Night of the Comet
|Night of the Comet|
Original 1984 theatrical poster
|Directed by||Thom Eberhardt|
|Produced by||Andrew Lane
|Written by||Thom Eberhardt|
|Starring||Catherine Mary Stewart
|Music by||David Richard Campbell|
|Editing by||Fred Stafford|
|Studio||Thomas Coleman and Michael Rosenblatt Productions
Film Development Fund
|Distributed by||Atlantic Releasing Corporation|
|Running time||95 minutes|
|Box office||$14,418,922 (USA)|
Night of the Comet is a 1984 horror/science fiction film written and directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran, and Kelli Maroney. The plot has elements of science fiction, horror, zombie apocalypse, comedy, and romance.
The Earth is passing through the tail of a comet, an event which has not occurred in 65 million years, the last time coinciding with the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs. On the night of the comet's passage, large crowds gather outside to watch and celebrate.
18 year old Regina "Reggie" Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart) works at a movie theater in southern California. She is annoyed to find the initials DMK have the highest score on the theater's arcade game, all the other scores being hers. She stays after the theater closes to become number one again, then later has sex with her boyfriend, the theater projectionist, in the steel-lined projection booth. Meanwhile, Reggie's 16 year old sister Samantha "Sam" (Kelli Maroney) argues with their stepmother, who punches her in the face.
The next morning, a reddish haze covers everything, and there are no signs of life, only piles of red dust surrounding empty clothes. Unaware that anything strange has happened, Larry goes outside and is killed by a zombie. When Reggie goes looking for Larry, she finds the zombie eating him. She runs away and heads home to find her sister. Sam had spent the night in a metal shed, and was also shielded from the comet's effects.
After figuring out what has happened, they hear a disc jockey and race to the radio station, only to find it was just a recording. They come across another survivor there, Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), who spent the night in the back of his steel semi. When Sam talks into the microphone, her broadcast is heard by government researchers in an underground installation out in the desert. As they listen to Reggie, Sam and Hector debate what to do, the scientists note that the zombies, though less exposed to the comet, will disintegrate into dust themselves.
Hector leaves to see if any of his family survived, but promises to come back. Reggie and Sam go shopping at a mall. After a firefight with some zombie stockboys, the girls are taken prisoner, but are saved by a government rescue team.
Reggie is taken back to their base. Audrey White (Mary Woronov), a disillusioned scientist, offers to dispose of Sam, who was diagnosed as having been exposed, and to wait for Hector. After she fakes euthanizing Sam, she kills the other remaining scientist. When Hector returns, Audrey briefs him on the situation and then gives herself a lethal injection. He and Sam set out to rescue Reggie.
The researchers had suspected and prepared for the comet's effects, but inadvertently left their ventilation system open during the comet's passage allowing the deadly dust to permeate their base. Meanwhile, Reggie has become suspicious, escapes, and discovers that the dying scientists have hunted down and rendered healthy survivors brain dead. They harvest their untainted blood to keep the disease at bay while they search desperately for a cure. Reggie saves a boy and a girl, before they are processed, then unplugs the other victims from their life support machines. Hector and Sam get the trio out of the base.
Eventually, rain washes away the red dust and the world is left in a pristine condition. With Reggie getting Hector and the other two being kids, Sam feels left out. When she ignores Reggie's warning and crosses a deserted street against the still-operating signal light, she is almost run over by a sports car driven by Danny Mason Keener, a teenager her own age. After apologizing, he invites her to go for a ride. As they drive off, the car is shown sporting the initials "DMK" on the vanity plate.
- Catherine Mary Stewart as Regina "Reggie" Belmont
- Kelli Maroney as Samantha "Sam" Belmont
- Robert Beltran as Hector Gomez
- Sharon Farrell as Doris, Reggie and Sam's stepmother
- Mary Woronov as Audrey White
- Geoffrey Lewis as Dr. Carter, the leader of the think tank
- Peter Fox as Dr. Wilson, one of the researchers
- John Achorn as Oscar
- Michael Bowen as Larry Dupree
- Devon Ericson as Minder
- Lissa Layng as Davenport
- Janice Kawaye as Sarah, the young rescued girl
- Chance Boyer as Sarah's brother, the young rescued boy
- Ivan E. Roth as Willy
- Dick Rude as Stockboy
- Chris Pedersen as Stockboy
- John Stuart West as Monster Cop
- Alex Brown as Monster in Alley
- Marc Poppel as Danny Mason Keener / DMK
- Timothy Ellison as Kid on base
Night of the Comet was released on VHS cassette and CED Videodisc on August 30, 1985, and distributed by CBS/FOX Video. A second U.S. VHS printing, distributed by Goodtimes Video, was released on August 30, 1990. The film was officially released on Region 1 DVD on March 6, 2007, and on Region 2 DVD in the U.K. on January 18, 2010.
A soundtrack for the film was released on vinyl LP Record and Audio Cassette from Macola Records shortly after the movie was released. The soundtrack's "Learn to Love Again", a love duet performed by Amy Holland and Chris Farren, played in the final scene in the movie and in the closing credits. Other songs include "The Whole World is Celebratin'" (also performed by Chris Farren), "Lady in Love" by Revolver, "Strong Heart" by John Townsend, "Trouble" by Skip Adams, "Living on the Edge" by Jocko Marcellino, "Virgin in Love" by Thom Pace, and "Hard Act to Follow" by Diana DeWitt.
Variety noted that Eberhardt "creates a visually arresting B-picture in the neon-primary colors of the cult hit Liquid Sky" as well as pointing similarities with Five, The Day of the Triffids, The Omega Man, Dawn of the Dead and Last Woman on Earth. They concluded "a successful pastiche of numerous science fiction films, executed with an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek flair that compensates for its absence in originality."