away the red dust and the world is left in a pristine condition. The group becomes a conventional family unit, except for Sam, who feels left out. When she ignores Reggie's warning and crosses a deserted street against the still-operating signal light, she is almost run over by a sports car driven by one Danny Mason Keener, a teenager her own age. After apologizing, he invites her to go for a ride. As they drive off, the car is shown sporting the initials "DMK" on the vanity plate, implying that he is the one who beat Regina's video game score.

The movie was considered a hit in it's time costing only $3,000,000.00 to make and grossing a little over $14,000,000.00. It came out during a time when vinyl records were still being produced and that was one of the options of buying the soundtrack. A bunch of well known 80's artists contributed to the soundtrack including Amy Holland, Revolver, and John Townsend. The music is one of the best parts of the film. The acting is standard 80's fare with the bright spot being Catherine Mary Stewart. She made her role very believable as a spoiled valley girl turned protective bad ass. She was also in The Last Starfighter the same year and went on to be in the obscure genre classic Nightflyers. The effects in Night Of The Comet are not great and you will get sick of seeing the cheaply made red sky but all in all the film is enjoyable. I can pop it into the dvd player a couple times a year. I give it props for having one of the best ideas for a Zombie outbreak. If you haven't seen it, take the time and give it a try. You can find copies for cheap on Amazon and we also carry it on ScareFlix. I give Night Of The Comet a 7/10.