The episode of WTF Happened to This Horror Movie? covering Night of the Comet was Written by Emilie Black, Narrated by Jason Hewlett, Edited by Jaime Vasquez, Produced by John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.
1984, the year of many interests and fears for Americans, from fears of a nuclear attack still remaining to a love-hate relationship with consumerism, American films explored teenage life in all its aspects. Some of these films were more memorable, on point, and relevant to the life and fears of the American teen. From living in the Valley in Valley Girl to Red Dawn or The Zero Boys; and much more. The mid-1980s was filled with teen film, some of which was on the darker side. It also had a banging soundtrack. Night of the Comet is a story about what would happen if two teenaged girls were the sole survivors after a comet passed by and turned everyone to sand. By chance, the Belmont sisters were in metal rooms overnight, one of which was a projection booth and the other, a garden shed. A much-anticipated comet passed by Earth, turning all to dust. They soon realize that they are alone and head to the city to check if the city is as empty as their suburb. They find a radio station and wait for other survivors. Hector, a driver of a truck, stumbles in and the two become friends. They gradually discover how many other survivors there are and whether they can be trusted. The world is post-apocalyptic, and no one can be trusted. The film has some interesting ideas and a strong lead cast that makes it easy to get involved in the story. The soundtrack and mutant zombies are also a plus. The film is entertaining and well done, and it knows how to make the most of its budget.Speaking of budget, Night of the Comet
was made on what some movies spend on crafty in a week! Officially, the budget of the film was $700,000. That’s not even a dollar. It’s not enough to buy a home in Los Angeles these days. And very few films are made with this budget, unless they’re super indies or microbudget films. A horror-sci-fi-teen-possibly-parody film with setups in the suburbs, downtown Los Angeles, a radio station, a department store, and a research facility that has scenes with downtown LA bring completely empty? You’re talking about $10-15 million in these days. This may be possible on many budgets with a warehouse and a few friends’ homes, plus a lot CGI. This film did not rely on CGI, green screens or other special effects. This film made the most of its meager budget and you can see it all on the screen. This film made the most of its measly budget and you can really see it all on the screen.Speaking of which, to help with the budget, writer-director Thom Eberhardt had the cast react to anything unplanned happening in character so that they could get it on film and work with that if it worked for the film in the end. The cast was aware of the budgetary constraints. One example is the scene in which Sharon Farrell is supposed to slap Kelli Maroney. Her reaction was not accurate with the fake slaps so she had Farrell slap Kelli, resulting in the result that we see in the early scenes of the film. They didn’t completely close downtown Los Angeles in order to get those eerie, empty shots. Instead, they had traffic held at red lights with leg-go at calculated intervals. This gave them the look they wanted. The film is an example of how to shoot on budget and make it appear more. The cast was a great mix of familiar faces and A-list stars. While some were well known in 1984, they weren’t supermassive or A-list stars. Catherine Mary Stewart who plays Regina Belmont was becoming a familiar face. She had credits such as
The Last Starfighter
, 150 episodes of the Days Of Our Lives, Knight Rider, The Beach Girls, Nighthawks,, and even
. She was already a familiar face to those who watched a lot of television and was making a name in films. Playing her sister Samantha, Kelli Maroney didn’t have quite as many credits behind her, but her credits included
Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Slayground as films, so a teen film and a drama film with a very horror title, one of which a smaller hit that has since become a massively loved film and the other lesser-known. Her television credits at the time included Ryan’s Hope and Celebrity. She didn’t have a ton of titles, but she was about to become quite known to horror fans for credits with Chopping Mall, Scream Queen Hot Tub Party, and a bunch more. She was not a household name, but her appeal endured. This helped Night Of The Comet achieve cult status. It’s not filled with A-Listers, but the film has a solid cast that can sell the story perfectly. The film was made as cheaply as possible without compromising the quality of the film. The film was filmed on a set made in an abandoned warehouse. The director stood in as the girls’ dad and his wife and kid stood in Hector’s family. Yes and no. The total box office for the film in the US and Canada came to just under $14.5m USD. This is a respectable amount, especially when you factor in other costs that are not often discussed, such as marketing and distribution. Even if the budget was in the millions, which is unlikely given that 1984 was the year, the film’s box office earnings would have more than quadrupled its budget. Most movies that aren’t tentpole releases wouldn’t mind that at all. The film was released on November 16, 1984 in American theaters and grossed over $3.5 million in its first weekend. It was in theaters for 6 weeks, resulting in a $14.5 million total. Was the film the number one film at the box office during its first weekend of release? The film that no one remembers, Night of the Comet, was right behind it at number four. The Terminator was the film that came in at number four right behind the Night on the Comet – you know, the little science fiction film that no one can remember?There is a clear overlap between The Terminator
A Nightmare on Elm Street
which was at number six.
Silent Night Deadly Night was just outside the It was the mid-1980s and there seemed to be a new hit movie every week. Securing a top three spot for a $700k film seemed impossible, but here we are. The film was a hit in theaters and it then found a larger audience on home video. It was inevitable that with all the nostalgia labels releasing Blu-Ray rereleases of Night Of The Comet, it would be released. It’s easier than ever to find it in high definition and in good condition. You’re lucky if you haven’t had to dig through boxes of 1980s classics or cult movies at conventions. They may or may not be legitimate releases, but it was a lot of work to find one copy that weekend. Four other people were also doing the same thing. This means that, in the past, looking for movies was like going to school, which was both uphill and downhill. It was a major factor in making fans love the film instead of just liking it. It contributed to the film’s box office. It was important, though not as much so as other films. It’s a very 1980s mix of music from lesser-known artists. Some had minor hits, but no one as big as Prince, Michael Jackson or Bruce Springsteen. It’s a very 1980s mix of music from lesser-known artists; some of them had had some minor hits, but no one massive like Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Van Halen, Sade, Run DMC, Madonna, U2, or The Smiths who were the top ten musical artists at the time.However, the soundtrack is still fun to this day, and the songs by Thom Pace, Doug Kershaw, Bobby Caldwell, and Tami Holbrook, among others. The soundtrack was not as popular, but it is important because part of the film takes place in radio stations. In the station, Kelli’s Samantha throws a copy of Valley girl, which was at the time the biggest soundtrack. It is purely speculation based on information found online, but it appears that a young LL Cool J can be seen at a mic in a crowd near the beginning of the film. It is a cult favorite because he was signed to Def jam at 16 years old. It’s a fun film with a great cast and some fun bits so 1980s they hurt. Below are a few of the previous episodes from WTF happened to this horror movie?. To see more, head over to our JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!