Wednesday, August 11, 2010

NIGHT OF THE COMET (Thom Eberhardt, 1984, USA)

Here at the end of the world, girls just want to have fun and kick some ass! Just because the human race has been reduced to red dust doesn’t mean fashion has to suffer. Director Thom Eberhardt’s apocalyptical valley girl motif is an admixture of Boris Sagal’s THE OMEGA MAN combined with George Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and gives birth to a pleasing mutation of spliced genres.

The earth passes through a comet’s tail, its elliptical orbit resulting in a nexus once every 65 million years or so: in other words, the last time was the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Event. This fact joyfully passes above the heads of most except a small band of scientists, comprising a think-tank concentrated deep in the California desert. As the human race parties like it’s 1999, the irradiated particles reduce every living creature to a fine red powder. (The dinosaurs were not disintegrated because we have a fossil record, but this conundrum is never explored). The story revolves around two sisters who survived the event, their violently fashionable adventures, and the rise of a new world order, all with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Eberhardt focuses upon Regina and her cheerleader sister Samantha, but instead of relying on shallow caricature for a few cheap laughs allows them to develop a human complexion beneath their Max Factor foundation. The typical genre exercise is to project women as victims, objects that serve a facile proposition, mannequins that rarely ascend towards empowerment. Here, Regina and Sam may bicker and argue about clothes and boyfriends, but they share a deep familial bond and become acutely aware of the world’s end…and suffer the emotional burden. And they can take care of themselves.
 The girls learn two distinct lessons from the apocalypse: first, never bring shoes to a gun fight and second, never cross against the light.
 
Final Grade: (B)

1 comment:

Mark said...

One of my all time favorites....