Night of the Comet by Eric S Brown

Night of the Comet
Eric S Brown

Night of the Comet was shot with a budget of less than one million and released in 1984. That same year saw the release of such classics as Ghostbusters and C.H.U.D. In terms of genre, Night of the Comet is a difficult film to define, as it contains elements of science fiction, horror, and comedy all mashed together.

As the comet approaches, almost everyone is busily preparing for the amazing light show that is suppose to happen as it passes Earth, but not the movie’s heroes.

Reggie, an eighteen year-old theater worker, is hunkered down for the night in a projection room with a co-worker who is illegally selling/renting prints of movies. Her sister, Sam, having gotten into a fight with their stepmother, winds up spending the night in a tool shed.  And not far away, a trucker named Hector, is sound asleep in his truck, protected by its heavy walls. The next day, all of them wake up to a world devoid of human life.

The bulk of the planet’s population has been turned into dust by the comet and the remainder have    transformed into violent, zombie-like creatures. After Reggie’s co-worker is killed by one, she manages to escape the city and returns home to find that Sam is still alive and the sisters set out in search of other survivors. They head to a local radio station where a DJ seems to still be broadcasting only to find it automated. There they encounter Hector and quickly befriend him. Unfortunately, their meeting is broadcast because of the live microphone in the booth.

A think tank of scientists who have also survived, but who are slowly succumbing to the effects of limited exposure to the comet, hear them. The scientists come after them in hopes of using their blood to save themselves. Reggie is captured by some of the scientists, and taken back to their base. Hector and Sam manage to defeat the remaining scientists then set out save Reggie.   

By the time they arrive, Reggie is already loose and attempting to escape. The trio defeat the evil scientists, saving two kidnapped children in the process. The movie ends with Hector and Reggie starting a family with the two children, and Sam finally finding love as another survivor stumbles upon them back in the city.

Night of the Comet is considered to be a cult classic film and for all its campiness, still manages to entertain. Its soundtrack includes Girls Just Want to Have Fun which is used in a powerful “shopping” scene during the movie as Reggie and Sam run wild in a mall. That and other quirky moments, (such as Reggie teaching Sam how to shoot an Ingram Mac 10) make the movie a true cult classic.   

If you enjoy low budget, end of the world films with a heavy splash of humor, you’ll want to add Night of the Comet to your must set list of 80s classics.   


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