Night of the Comet (1984)

Posted: by Findlay

Night of the Comet (1984); Directed by Thom Eberhardt

In One Sentence: A comet passes close to earth one night and disintegrates or mutates those exposed.

Why You Should Watch: I’m a sucker for a sweet looking title card, and Night of the Comet has one. Anyway…

Set in LA during Christmastime(!), night of the comet is a funny, self-aware, self deprecating, well paced little horror/comedy that details the story of two valley girls figuring out how to stay alive in malls and clubs after a comet passes overhead one night, turning everyone exposed to it to ash or turns them into zombies.

One of the films main strengths comes from its lead Regina, played by the brilliant Catherine Mary Stewart. Regina isn’t the typical 80’s fawning, virginal scream queen. She’s got a motorcycle and she’s a fucking crackshot with a machine gun but she’s still retains a level of femininity that would usually be “butched out” by roles like this.

Another great aspect of the film is the way the comet’s impact is shown and how you’re steadily reminded of the effects it’s had on the world. Impressive shots of completely empty downtown LA come into play often and are brought in sometimes just to remind you “not alot of people are left”. The constant dust red sky is also a nice touch that lies ambient in the back of the film. Another reminder of the radiation from the comet.

The plot is choppy and odd but that shade of weird I am forever on board with. There are a few nice silly things in it that happen that remind me of other films like Return of the Living Dead III and Repo Man, so: Bonus!

The script is a joy and the comedically, really fantastic. It’s a really campy mix of vanity and poking fun at the apocalypse. It’s a fucking treat and a really cult, original feel.

There are a few nice touches that Thom Eberhardt includes in the film that just give it that slick edge other cult films at the time lacked. One being, the night after the comet passes, all life has stopped completely. Humans are nowhere to be seen but non-human activities continue. Sprinklers come on, heater timers click on, pool vacuums automatically come on, etc. It’s handled in a weird sombre way showing that the middle-class life is being threatened. It’s great! There are more but they’re for you to discover.

From the big hair to the neon lighting to the constant pop soundtrack that you will absolutely fall in love with, this is pure 80’s at its fucking apex. Even the Christmas aspect that’s obviously been shoehorned in feels 80’s as hell.

I could write tonnes more but I want you to envelope yourself in this gem. So give it a bash. You might love its oddity and the weird plot, but I know you’ll love the characters and knowing that Night of the Comet goes in the “pure fun” section along with Night of the Creeps (hey! they also have similar names).

Favourite Line: “The MAC-10 submachine gun was practically designed for housewives.”

Rating: 8/10 Ask for an Uzi 4 Xmas
– Findlay

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