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!
I’ve seen Night Of The Comet once before, but it was at a Manly Movie Mamajama (also featuring Night Of The Creeps and Nightbreed) with a bunch of pals, so I didn’t remember much about it beyond the basic premise: a pair of sisters happen to live while most of the world is taken out by a comet, also there’s zombies. See, the MMMs revolve around a bunch of dudes drinking beer, eating greasy food, watching movies and cracking jokes, so it’s probably not the best place to see a movie for the first time. Having watched it again on October 2nd, I was surprised that some very unusual elements from the movie remained in my head like how huge and weird the radio station was and one scene in a mall where one of the girls puts down an Uzi-type gun and picks up a shoe.
To elaborate on the plot a bit, sisters Regina (the older, more responsible one) and Sam (the immature one) survive when a comet passes by because they happened to be in lead-lined rooms at the time. Neither of them quite catch on to the fact that everyone’s dead or turned into a zombie right away, but after they do they head to one of the most opulently decorated radio stations around (by 80s standards) where they meet a dude named Hector. They split back up and the girls go to the mall where some geeks from a think tank come to pick them up, but there’s something sinister going on.
I don’t want to give too much away because I want you guys to see this movie. When I watched it the first time, so many jokes were being thrown around that it was hard to really focus on the movie. Plus, some of the performances and costumes are so over the top that it can be hard to take them seriously, but there’s some real meat on the bones. Both Regina and Sam have some real moments of clarity and sadness to their performances. Plus, I give huge credit to any production that can make a big city look deserted. I also have an affinity for big, empty mall scenes where people run free and take whatever they want, but that’s a solid tether to my love for Dawn Of The Dead.
Another element of the flick I really dug was the characterization of Regina, mainly because she was written exactly like every slick 80s friend in every movie I can remember. Think Styles from Teen Wolf (the movie, haven’t seen the show), but a girl and you’re pretty much in the right headspace. She loves playing video games to the point where she gets crazy pissed that somebody wormed their way onto the top score of the game she plays while goofing off at her movie theater job. The actress pulled it off and made a million dudes wish they could pal around (and make out) with her.
Night Of The Comets is like a Godiva chocolate covered in an M&M shell, it’s slick and colorful on top, but when you get bellow the surface, there’s really something there to sink your teeth into. Okay, maybe not a Godiva chocolate, but something better than you’d expect inside of an M&M. It’s not a Halloween or Jaws by any means, but it’s more than you’d expect from the flick.
Wow. I fully intended to watch both Weekend At Bernie’s (1989) and Weekend At Bernie’s II (1993) within a fairly short amount of time. Instead, it turned out to be an almost two week process thanks to watching so many horror movies and falling asleep a few times during WAB2. In fact, Rickey and I tried watching 2 after we watched Terror Train. I had watched the first one and thought I had seen 2 when it came out, but was completely blown away by it’s weirdness. Not so blown away that I could stay awake, mind you, but it’s pretty crazy.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Everyone always remembers the WAB plot very simply: two guys pretend like their boss is dead so they don’t get in trouble. But it’s SO much deeper than that. See, our heroes played by Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy are interns at Bernie’s firm (insurance, I believe). They find a discrepancy of millions of dollars in one account. Bernie asks them to come to his house in the Hamptons to celebrate the discovery, but what he’s really doing is setting them up so his mobster cohorts can kill the guys. Flipping the script, the mob boss tells his goon to kill Bernie instead. The goon gets there before the guys, kills Bernie with a lethal injection and leaves him, passing the guys on their way to Bernie’s house. At first they don’t think he’s dead, just sleeping, but eventually they figure it out, but just as they do a traveling party shows up to rock out and have fun. The girl Silverman’s trying to bag also shows up, which is why he doesn’t say anything (he’s the straight-laced one to McCarthy’s wacky dude). So, at first it’s a “we’re already in too deep” kind of a story, but then the guys hear a message on Bernie’s answering machine with Bernie asking about killing the guys. So now they keep Bernie around so they don’t get killed.
All in all it’s a pretty fun, though fundamentally morbid film that keeps getting crazier and crazier, but in a way that WAB 2 tops in spades. See, in the sequel Silverman and McCarthy are back (it’s only a day or two after the events of the first one, but these dudes are Clearly worse for wear after the four years that passed in real time) and they’re trying to use dead Bernie to get the money that he stole from his company. To do that they have to take him to St. Thomas, but before they can do this, a couple of voodoo dudes grab Bernie and bring him half-back to life. Basically, when music plays around the corpse, Bernie gets up and dances his way toward the money (hence the “Zombies” label). It seems they were hired by the mobsters to find the money. Meanwhile, firm employee Barry Bostwick, is on the guys’ trail (they were fired from their job after returning to New York and getting blamed for the missing money), but he keeps looking crazy and getting arrested.
This is absolutely a weird movie. If you have trouble accepting the idea that two guys could haul a dead man around for two days in the original, then steer clear of this one. If the scenes where Bernie walks under water thanks to a Walkman and headphones to find the treasure aren’t enough, they meet up with a girl who’s father studies voodoo, but also accepts the fact that these men have been carting around a corpse-turned-zombie for days with little-to-no problem.
If you like bad movies, this is it. A studio actually made this movie and released it in theaters. That’s shocking to me. To add to the weirdness, McCarthy plays his character like a coked up chimp, which is distracting to say the least. But, with a few beers and friends, I think this movie is a party waiting to happen. Both are still on the NetBox, so you can hit them up whenever you want!