Night of the Comet (1984)
-Review by Twila Mynhier Brooks (AKA The Death Dealer)-
I first saw this movie when I was in high school in 1987. One of my friends told me I had to see it because it was her all time favorite movie (she still stays this is one of the best movies ever made). She had recommended some real duds before, but I did indeed love the movie! This is still one of my favorite movies and probably my all time favorite 80’s sci-fi movie. It is a wonderful snapshot of the 1980’s and I now enjoy watching it with a sense of nostalgia and thinking how I have changed in the last 20+ years but the movie remains the same.
I rediscovered the movie about a year ago on TV while I was washing the dishes. I even had to stop my chore to sit down and watch it again. It was fascinating to see Robert Beltran before he became Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager (one of my favorite all time TV shows). Although I keep thinking of him as Chakotay as I watched the movie. He was wonderful as the object of sisterly jealously.
The movie begins with a comet approaching earth and in typical 1980’s style everyone is throwing a party (and having sales promotions) instead of worrying about being turned to ash or "Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies" (the original working title for the film). The main characters are sisters, Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney); who are just perfect cool girls of the 1980’s. Plus Reggie has a cool 1980’s job working at a movie theater and playing video games when she has down time and Sam is a perfect cheerleader (she even wears the cheerleader outfit
through the film).
The next morning was a great example of a Saturday morning. Reggie wakes up from some not too memorable sex with a co-worker (it was the 80’s after all) then can not find him but then finds he was killed/eaten (how many of us would not have wanted that to happen to someone on our morning after in the 80’s) by a flesh-hungry zombie. She uses her skills from her missing military dad to defeat the zombie in a wonderful example of girl power. The girls shooting guns later on in the movie was great also. Then she goes to find her sister (who knows nothing about what is going on) and they discover everyone has either turned to ash or turned into a zombie.
Next is the radio station (another cool example of the 80’s) where they united with Robert Beltran and discover that anyone in steel survived, anyone not protected at all turned to ash and anyone otherwise turned into a zombie. While at the radio station, Sam gets on the air and we discover a think tank in the desert also survived and they know there are survivors also. This would sound like a good situation but it is not. In a dig at all the uber smart folks out there, these scientists have forgotten to close the vents in their secret lab and they now are turning into the flesh-hungry zombies (but slowly). How many times have we uber smarts folks heard from our friends and relatives that we did not have enough sense to close the vents when a death comet comes our way?
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the scientists find the girls in of all places a mall. Again a perfect flashback to the 1980’s with a perfect mall. The scientists turn into the real villains of the movie (imagine scientists being evil) but our heroes are able to defeat them and move onto a seemingly happy life after the comet.
This movie is definitely worth the hour and a half out of your life. In a shout out to my BA in English background, I am forever looking for morals to a play, book or movie and couple that with me being an Estate Planning attorney, I really try to see a learning point in everything. However, with this movie all of the judges are probably dead and it looked like the legal system had taken a real hit so I can not say this is another example of getting your estate plan in order before the big death comet either kills you or turns you into a zombie. But as any view of the new Battlestar Galactica can tell you, you only need a few legal folks for the entire legal system to survive and here all the stuff was not hurt in the comet. As such there is stuff to fight over, so I am sure the legal system did live on, but I do not know if a good estate plan would have help anyone.