Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Halloween 2018 #15: Night of the Comet ***1/2 (1984)

The apocalypse arrives and two valley girls are one of the few survivors. Reg (Catherine Mary Stuart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) are two sisters who discover a comet has passed by the earth and turned most humans into quasi-zombies. They make some friends, hang out at the mall, an abandoned radio station, and escape government drones after their blood.

The tone and look of Night of the Comet are everything that's best of 80s cinema. Subversive in its gender and racial politics, a true breath of fresh air to the dystopian genre. Why not have fun after civilization comes to a merciful stop? The kool aid skies of Los Angeles, retro movie theaters, and the mall are indelible images of 1984. Night of the Comet celebrates the breezy consumerism of the decade. The yuppies can wear their khakis and polos, but the rest of us can take simple joys in the orange julius and the latest Cyndi Lauper cassette. 

Thom Eberhardt's direction walks a fine line between sincerity and camp. There are some cheesy scares and true moments of reflection among the characters, but the sense of fun never goes away. Robert Beltran of Eating Raoul fame is not the traditional male lead as Hector, standing as an equal to the girls who can take of themselves.

Apocalyptic movies (and TV) get heavier each year, Night of the Comet refuses to take itself seriously, which makes the film timeless. 

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