Retro Review: NIGHT OF THE COMET Is the Greatest “California-Valley-Girls-With-Machineguns-Go-Shopping-After-The-END OF THE WORLD” Movie of All Time

By Philip Nutman
Contributing Blogger

Art Opening & A Movie Presents NIGHT OF THE COMET (1984); Dir: Thom Eberhardt; Written by Thom Eberhardt; Starring Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney and Robert Beltran; Tues. Oct. 4, opening reception 8 PM with movie at 9:30 pm; Encore Fri. Oct. 7 at 9:30 PM; 35 mm; Sponsored by Atlanta Zombie ApocalypsePlaza TheatreTrailer here.

What can be said about the greatest “California-Valley-Girls-With-Machineguns-Go-Shopping-After-The-END OF THE WORLD” movie of all time?

Nothing, except it’s the greatest “California-Valley-Girls-With-Machineguns-Go-Shopping-After-The-END OF THE WORLD” film. Period.

NIGHT OF THE COMET is a low-budget blackly comedic take on Romero‘s DAWN OF THE DEAD; a delightfully silly, yet creepy-silly mediation on consumerist societal mores…with guns and two girls I would have loved to have dated if it was the end of the world and they didn’t shoot me before I told them I’d kill zombies for them any day (or night).

Kelli Maroney in NIGHT OF THE COMET; MGM/UA Entertainment.

So… this comet turns most A-holes in the LA area into dust…or living dead creeps. What would you do? Go shopping, because, hey, we live in The Valley and…why not? (Other than the fact, “Daddy would have gotten us Uzis!”) And it’s now open season on males who all turn out to be scumbags (they are either living dead ghouls or potential rapists – same difference…)

Never heard of this smart, sassy little flick? Shame on you! It’s one of the coolest, strange, creepy movies of the 1980s. If you are a male, it stars the lovely Catherine Mary Stewart (intelligent older sister) and Kelli Maroney (younger, trigger-happy cheerleader) as the leads. If you’re a gal looking for a hot guy, try Robert Beltran as a Latino stud-puppy with a good heart.

Made for very little money by writer/director Thom Erberhardt, who went on to direct crappola like the Kurt Russell stiff CAPTAIN RON (1992), this movie won’t get your gore fix flying if you’re looking for splatter, but it’s a fun double-tap to the head for zombies and LA consumer culture during the Reagan ’80s.

Lewis and Woronov in NIGHT OF THE COMET; MGM/UA Entertainment.

The film also features former Clint Eastwood side-kick (those redneck monkey movies – you know the ones I mean), Geoffrey LewisJuliette’s nutty dad – and Miss Togar herself, the irrepressible Mary Woronov, from cult fave ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979). They play weirdo scientists.

NIGHT OF THE COMET is a decidedly off-beat 1980s movie, which, if you’ve never seen it – well, treat yourself at The Plaza this week as they’re screening an excellent print of this little-seen movie, plus the usual rare trailers.

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