Night of the Comet

April 6, 2014 at 10:26 pm (8 Heads, Night of the Comet) (, , )

Night of the Comet – 1984 – United States

The same comet which annihilated the dinosaurs (called The Visitor), returns on Christmas to disintegrate nearly everyone on Earth. Two spunky surviving valley girls live in a radio station that looks equally like a gym and nightclub. While squabbling over the affections of a handsome Latino trucker, they battle maniacs, mutant zombies, and an enclave of deranged scientists intent on performing human experiments.

Although not highly original, Night of the Comet is wacky and charming due to its irrepressible heroines. One is boy crazy and wears a cheerleading uniform. The other rides a motorcycle and plays Atari’s Tempest with such emotive concentration that it seems sexual. Both are sassily ambivalent and know a lot about firearms. Scenes of them clowning around abandoned Los Angeles are amusing and there is a shopping sequence to a cover of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Night of the Comet forgoes action to focus on the girls’ relationship. There are tear jerking and uplifting moments. The finale is especially triumphant when the cheerleader finally gets a boyfriend.

Night of the Comet has nice visuals too. The perpetually crimson sky suggests humanity’s twilight, and Christmas decorations add eerie ambiance. The Los Angeles locations are also great. The El Rey Theater and Alexander Calder’s statue Four Arches are shown. The weird radio station features a massive animated neon mural of considerable intricacy.

Those nostalgic for the 80s are in for a treat. Night of the Comet’s apocalyptic themes reflect the era’s nuclear paranoia, although its perspective is more cheery. Feathered haired, synthesized pop, and tacky consumer goods are in abundance. Even the roller-skating warrior nuns of Roller Blade (1986) did not make the apocalypse seem so fun.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. A “video game consultant” named Philip Lieberman is credited. I am probably qualified for this job.


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