Night Of The Comet – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Night-Of-The-Comet80s fashion, comets, end of the Earth, underground science labs, valley girls and of course-zombies make for a damn good time in Scream Factory’s latest resurrection, Night Of The Comet.  This is a film I’d like to slap myself for not becoming more familiar with sooner.  The movie is a terrific, stylized load of comedy, action and horror.  With two strong females taking the reins, this movie strives to be its own and tells a very unique side of zombie fiction that I don’t think has been attempted or matched since.  This one had its release date delayed in order to get some bonus features taken care of.  And folks, it was well worth your wait.  Scream Factory gives it their highly coveted “Collector’s Edition” status, providing hours of entertainment beyond just watching the film.  Let’s get to the dirty details on this one, shall we?

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It’s Christmas time in the mid-1980s.  Santa is yesterday’s news as everyone gathers to watch the tail of a comet pass through Earth.  There’s no holiday cheer spared as everyone is turned to dust.  In their place, ZOMBIES!  The only people that appear to be left on the planet are valley-girl sisters Sam and Reggie.  They hear a DJ on the radio and head for the station. There they meet Carlos, possibly the last man on Earth.  They find that zombies aren’t their only problem however, as a group of underground government researches have plans of disposing of them.

Night Of The Comet actually predates the more revered Return Of The Living Dead as far as zombie comedies go.  While that one takes the more familiar Romero approach to the zombies, Comet takes on the “last man on Earth” type route with it.  The film plays as a super fun stylistic 80s comedy.  It takes very B-movie like elements, pays them high homage and tribute while also updating them and making them work in what was then the “modern” time.  The zombie action is very light, not overdosed and might not be what you’d expect compared to what you’re used to, but they are merely a piece of the puzzle, not the full focus or the entire story.

It’s not the zombies that carry this film, it’s the strong characters and lovable performances that take charge of the film and give it its ultimate charm.  Actresses Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney play characters of a similar fashion but in very different molds.  The two share a tremendous chemistry, keeping you rooting for both to stay alive.  While they do play the valley girl stuff up for laughs, the two are far from being as dimwitted and paper thin as a plot description might lead one to believe.  Both actresses elevate their characters from the page and give us two of the most colorful and lovable characters ever in the zombie genre.  If there were ever some sort of Expendables-zombie survivor team up, they’d be at the top of my list.  Their initial costuming upon finally meeting up also proves to be very iconic (kudos to whoever goes as Reggie and Sam for Halloween next year).  It’s really awesome to see a zombie film with two female leads that actually lead the film all the way through and never have to rely on or play second fiddle at any point to anyone else.

While it may just be because it’s a product of its time, this film is beautifully stylized.  Its very 80s, but the lighting and sets look fantastic scene to scene.  The cinematography also provides some interesting and unique framing throughout.  Seriously, this film looks really pretty and more masterful than you would think a film of this type would be.  To stick with the times, it’s very “rad”.  The cinematographer was Arthur Albert.  He went on to direct a lot of comedies and has spent the last decade doing television.  Albert has currently shot two episodes of the new hit show Sleep Hollow on Fox, which I hear three really awesome dudes have a super sweet podcast for 😉

Night Of The Comet almost 30 years later still is a little film jam packed with fun, action and laughs.  It’s steeped heavy into the 1980s that will probably grasp at some nostalgia from people around my generation.  And, any movie that teams Cyndy Lauper on the soundtrack with zombies is going to receive high marks in my book.  I was really taken in by its style and colorful characters.  Plus, if you want, you can add to the list of “nontraditionally thought of as Christmas movies” along with the likes of Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and Gremlins.  I’m definitely going to start putting it in the Christmas movie rotation every year now.  I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it until now, but it’s never too late to start.  Thanks for the refresher Scream Factory!

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The comet tail shines brightly on this very impressive 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding.  The 1:78.1 frame is very crisp and clean, the transfer looking very similar to the one for Dark Angel/I Come In Peace in which you recall I loved.  The print is very neat as there’s really very rarely any specs, or dust on it at all.  Detail is very good, especially look at Sam’s blue “Rebels” sweater in the early goings.  DKM be damned. The shots of the video game screen look really really great too.  All the cool lighting in the film carries over beautiful.  You are going to love the image on this.

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The 5.1 Dolby DTS-HD MA track is a clean track, just needing to make a little more use of the subwoofer.  It’s also a set a tad lower than normal Scream Factory titles.  Not much, just a couple clicks.  But it’s a really nice track.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 DTS-HD MA track is also provided for the purists. It’s loud and well defined.  When songs from the score play and explosions go off, they might sound a little fuller with the 5.1, but I think overall you’ve got a close battle with the 2.0 in terms of effectiveness.  And this is a good problem to have.

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This disc is packed with fresh new content.  It also contains the famous reverse sleeve with the original theatrical poster artwork.  Also included in the set is a DVD copy of the film.

Audio Commentary With Actors Kelli Maroney And Catherine Mary Stewart – Edward Samuelson host of the Cinema Files moderates the commentary.  The actresses prove very passionate about the film to this day and have an impressive knowledge and memory of all aspects of the film.

Audio Commentary With Director Thom Eberhardt – Michael Felcher moderates the director.  This is a very fun and informative track as the director is pretty humorous and happy to discuss the film.

Audio Commentary With Production Designer John Muto – Michael Felcher once again moderates.  Muto goes scene by scene giving anecdotes and detailing how they pulled off the sets and some effects for each scene.

Valley Girls At The End Of The World With Catherine Mary Stewart And Kelli Maroney (HD, 14:59) – The lead actresses discuss everything from the auditions, to working on the set, to still being friends today.  Its impressive the two actually have a lot of strong memories and are very detailed on the production.

The Last Man On Earth With Robert Beltran (HD, 12:32) – The actor discusses originally not taking the role, how much they wanted him for it and how he altered the character to his liking.  And he’d also like to see a sequel.

Curse Of The Comet With David B. Miller (HD, 6:32) – The makeup artist from the movie talks about Night Of The Comet being amidst a hot run of films he worked on but the first one he was in a supervisor role for.

Film Photo Gallery – 40 images featuring promotional stills and posters.

Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery – 58 behind the scenes photos.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:14)

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Night Of The Comet is a movie that is an incredible amount of fun.  If you’re down and want to be in a good mood, pop it in.  It’s a fantastic example in balancing comedy, horror and action.  If you watch this movie and you hate it, I don’t know what to tell you other than you probably don’t enjoy smiling.  Scream Factory gives this dynamite treatment, making it easily one of their best releases this year.  The video and audio are top notch and the bonus material is full of very informative and fun interviews/commentaries.  Three commentaries mind you!  It is up there with The Fog, Lifeforce, Prince Of Darkness and Day Of The Dead this year as a top dog.  They’re really going out of their way on these releases and Night Of The Comet is another shining example.  If you’ve never seen it, I think this one is an easy blind buy.  Plus, if you’ve trusted their catalogue this far, you’re probably already super confident in titles you may not have heard of.  This movie deserves a spot in your collection. Easy to recommend Night Of The Comet.



3 Responses to “Night Of The Comet – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    I guess I have to watch because I like to and need to smile 🙂

  2. Gerard Iribe

    I can’t wait for this one!

  3. Sean Ferguson

    Jami loves this movie but I’ve never seen it.