I was a strange child of the 80’s. That might come as no surprise to any of you that know me, but while people look back fondly at movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Seriously people, Ferris is a sociopath. How can you not see this?) or The Breakfast Club or any plethora of so-called ‘classics’ I was developing something more of an…askew taste.
So it’s no surprise that Night of the Comet was right up my alley.
Contrary to popular belief, the 80’s was actually a pretty great decade for film. The advent of video meant that bigger chances could be taken, so long as they made their budget back. The Cannon film group in fact made this their business model, by selling off the rights to films they hadn’t even made yet, they accumulated a budget to make said films. Rinse, repeat.
Night Of The Comet is one of those films where you think you know what it’s going to be about…and then it isn’t in any way what you thought. The set up is pretty simple, a comet is passing by and everyone heads out to watch it – as of course you would. Then all the people watching it turned to ash, except some who turn into zombies and then there’s a team of mad scientists who knew what was going to happen and locked themselves away in a vault.
It’s a mix of homages to films of yore and frankly we don’t get enough of the ‘passing comet causes bad things to happen’ genre, fans of Maximum Overdrive represent! It doesn’t all make sense, and though the DVD cover promises zombie and Uzi action, in reality there’s less than 10 minutes of zombies, and the most use the uzi gets it shooting up a car.
Instead we have the hilarious idea that at the end of the world our fate is in the hands of a couple of Valley Girl sisters, one of which is a cheerleader (The other, and the lead, is played by Catherine Mary Stewart. Not only does she bone down in a Cinema projection booth, she plays arcade games too. Obviously she’s the ideal woman). Oh and there’s a guy who I was sure was Eirk Estrada from CHiPS until I looked the film up on IMDB. While the film is light on zombie action, we instead just get to see what happens when a couple of people find out they’re the last people alive. They go shopping of course, because why wouldn’t you? One character later jokes that he owns 23 cars for example.
So yeah it’s light on scares and violence, and language for that matter (The film gets one use of the word “Fuck” – but they make it count). But it makes up for it with charm and its performances.
Seriously, I really thought that guy was Erik Estrada.