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Lethal Ladies of Horror Interview: Night of the Comet’s Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart

resize_image.phpI was given the chance to interview the two lead stars of the 1984 cult horror-comedy favorite, Night of the Comet.  Both Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart were happy to answer a number of questions, leading up to the screening of the film in Los Angeles at the “Lethal Ladies of Horror Film Fest” on October 17th (details HERE), as well as the collector’s edition Blu-ray release of the film on November 19th (details HERE).  I should note that Kelli and Catherine will be at the horror fest and will be signing cool ‘Comet’ items and happy to take pictures with fans for a small fee.  For now though, read on to see what the ladies had to say about the film. IMPORTANT UPDATE: This Event Has Been Cancelled, which is incredibly unfortunate, but please still enjoy the interview.

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[Briefly, to provide some context, I prepared these questions and they were asked to the ladies separately, but for the purposes of this post, I have put the answers from both ladies together, under the same question.]

Do you remember the main thing that intrigued about working on this movie?

Kelli Maroney:  It was so different than anything I had read up until then, and the role of Samantha was amazing. Both female roles were! It was also a very funny read. I was laughing out loud, lol-ing for real, reading in on the plane.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  I loved the character, Regina.  Up to that point I played a lot of “girl next door” roles and this allowed me to show another side.  In fact Regina is probably closer to the real me.  I also loved that not only was this a character driven story, but the main protagonists were female.  Love that!  Plus it wasn’t a straight up horror movie.  There was lots of action and scary parts, but the humor made it unique.

Was it a fun environment on set, given the sort of comedic vibe a film like this had?

Kelli Maroney:  It was a ton of fun. Everyone was on top of their game and had a great sense of humor.  We worked hard but enjoyed the whole process.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  I would say that there was definitely an upbeat, enthusiastic attitude on set.  We were working with a small budget and weird hours.  It was a collaborative effort to make the best movie possible!

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Are there other apocalyptic movies made around this time that you admire or feel may have even influenced this film or been influenced by it?

Kelli Maroney:  It’s another take on I AM LEGEND, the granddaddy of all zombie apocalypse stories.  For some reason during that time there were a lot of Doomsday themes—the song “Radioactive” comes to mind, and several films, but I think it was more in the collective unconscious, rather than influenced by one another directly.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  Feel may have even influenced this film or been influenced by it?  I heard that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was influenced by Night of the Comet.  I’ve been compared to Linda Hamilton in The Terminator.  We had similar hair, anyway.  🙂  One common thread in these movies is that they are driven by female characters.   Gotta love that!

Do you ever wonder what happens next with these characters, after the movie ended?  Were there ever any thoughts on a sequel?

Kelli Maroney:  There has always been conversation here and there, but the rights were in question this whole time. I would be very surprised if anyone would risk funding a sequel or remake with the industry being what it is these days. Of course, if it happens, I would be onboard!

Catherine Mary Stewart:  The thought of a sequel has definitely come up.  The story is certainly left wide open for one.  It’s a matter of convincing the powers that be that it would be worth their while.  We need a fan revolution!!

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Do any quotes ever get shouted out to to from this film?

Kelli Maroney:  Many. “Daddy would’ve gotten us Uzis” “Don’t breathe anything from strangers” “What?? You don’t believe in SANTA?” “The burden of civilization has fallen upon us” “Bitchin’ isn’t it?” and “You were born with an asshole, Doris–you don’t need Chuck!”

Catherine Mary Stewart:  There are some GREAT lines in this movie.  Regina: “Here’s Chuck!”; Sam: “Daddy would’ve gotten us Uzis”; Reg: “Have you ever been hit with DOTS Mel, Milk Duds??  Those things hurt!”; Sam: “You were born with an ass@&%, Doris, you don’t need Chuck!”…  It goes on and on…

Did making this movie directly lead to something else?

Kelli Maroney:  For me, I got CHOPPING MALL because of it, and people seemed to know of me a lot more, as a contender and not so much as just a random actress.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  I believe that work always begets work.  It definitely helped establish me in the movie industry.  Having said that, more recently I’ve been offered roles based on my earlier work, not the least of which is Night of the Comet.  Filmmakers who were kids when Night of the Comet was released, loved it and are making movies now will seek me out to be in their projects today.  It’s fantastic!

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Do you remember what the regard was for Night of the Comet, at the time?

Kelli Maroney:  The feedback was tremendous. Two thumbs up, Siskel and Ebert, Vincent Canby said Cathy and I had, “A sure future in action-comedy,” Bill Harris reviewed it for cable TV. It was just a beloved little film. People thought it was original and a real breath of fresh air, even back then.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  Obviously it found its audience, then as is evidenced by the fans out there now.  At the time I didn’t follow the numbers in terms of audience attendance and how long it was in theatres, but for a small movie that didn’t have the tons of money behind advertising etc., it did well.

When was the last time you watched the movie in full, if ever?

Kelli Maroney:  I sort of watched it in full when we did the commentary for the Blu-ray a few weeks ago, but we were talking.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  Kelli and I did a full commentary for the new Blu-ray release scheduled for November 2013.  We watched the whole movie together a few weeks ago, she from LA and me in New York via Skype in recording studios.  We shared memories, tried to answer questions that fans commonly ask about specific scenes and generally had a good time and a lot of laughs.

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Are there movies from today or at least recently that you’ve liked for being tonally similar to Night of the Comet?

Kelli Maroney:  I thought YOU’RE NEXT was a nice throwback to a good old fashioned horror film with lots of comedy relief.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  It’s funny; I’ll be watching something and a scene will strike me as a takeoff of something out of Night of the Comet.  There was something quite recently, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was.

Are there horror movies/genre-type movies that feature female leads, such as this one that you really enjoy or ones that you admire for making decisions to make the heroine a strong figure?

Kelli Maroney:  YOU’RE NEXT has a good, strong female lead. I chuckled when the character says, “My dad raised me at a survivalist camp” and thought, sure he did! Mine was a Green Beret! HUNGER GAMES had Jennifer Lawrence–there seems to be a revival coming for good roles for women. I’m relieved. The whole ‘final girl’ style that was popular for so long was troubling–the ‘hero’ was the psycho, and the female lead was reduced to the ‘final girl’. The ‘featured victim’; so sad. I’m glad that might be going out of style soon. There is no one to root for, unless you’re rooting for the psycho?  I love stories where there is character development so you care about the people, and I also like a message of strength, even if it is a horror movie.

Catherine Mary Stewart:  Probably my favorite is the first two Terminator movies.  I LOVED Linda Hamilton in those movies.  Now there is a dedicated actor and strong female character.

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Thank you both Catherine and Kelli for your time!

Once again, Kelli and Catherine will be at the Lethal Ladies of Horror Film Festival on October 17th and will be signing cool Night of the Comet items and happy to take pictures with fans for a small fee.

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Feel free to pre-order a copy of Night of the Comet here:

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If you’re in the LA area, be sure to check out the Lethal Ladies of Horror!

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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