Night of the Comet
Blu-ray | DVD
Director: Thom Eberhardt
Writer: Thom Eberhardt
Cast: Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran, Sharon Farrell, Mary Woronov
Theatrical Release: November 16, 1984
Blu-ray Release: November 19, 2013
The return of a comet which has not passed Earth in 65 million years is the cause of celebration in the streets to witness the event as the planet passes through the comet’s tail. But as dawn rises on Los Angeles, sisters Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) discover that the comet’s tail has literally vaporized almost the entire human population. And those that were exposed to the comet but lived have been mutated into zombies who require uncontaminated human blood in order to keep living.
Now, Regina and Samantha, who are learning to adapt to the apocalypse via the one thing valley girls do best – heading to the mall for a shopping spree – must avoid zombies, armed gangs of stock boys and a team of scientists who survived via an underground bunker if they expect to live another night!
Night of the Comet makes its Blu-ray debut here and brings with it all the nostalgic glory the cult favorite has to offer. The movie, originally released in 1984, is a hodgepodge of light science-fiction and horror heavily sprinkled with charming comedy-stylings. Think Fast Times at Ridgemont High paired up with The Omega Man.
Director and writer Thom Eberhardt keeps things light and moving throughout his homage to 1950s and 1960s apocalyptic science-fiction. Even the mental breakdown of Samantha as she takes in the weight of what is happening can be cured through a visit to the mall featuring a so-80s-it-hurts shopping montage set to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” He brings spurts terror and horror through a few random zombie attacks by zombies that look like they’ve just walked off the set of Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video.
Catherine Mary Stewart (of The Last Starfighter) and Kelli Maroney (Chopping Mall) both bring strong and fun to watch performances to the story, especially once they gear up with machine guns thanks to their training from their green beret father. “Mac 10 submachine guns were practically made for housewives” Regina quips as they practice firing. For those looking for a bit of T&A (despite the PG-13 rating) Maroney provides some completely gratuitous dancing in lingerie.
Despite its fun and charm, the movie has just missed being counted on most broad-based quintessential ’80s movies lists, relegated to the more offbeat midnight movie lists and staying primarily under the radar. ’80s cinema completists should seek this one if they have somehow missed it for now, and the extended sequence at the mall would make any culture archeologist squeal for delight. For more casual ’80s fans, Night of the Comet is much lower down on the must-see list. It is worth getting around to one day though.
The movie has lived on primarily through its core fans, of which this collection is constructed completely for, and absolutely worth the investment. Scream! Factory has gone all out in putting together a fantastic presentation and an exhaustive collection of extras. The print for the film looks great and is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) with hardly any scratches on the print or muddled picture quality. The film is offered in both 5.1 surround sound and the original mono audio track.
For the extras, the main attraction here is three separate and newly recorded audio commentary tracks. The first track includes Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart providing a very conversational remembrance of the movie and production. The second and third track offers writer/director Thom Eberhardt and production designer John Muto respectively giving a more technical review of the film’s creation.
Next up are three newly created interview segments feature the cast and crew. Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart are split between the first one, while co-star Robert Beltran receives a dedicated interview as does special make-up effects creator David B. Miller. Rounding out the extras are two photo galleries, one including official stills and one with behind-the-scenes photos, and the original theatrical trailer. The two-disc set also features the film and all the extras on DVD, and a reversible cover that includes the original poster.