Night of the Comet (1984) 2.52/5 (3)


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Rating: The Good – 70.7
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Duration: 95 mins
Director: Thom Eberhardt
Stars: Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran

“Let’s play a game. It’s called scary noises.” Night of the Comet is one of those peculiar little comedy horrors which popped up in the 1980’s and played by an unidentifiable set of rules. It’s an irreverent ancestor of Omega Man, a contemporary of Fright Night, and a forerunner of 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It tells the story of two LA “valley girls” who after managing to survive a doomsday comet are left to combat mutating humans and sinister scientists who have their own plans on how to survive in the new world. Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney do well together as the two sisters who are as handy with a submachine gun as they are with a hair-dryer. As is the case with the movie in general, there’s nothing spectacular about their chemistry or screen presence but they remain likeable and curiously interesting throughout. Robert Beltran (of Star Trek Voyager fame) adds some quirky support as an equally put upon survivor and he brings a nice balance to the proceedings.

The premise to Night of the Comet is explored with tongue firmly implanted in cheek and though it plays sarcastically on the personalities of the two previously well tended girls, it probably never takes itself seriously enough to make the most of those potentialities. What it does have, however, is a clever screenplay with a bone dry wit, some reasonably inspired action sequences, and best of all, some wonderfully sinister bad guys. The movie is at its most sophisticated when those three factors intersect and thankfully that happens on more than a few occasions. With regard to the sinister bad guys, Geoffrey Lewis’ coldly menacing scientist and Ivan E. Roth’s zombie gang leader are particularly delightful. The film was petering out until they showed up and while Roth’s is nothing more than a show-stealing cameo, Lewis’ character is important to the final act and the movie’s momentum is all the better for it. As is the case with these types of films, what makes Night of the Comet the cult classic it is, is the sense of fun it fosters. It’s not meant to be serious and if you can accept that, then the colourful characters and sharp writing will carry you through it with a smile.

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