Night of the Comet

In 1986, Halley’s Comet fever was erupting all across America.  People set up viewing parties to watch the comet come by for the first time in 75 years. In 1984, however, Night of the Comet was released into theaters, and maybe it was foreshadowing events that might happen when Halley’s version passed us by.

A few days before Christmas, a comet is coming close enough for Earthlings to see it, and like Halley’s Comet,  people set up viewing parties to watch the celestial event as it happened.  Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart)  is staying late at work in a movie theater to bone the projectionist (Michael Bowen), and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) is trying to get out of a viewing party being thrown by her step-mother.  Regina ends up sleeping in the projection room, and Samantha in the storage shed in the backyard.  While they don’t know it at the time, that ended up saving their lives.

It seems that everyone else in the world that wasn’t in a steel encased room the night the comet flew by was exposed to the cosmic particles in the comet’s tail, and that in turn dried them out and turned them into dust.  Others that were only partially exposed are either slowly turning into into some form of zombie, or are have already transformed.  Now Regina, Samantha and a truck driver they met named Hector (Robert Beltran) have to find out if there’s a cure, or if everyone else they know are zombies now too.

Night of the Comet has a great mixture of horror and comedy.  Unlike other films that have an issue with not having enough – or too much – of one or the other, this film strikes a nice balance.  There are a few jump scares, but nothing to freak you out too bad.  The whole vibe of the film is just a fun ride through a world inhabited by too few zombies.  You even get a typical zombies in the mall scenario to tide you over.

If I had one complaint about Night of the Comet, it’s that there aren’t enough zombies.  Understandably, the world is pretty uninhabited.  Most people are now just piles of clothes covering piles of dust, but pretty early on you’re lead to believe that the antagonists of the film are going to be these zombies, and by the end, you figure out that they play a very minor role in the grand scheme of things and are mostly just used to scare you at inopportune times.

Night of the Comet is a fun flick with enough horror, comedy and action to tide most people over.  I wish there were more flicks like this, and it captures the same kind of vibe as one of my favorite 80’s horror movies, Chopping Mall.  I also really enjoy the fact that during the movie in passing, DMK is mentioned and at the end you finally get to know who DMK is.  Night of the Comet gets 4 sunken eyed zombies out of 5.


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