16 January 2005 | thirdi
A forgotten gem from the 80's
There's a lot worth forgetting about the 80's but one of the few things that decade of big hair and keyboard-drowned-music had was some of the best horror and sci-fi comedies of any time. There have been funny scary movies before and scary funny movies since, but some of the best examples of those perfectly balanced action, horror, and science fiction comedies were made in the 80's. I'm thinking of other good ones like Fright Night, American Werewolf in London, Big Trouble in Little China and on maybe a level or two below films like Return of The Living Dead and Toxic Avenger. Some people use the term spoof when referring to a lot of these movies but that's the wrong word in my opinion. Naked Gun and Airplane were spoofs, movies like Night of the Comet and Fright Night were genuine horror films that had a nice mixture of scares, drama, and tongue-in-cheek laughs. All of these elements of different genres are what made these movies unique.
While classic might be a little too strong of a word to describe Night of the Comet, I agree with most other folks here that it is a great low-budget 80's movie (maybe not low-budget, but definitely not big-budget). There was a vast amount of post-apocalyptic, low-budget horror films in the 80's but this is one that stands apart due to writer-director Thom Eberhardt's sharp, don't-take-it-all-too-seriously slant. Just the idea alone of two valley girls being among the small group of survivors of a world ending disaster is pretty cool. It took a familiar science fiction idea and made it somewhat original. But more importantly it was perfect for the times. Take Dawn of the Dead, mix in Valley Girl and Fast Times at Ridgemont High and you've got an excellent foundation for scares, action, drama and of course laughs.
The acting all around is very good for this type of flick and while it certainly isn't perfect, the entertaining and fun spirit of the movie make up for any flaws. It also can't be said enough that the presence of Catherine Mary Stewart definitely helps to elevate the movie. She was one of the most beautiful and under-appreciated actresses of the 80's and despite being in a few bigger movies and shows (The Last Starfighter, Nighthawks, Mischief, Weekend at Bernie's, Days of Our Lives, etc...), she just never really became the household name she seemed destined to be. Although no doubt she has plenty of fans like me. Unlike many lead actresses of the day in this genre, she was actually a very capable actress. Both she and Kelli Maroney give knock-out performances as two teenage girls just trying to cope with brain-eating zombies and the end of the world.
If curiosity about this movie has led you here, then I would pay little attention to the few negative reviews and trust the fact that the large majority of comments here are positive about this film. Maybe Night of the Comet isn't a forgotten "classic" by the normal standards, but it was certainly a cut above the typical low-budget horror/post-apocalyptic movies of the 80's and deserves to be seen by many. What it doesn't deserve is its current state of obscurity, its too-low rating on IMDb, and to not be available on DVD. That's the real shame of it all.