Night of the Comet DVD

Saturday, 13 February 2010 09:47

A comet that last passed the Earth by 65 million years ago has got everyone excited. An unprecedented light show is promised, and people are partying out in the streets at night to feast their eyes as it blazes a trail across the sky. Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart – “Weekend at Bernie’s”, “The Last Starfighter”) is too busy making out with her boyfriend at the cinema where she works to notice, though.

The next morning, when she ventures out into the daylight to see where her boyfriend has got to, she is bemused. There are no people in the city streets, only piles of clothing and small heaps of a red dusty substance. The sky has also turned red, and the only sound is the wind billowing dust about.

Night of the Comet on DVDTwo events help bring the dazed girl to her senses: first a close encounter with a horribly disfigured “man”; second, as Reggie stops her motorcycle at the traffic lights on a road deserted bar the odd abandoned car, she realises she could be the only normal person left alive.

When she returns home, she is mightily relieved to find that her sister, Samantha (Kelli Maroney – “True Blood”, “Ryan’s Hope”) also avoided the comet’s deadly effects. Together they set off on a dangerous adventure involving zombified gangs, and a sinister group of scientists (led by the super-prolific Geoffrey Lewis – “Every Which Way But Loose”, “Double Impact”) with a macabre plan up their sleeves. And just because they survived the initial comet visitation, they are not necessarily immune to its undead-rendering after-effects...

“Night of the Comet” is a zombie movie aimed squarely at teenagers, but that does not mean it is entirely bereft of bite. Rather, it allows director Thom Eberhardt to tell the otherwise rather hackneyed story from the refreshingly lively, bubbly angle of a couple of strong-minded girls. Despite their occasional spats, the sisters have a tight bond. They also had a father in the defence industry who taught them how to handle guns and themselves, meaning they stand a much better chance of survival than you would expect.

The film’s depiction of the girls is solid and very entertaining; one minute they are utterly carefree, trying on dozens of outfits in a shopping mall, the next they are standing their ground against a band of Uzi-brandishing zombie hoodlums. They always look good, too, albeit dressed in very 1980s fashion. Along the way they form an unlikely alliance with Hector (Robert Beltran from “Star Trek: Voyager”), an equally streetwise but easy-going truck driver. Together they set up camp at a radio station and use it to try to make contact with any other human survivors.

As mentioned above, the movie is very much of its era. Big hairdos are supported by the clothing which is all bold, clashing colours, shoulder-pads and leggings. The sets often feature bright neon lights offset by dark blacks. The near-constant music is a heady mixture of ripe 80s pop including, predictably enough, Cindy Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, as well as some more moody synth pieces to accompany the action scenes. It all takes a little getting used to, but ultimately helps to encapsulate the breezy nature of the film.

For a zombie movie there are not many scares, and the action is quite light on the ground, too. The budget was blatantly fairly small, but it is used effectively. The “end of the world” scene is economically and chillingly set by a few shots of deserted streets, and by the fact that the only movement besides the protagonists is from machines like pool cleaners and lawn sprinklers going about their scheduled daily business, despite the lack of city inhabitants to appreciate their endeavours. There are one or two successful moments of spookiness including a nightmare about a pair of motorcycle cops who are not what they seem, and towards the end of the film the tone darkens somewhat to accommodate the scientists’ despicable plot. The aforementioned clothing store shootout is pretty exciting, too.

In summary, “Night of the Comet” is a solid teen horror movie. Whilst it is guilty of pilfering from “The Day of the Triffids” and countless zombie movies that came before it, it does stand up fairly well, thanks largely to a couple of wonderfully spunky and charismatic performances by Stewart and Maroney. The DVD (certificate “15”) is out now from Optimum Home Entertainment priced £15.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Sadly, the disk has no special features at all.

 

Movie Review: “Night of the Comet” (1984)

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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