|NIGHT OF THE COMET
|Copyright 1984 Thomas Coleman and Michael Rosenblatt Productions
| Reviewed by Ethan
on 10 September 2008
- Hector - Robert Beltran! (You know, the guy from "Voyager.")
- Regina - Catherine Stewart.
- Samantha - Kelli Maroney.
- Carter - Geoffrey Lewis.
- Audrey - Mary Woronov.
|I remember seeing this movie several times on tv as a kid. It's hard to have any kind of proper discernment when you're 8 years old and sitting there chewing on pixie sticks and gulping down Hi-C, but once again I've decided to smash my head into the wall of nostalgia and see if I can survive the Night of the Comet. Well, I did, but just barely.
The movie starts out with Regina working at the local movie theater, while outside the entire city is packed into the streets to await the approach of the big one, some Haley's comet on steroids that everyone is just 'dying' to see (sorry, couldn't help it). So Regina is rocking and rolling at the Galaga arcade and couldn't care less about the smoking ice ball about to penetrate our atmosphere. She's about to get penetrated by her co-worker Larry anyhow, which ironically enough, is partially what saves her life. So the comet comes while Larry and Regina are going at it deep down in the heavily fortified confines of the movieplex and the next day, Regina is stilted by Larry as he runs off angry about some missing film roll or something; so he leaves without even kissing Regina good morning. Regina then stumbles into the street to find a barren wasteland with no one around. The only thing that's left are members-only jackets and acid washed jeans, blowing around in the streets in the now red colored world. One thing about this red coloring. I know it was obviously used to give the idea that the comet has dusted the planet in killer salt, but they really overuse it. It's like the DP got a hold of a really thick red camera filter and the director just forgot to take it off, because there's like this hazy red filtering to almost every scene in the movie. It's a neat effect, and one that isn't used much any more, but that's mainly because camera color filters are intended for dramatic effect and should be used sparingly. Watching this movie will make you think you need to see an eye doctor after it's over.
So Regina is attacked by the first of many zombies in the movie, and this is where we learn the plot device of the movie. Apparently, the comet covered the planet with some kind of killer smoke stuff, and everyone is either blasted into dust or radiated into zombies. Only the lucky few who managed to stay inside metal buildings or underground survive. Regina bashes her gory opponent with a stick and grabs Larry's motorcycle (who won't be needing it ever again) for a quick getaway. She makes it home where shes tries to convince her sister Samantha about the global nuking that's just taken place outside. This is a silly scene, because the whole world is covered in Martian cocaine and there's no one, NO ONE around, yet it take Samantha several minutes to realize that everyone else has been blazed away (Hey, you can't blame her. What else would you expect from a gum chewing, blonde 80s valley girl?) Samantha freaks out and Regina pulls her back to Earth and they decide to try and find other survivors. They come up with the brilliant plan to go to the local radio station and send out an SOS. This is where they meet Hector (er, the Voyager guy). Hector is decked out with a .38 pistol that's so small it looks like he found it in a box of cinnamon toast crunch. I mean really, you'd be in more danger of choking on that pistol than killing someone with it, much less a flesh eating zombie. Oh well, I guess you use whatever is handy. So Hector's a truck driver and he and the girls team up to try and figure out what to do. One more thing about the radio station before we move on. There's a short scene where Samantha falls asleep and has a dream about getting molested by a zombie cop. It's a short scene, and they didn't do what they really could have done with it, but it was nice to see some sexy legs and a girl in her lingerie, so it had to be mentioned. That scene is about as much TNA as you're gonna get in this one. So Samantha gets the bright idea of playing DJ and spins some tunes over the air waves when she gets a call. More survivors! Sadly for them it's sunglass wearing, special operations military scientist guys. Bad news for any b-movie characters. Never trust the government, especially when they're pale, cave dwelling mutants who are about to become dust crust or flesh eating zombies.
After this the movie kind of loses focus for about 20 minutes. The girls decide to go shopping, but not before loading up with some mac-10s (finally, some logic clears the red smoke), and Hector goes charging off to find his mom, but instead finds some kid who turns out to be a knee knibbler and attacks him at the house. This is one of the creepier scenes, and if more were done like this one, it could have a more mediocre movie (think Resident Evil meets Omega Man). But alas, this movie is destined for the bargain bin at the 80s crap shack. Back at the undergound base, Carter and Audrey are playing the 'should we kill them or let them go' eternal debate that seems to take place between movie villains. Seems this is the only sort of morality bad movie villains know; kill or set free. What, were these people zoologists in another life? Now kick up the Cyndi Lauper tunes because it's time for the girls to have some fun. Regina and Samantha are having what must be every chick's dream come true: a shopping mall all to themselves! And no worries about red tag sale days or midnight madness! But their days of basking in the freedom of Victoria's Secret are over, because there's a bad bunch of punk rocker mall stock boy zombies to stop them from shoplifting (watch out for a cameo by everyone's favorite 80s surfer boy, Chris Pederson, who was in the original Suburbia and also Platoon). The movie finally tries to get back on track when the military scientist dudes in shades show up and blast the mall zombies to save the girls at the last minute. Hey, where's Hector when you need him? His role as cowboy superhero so far has been extremely ineffective.
Hector does show back up at the radio station, wearing a Santa Claus outfit and bringing christmas presents. Why or how he managed to avoid the movie's plot and flesh eating zombies is beyond me. He just disappears from the movie for like 20 minutes, and he's the hero! Talk about ballsy writing. Hey, we're the writers. Let's do something new and fresh. Yeah, let's take the hero out of the movie for half the movie and rely on two valley girls to carry the load of the entire plot. So anyway, Audrey is waiting for Hector at the radio station and realizes that she's gonna be floor mop pretty soon so she shoots herself up with kill kill juice and fades off into the military base in the sky, but not before complimenting Hector on his Santa suit as well as his good looks. This is one of the other good scenes, and offers some kind of artistry, as primitive as it is and for being filmed by a director who's addicted to red camera filters and bad zombie makeup.
The girls are taken to the underground base and we finally get to see the nefarious plans of the mutant military scientists. Apparently, they've been working on some kind of antidote for the comet's affects, but they need living tissue and blood to make it work. So that's why they want to capture the survivors! How evil! How insidious! How... very lame. Anyway, the movie's been lurching along in ketchup stained martian goo for the past hour, so I guess the movie needed to try and poke us with some kind of plot movement towards its thrilling finale. By this point I'm starting to get a little irritated by the pointless plot and shallow action scenes that I'm just gonna spare myself and the rest of you by flying to the end. The girls are at the base, blah blah blah. Regina's being interrogated by Carter, blah blah blah, etc etc. The girls finally realize the dangers of the situation, and they make friendly with these two annoying kids who are being prepped for a petri dish by the evil government blood suckers. It doesn't look good for the girls though, because they're surrounded by the military guys who are slowly mutating into zombies, and there's no way out of the base, much less beyond the well guarded perimeter.
But Hector shows up, cowboy style, and finally at this late point of the movie, does a few heroics to stop the guards and rescue the girls and the kids. Now when I say this, I don't mean he storms in with an AR-15 and smokes the critters with flames shooting everywhere and helicopters flying in for low ground attacks. No, this is a low budget 80s movie, so instead he just taunts a couple of guards, knocks them out, then sets up some kind of cheap explosive thing to blast Carter's car while he's in it. Very cheap, very poorly done, but at least it gave them all a chance to make their break and they ride off into the highly red colored sunset. In the last scene we're back into the empty city with everyone dressed for some reason in their Sunday best. But the best part is, no more red sky! Yes! We finally get to take off the martian 3D glasses, but now there's only like 2 minutes left in the movie! So some dork shows up out of nowhere and offers Samantha a ride, and her last chance at a good screwing, since it's obvious now that Hector and Regina are gonna pair up. Samantha drives off with the guy she doesn't know, and that leaves Regina, Hector, and their two new adopted kids to seed the future of the human race. Kick up one more cheesy 80s tune and let the credits roll (and yes, the credits are in red).
This movie really sucks, and the thing that makes you mad after watching it is all of the undeveloped potential it had. I mean come on, a nasty comet wipes out like 90% of the world's population, and the only ones left are a small band of survivors and creepy zombie monsters. This movie was soaking in badass action potential. Think about a Chuck Norris or Charles Bronson type guy riding around on a motorcycle with a shotgun in his hand, blasting zombies on his way to freedom in the urban wastelands! How awesome would that be?! But no, instead we got 2 valley girls, an inept Indian cowboy named Hector, a few goofy looking military thugs, and so much red dust that not even all of the Hoover vacuum cleaners in the world could suck it up. Night of the Comet doesn't hold up well at all, and to think that I sat through it completely sober must be some kind of miracle. There's some goofy banter between the characters, and you could see that the director was trying to put a different, sort of mall kids spin on the survivial horror genre, but that's just not a good basis for an action/horror movie; that would be like plopping Paris Hilton down in Raccoon City and expecting big box office returns. One last thing, the movie ends with 6 survivors left: Hector, Regina, Samantha, her new boyfriend, and the two kids. The idea that 4 adults and 2 adolescent children could provide a successful gene pool is just silly. Even if they bred like rabbits, the gene pool of 6 people wouldn't be enough to kick up a small village worth of people, much less the entire planet. Either way, this movie's survivors are doomed, just like the movie itself. Night of the Comet just makes me see red, literally and figuratively.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- You can survive a killer comet as long as you stay inside a metal building or go underground.
- In case of danger, make a run for the local radio station and play cheesy 80s music.
- If you get killed by a killer comet the only thing left of you will be your Members Only jacket and some red dust.
- When you're the hero of a movie, and all looks bleak, escape and only come back AFTER you've found a Santa costume (and a bigger gun!).
- It's hard to look threatening when the gun you're wielding is smaller than your pinky finger.
- You can conceal your zombie mutations as long as you wear sunglasses.
- There are military bases in the desert that exist solely for the purpose of surviving and researching killer comets.
- Red camera filters shouldn't be used in movies unless the audience is given Tylenol and contact lenses.
- Regina: "The MAC-10 submachine gun was practically designed for housewives."
- Samantha: "I mean, what if Hector's gay?"
Regina: "I'm sure..."
Samantha: "Think it over. You said he didn't come on to you last night."
Samantha: "So that means that the last guy on Earth is either a gentleman, or a fag. I mean, what are the odds in L.A.?"
- Audrey: "What do you expect me to do, Oscar, go for my gun?"
Oscar: "Of course not."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Regina: "You know, if we spend the night in here we're going to miss the comet." |
Larry: "It's not like you can't see it on television, Regina." (Speaking on the phone.) "All right. Hey, get your guy here in an hour."
Regina: "Yeah, well maybe I want to see it for real. OK?"
Larry: "Hey, television's real. Television's very real."
||Samantha: "I can't get anyone on the phone." |
Regina: "Sammy, you can't get anybody on the phone because everybody's gone."
Samantha: "What? Would you grab the muffins?"
Regina: "I swear to God!"
Samantha: "You made me swallow my gum."
Regina: "There's nobody! I mean there's no-body!"
Samantha: "Oh, right - nobody. I'm sure."
||Hector: "Hey, I know what you're thinking." |
Regina: "That you're a cretin."
Hector: "Sweetheart, you haven't seen those freaked-out zombies running around here?"
Regina: "Yeah, I was jumped by one."
Hector: "Well you got off lucky."
||Audrey: "Dr. Carter, I'd like to say up front, 'I'm opposed to this.' There's no reason to bring those people, or any other survivors, back here." |
Carter: "What about the disintigration factor? You just want to let that happen?"
Audrey: "We don't know that the condition is progressive."
Oscar: "I think we've established that, Audrey. Partial protection seems to result in a slowing of the overall effect, but progression is steady in any case. Drying of the body fluids..."
Audrey: "Oh, get to the point, Oscar. We've heard this a thousand times!"
Audrey: "What about the dust?"
Oscar: "Ultimately, there is nothing left but calcium dust!"
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Regina is trying to convince Samantha that the comet turned almost everybody into red dust. Sam is being a hard sell.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
|Re: Night of the Comet
Posted on October 02, 2008, 06:23:14 PM by Rev. Powell
I didn't think this was quite as bad as the reviewer did... not good, be any stretch, but kinda fun in a dumb 80s way. It has a small cult following, partly because of the female action heroine (I'm sure the reviewer knew that Hector was not
the hero, but was just making a clever chauvinistic joke...
The one question I'd ask the director or screenwriter, if I could, was: why was Regina shown prostituting herself early in the film? I have no idea what sleeping with a guy for $15 was supposed to add to her character.
|Re: Night of the Comet
Reply #10. Posted on February 16, 2012, 06:31:25 PM by Nakuyabi
While I don't agree with the review itself, I do agree with the general rating. Night of the Comet, like a lot of other cheesy flicks, probably survived its poor returns at the box office by getting shopped out to cable and then to regular TV on the graveyard shift. (That's where I remember seeing this movie for the first time back in the early 1990s.) Certainly the production values are at the made-for-TV level all the way.
Yes, the reviewer did miss a few points that help shrink those plot holes a bit: checking the radio station because it was still broadcasting was generally a pretty good idea, that little gun Hector was carrying might not be much use in a real firefight, but it's certainly good for a punk or two one might happen to meet while traveling, and Samantha didn't find her way to the creepy science guys' vault until very late in the film when Hector brought her there in the trunk of his car. There's at least some plausibility to all the various characters' actions.
The real problem with Night of the Comet, in my opinion, is that its makers couldn't make up their minds what kind of movie it was: zombie sci-fi thriller, or post-apocalyptic rom-com. Looking back on Robert Beltran after having seen his performance as Chakotay in Star Trek: Voyager, a thing I realize is that he's playing the same kind of character he was with Chakotay; a level-headed guy who deals with every problem sensibly in a way that's too understated to fit into an action flick. Mad Max, he ain't. Put him in a soap opera or chick flick, and he'd fit just fine. Put him in a zombie flick, and he has every reason to survive to the end, but he's not going to be hammy enough to be the wasteland warrior such films require for main characters.
Done a certain way, romance and post-apocalyptic stories might combine well, but zombies and romance pretty much don't. This movie would be a lot better if it had dumped either Hector or the zombies. Dump Hector, and you'd have a decent if unremarkable zombie flick (like a zillion others). Dump the zombies, and you'd have a pretty good chick flick that girls could persuade their boyfriends to watch with them. I, for one, would prefer to dump the zombies and just focus on the serious business of repopulation.
Despite what this reviewer Ethan says, I think the characters could make a go of repopulating the world, especially since from what we've seen so far, there are probably more survivors than we saw. Even just three couples (assuming those two children they rescued aren't too closely related) could conceivably repopulate the world in a very short time. There's a fair bit of genetic diversity among the guys, only Reg and Sam are closely related, and assuming no one tries any wife-swapping, everyone in the next generation would feel no compulsion to marry anyone closer than a first cousin. (Despite the eyebrows it raises nowadays, I doubt anyone in the post-apocalyptic culture is going to complain about a few first cousins getting married.) By the time the third generation started having kids, there could be well over a hundred people in their tribe. The world managed to get itself populated the first time with less than that.
I see a lot of loose ends that could have been tied together if the writers had made up their minds, in fact. Audrey's suicide, in view of the weather washing away the noxious dust a day or so later, seems especially pointless. Yes, Regina's sleeping with some coworker for a $15 just so she could spend the evening away from her atrocious mother also strikes me as pretty sleazy, but if the writers had dumped the zombies and focused on repopulation, that could have been used for a bit of a plot point later as well: having Reg realize she's going to have to clean up her act and get monogamous with Hector if she and the rest of the human race are to survive. In fact, having her find out that she's pregnant from that little one-night stand could potentially be a funny way to end the story:
Regina: Uh, Hector? I'm pregnant.
Hector: Already? We've only been trying a month.
Regina: Uh, well... you know, I was already worried I was a little late when we tied the knot. I think this one's about two months along.
Hector: Two months!? Who...? Ah, don't tell me. I don't want to know who he was. I said I wanted to be a father, and I will be. Just... make sure the next one looks like me, got it? And every one after that. We've got to stick together and make this work if we're going to stay alive.
Regina: I got it. I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, honey. You know you're the only one for me now...
Hector: I know.
Regina: No, I mean, really, you're the only--
Hector: I know!
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