As soon as I decided to watch my previous entry, Chopping Mall, I instantly knew that I would follow it up with Night Of The Comet, also starring the fantastic Kelli Maroney. Back when I worked at Wizard, a bunch of us would get together for movie nights. For one of them — dubbed Night Of The Living Nights — we watched Night Of The Comet, Night Of The Creeps and Nightbreed, all of which were firsts for me! I’ve seen all three again since then with mixed results. Creeps just is not for me (Atkins’ cartoon detective character is a real bummer) and I just saw the director’s cut of Nightbreed just last year. Now it’s time to talk Comet!
Or more accurately, it’s time to write about Night Of The Comet again! Turns I wrote a post about the film back in 2011 that I still stand by for the most part! So, for my full thoughts, go check that one out then come on back. I haven’t read that review since I wrote it and I’ve got to say, I love my comparison of a really nice piece of chocolate under a common shell. I think writer-director Thom Eberhardt (who also did the Final Destination-precursor Sole Survivor which I really want to see) created an unexpected masterpiece about young women dealing the apocalypse and all the mind-melting scenarios that come with it.
To back up a bit, the film’s about two sisters — Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Maroney) — who happen to survive the passing of a comet that turns everyone else in the greater LA area into dust or zombies. In their travels to the local radio station (did they ever really look like that?) and the mall, Regina and Sam run into fellow survivor Hector, stock boy punks with uzis and scientists from a think tank played by Mary Woronov (also of Chopping Mall fame) and Geoffrey Lewis who is such a “that guy” actor that I’m sure we’ll see him again.
The film shifts from Dawn Of The Dead to Day Of The Dead when the scientists split up the sisters, taking only Regina back with them and leaving Sam. However, it turns out that surviving the initial pass of the comet did not guarantee survival, so the grown-ups wind up creating more problems for themselves than they intended.
I’ve gone on about how much I like Maroney, but do want to add that I prefer this character to the one in Chopping Mall because she’s got a lot more depth. She and Stewart both do this fantastic thing where they vacillate between worrying about the end of the world and then being understandably bummed out that they won’t be getting calls from cute boys anymore. I’m sure some people would call moments like that and the super-fun mall trip corny, but they feel so real and authentic, especially given the ages of the lead characters. Really, everyone in this film is aces, but Woronov gets to do a lot as the scientist who’s reluctant to bring in new test subjects.
Let’s call the rest of this paragraph SPOILERY because it talks about the ending. I also think it’s very interesting how each sister walks away from the final confrontation with a different outlook on life. Regina has essentially established a model nuclear family with Hector and the two kids they saved from the scientists. Meanwhile, Sam just wants to have fun and, luckily, a cute boy rolls on into town looking for something similar! Good for them!
For our next film, I followed an actress who has already shown up twice. Can you guess who it is?!