Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Night of the Comet" (1984) d/ Thom Eberhardt

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Ahhh, 1984, I remember you well. Unfortunately, there was no Orwellian "Big Brother" watching me, otherwise he'd have told me to lose the sleeveless Chams de Baron shirts I thought looked cool, and to shave that dirt on my upper lip that I'd been trying to pass off as a mustache since puberty. I rocked the Chachi haircut and dated chicks who got naked anywhere and still somehow left me with blue balls on a nightly basis back then. The price of the average movie ticket was $2.50, while a pack of smokes set you back something like eighty cents here in the Keystone State. Oh yeah, tonight's review dates from '84, too...

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Let me just slip outta these Guess jeans and we can cut footloose together, baby.
Sixty-five million years after it's last pass left Earth dinosaur-less, a comet leaves most of the planet's human inhabitants as nothing more than piles of red dust and dated mid-80's gear. Some are transformed into flesh-eating zombies before dissipating into powder. Except, that is, for a pair of Valley Girl sisters named Reggie (Catherine Mary Stuart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney), who manage to avoid the comet's homicidal rays; Reggie by sleeping with her boyfriend and fellow movie usher, Larry (Michael Bowen), inside the theater's steel projection booth overnight, and Sam by dozing off in a metal shed outside their house. After Larry gets et up by a zombie (beats having your ass handed to you at the prom by Nic Cage, right?), Reg, who's also no slouch in hand-to-hand combat or wielding a Mac-10, and Sam, who's just a bubbly little pom-pom chick, head to a nearby radio station on the hopes of the deejay they hear also being alive, but he's only an automated recording. While her sister shmoozes with Hector (Robert Beltran), another survivor, Sam broadcasts her voice live over the airwaves...

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Comets kill dinosaurs, and Merry Go Round shoppers...
...and is heard in an underground government facility run by scientists (Geoffrey Lewis, Mary Woronov, among others) desperately seeking survivors to farm their uncontaminated blood and slow the process of their own degeneration into zombies, dust, etc., as they'd left the ventilation open during the comet's pass themselves. While Hector goes off to see if any of his family survived, the girls...naturally go shopping at the mall, and find themselves under attack by some zombie stock boys until a rescue team from the compound drops in, in the nick of time. Dr. White (Woronov) feigns euthanizing Sam, whose itchiness leads the team to believe she'd been exposed to the dust, then kills her colleague and euthanizes herself, instead, but not before explaining the whole situation to Hector, who's just returned to the scene. Together with a revived Sam, he heads to the facility to rescue Reg, who's already rescuing some unwilling blood donors, herself. After vacating the premises, and blowing the comet-zombies to high Hell, our survivors have the run of the city, which has been cleansed of space toxins by rainfall, and even little Sam finds herself a potential boyfriend, whose choice whip has customized plates that match the initials of the kid who famously bumped one of Reg's scores off of an arcade game at the theater in the opening reel...

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"You 'Thriller' motherfuckers need an extra?"
What can a guy say about a cult icon like Mary Woronov, who's appeared in everything from Warhol's Chelsea Girls (1966) to Paul Bartel's Eating Raoul (1982). She's always classic. Maroney, who also appeared in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), would show up in 1986's Chopping Mall and 1988's Not Of This Earth, while Catherine Mary Stewart would appear in 1987 horror/sci-fi flick, Nightflyers. Interestingly, the zombie stock boys were portrayed by Chris Pedersen, who you'll probably remember as Jack Diddley in Suburbia (1983), and Dick Rude, who turned up in Repo Man(1984), among other things. Aside from Valley Girl (1983), Michael Bowen has appeared in lots of television, and several Tarantino films. If you haven't seen this one by now, what are you waiting for. On the scale, Comet streaks across a pair of Wops, a decent little flick that's entertaining even after multiple viewings.

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"Who is this 'Mont Rules!' ? He keeps topping my Breakout high score..."
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