Night Of The Comet (1984)

OCTOBER 8, 2008


Being a fan of zombie films who lives in the “valley” of Los Angeles, I’m not sure how I never got around to seeing Night of the Comet, a zombie film about valley girls, but if I had seen it a while ago, I think I’d feel pretty much the same way about it.

It’s not a bad film, but Christ, where the hell are the goddamn zombies? Zombie scenes make up less than 10 minutes of the film, and they’re all pretty brief. I wasn’t aware that the film was PG-13 until halfway through, so I was also pretty confused as to why the zombie scenes were so tame as well. If you’re looking for some mid 80s zombie splatter, this is probably the last film I would recommend.

So if the zombies aren’t really a problem, what is? Yep, you guessed it: MAD SCIENTISTS (aka EVIL HUMANS). Led by Geoffrey Lewis (was that guy always old?), they are the real threat here, doing usual mad scientist type things. Needless to say, these scenes weren’t as exciting as the earlier ones, when the girls first figure out their predicament and spend some time living as the only people in Los Angeles.

And that’s where the movie really shines. The “desolate” LA area is well done (even though I know how they did it!), and since our heroines are teenagers, their actions are believable. Also, I can’t help but love Catherine Mary Stewart’s character; one of her most prominent character traits is that she is determined to retain her top score on Tempest (never one of my favorites, but to each her own). Also, she fucks a dude in a movie theater, which pretty much makes her the greatest woman alive.

The dude she fucks is the great Michael Bowen, in one of his earliest roles. I wish his character didn’t disappear after 10 minutes, but since he plays a guy who trades horror film prints, I will take what I get. It’s also nice to see him in a non psychotic/antagonistic role. I like that dude.

The movie’s also got a lot of great little comedic touches. A lot of it is spoof/homaging the old 50s-60s scifi/horror movies, and the idea of two valley girls being mankind’s savior is kind of amazing. There’s also a lot of nice sight gags; my favorite is when one of them is buying shoes and lays her Uzi down on the table. It’s just a ridiculous sight.

The DVD just finally came out, but it’s entirely devoid of features. Would have been nice to have a little retrospective piece (or a new commentary), especially since a lot of the movie is so steeped in 80s music and fashion – it would be hilarious. Oh well. Movie’s still kind of fun, and it’s nice to have a cinematic relic of a specific time/place.

What say you?


  1. one of my favorite flicks! i don't care what anyone else has to say. got to see this at alamo drafthouse for the first time since i was a lad and it still held up. catherine mary stewart is almost up there with annabeth gish in my list of movie crushes from the eighties.

  2. If it ever happens that teenagers rule the world..... I'm taking that elevator to the moon those guys are designing. Hopefully it will be done by then.

  3. "I'm not crazy, I just don't give a FUCK!"

    Gold, Jerry. Gold.

  4. One of my childhood favorites saw it in 6th grade in the theater - and i was still at the height of my "the world is going to blow up" phase. had such an obvious crush on stewart. I am curious tho (and i feel lame asking) but.. how did they do the desolate LA streets scenes?

  5. Downtown LA is a ghosttown from like 6pm to 6 am. Holidays even longer. Run down there and film whatever you want, and presto - instant deserted metropolis. Phantasm IV did the same thing. Kind of awesome, actually.

  6. I am a huge fan of this movie for many reasons - nostalgia being a big one. Having been a horror fan since I was a kid though, I always end up grasping tightly to the very few horror films with lead female characters who don't suck, who fight back, and generally who don't make me want to cringe.

  7. awesome!
    i was about to ask how they did it...and there's my answer

  8. The 80's rocked! This was great in its day, have not seen it since and may have second thoughts now, but remember getting a real kick out of it. I'd go shopping too!

  9. I saw this in the theater just after I had graduated high school. I went back to see it I think 3 other times. Of course, movies were like 4 bucks in those days. Indeed, the short-shifting of the living dead is one of the many bits that's just thrown in and not developed. Whether it's intentional or not, I think it's hilarious. It's a glorious 80s B-movie. But it was self-aware of how cheesy it is. And, yeah, some great lines. "Daddy would have bought us Uzis." "Let's play a game... it's called scary noises."

  10. I should go back + watch this. I remember liking it, but it might have been because it was one of the first movies I saw with a group of friends- someone's mom dropped us off at the mall (in The Valley).
    Dare I confesss on national television (or your blog) that I went to Jr. High w/ Geoffrey Lewis's daughter, but that was long before her Oscar nomination (???????).

  11. This is one of those rare 80s movies that I loved even though it was light on the special FX.

    I have two words to say...Kelli Maroney. :)

  12. Great, great movie. One of the Moviedrome specials we had over in the UK on BBC2 back in the day. Also showed things like Vamp, Quiet Earth and much more yummy goodness.


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