The 1980s cult favorite, Night of the Comet, arrives on Blu-ray with lots of extras and a transfer that best represents how it may have looked and sounded in theatres during its initial run. Valley girls meet zombie apocalypse, maybe the film was ahead of its time?
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 480P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Run Time: 1 Hr. 35 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD2-disc Blu-ray Keepcase with outer sleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)
Region: A, 1
Release Date: 11/19/2013
It’s Christmas time in Los Angeles, and a comet is headed towards Earth for the first time on almost 65 million years. People worldwide are celebrating as if it was New Year’s Eve, partying in the streets. Everyone, that is, except Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and younger sister Samantha (Kelli Maroney). Regina shacks up with her on again, off again boyfriend in the projection booth at the theater they both work at, while Samantha hides out in the backyard shed, keeping a good distance from her unfaithful step-mother. The two awake the next morning to find the city deserted, covered in a red dust. The only sign of civilization is a what sounds like a live DJ broadcasting from a radio station downtown. The girls arrive at the station, only to find it completely automated, and are soon joined by young truck driver Hector (Robert Beltran). Samantha takes over the radio station, asking survivors to call in or stop by the radio station. Her communications are picked up by a group of government researchers who have secluded themselves underground, hoping to be protected by the effects of the comet, and a team, led by Dr. Audrey White (Mary Woronov) is sent out to retrieve any healthy survivors in an attempt to cure themselves from the after effects of the comet.
The Production Rating: 3/5
Night of the Comet, as described by writer-director Thom Eberhardt on one of the disc’s three commentary tracks, is a cross between Valley Girl and I Am Legend (or The Omega Man). The movie, for the most part, walks a tightrope between horror and comedy, never fully committing to either genre, and that may be part of its charm. Also part of its charm is its definite stuck in the 1980s look and feel, particularly the shopping montage set to Girls Just Want To Have Fun covered by Tami Holbrook. Typical of a 1980s teen flick, the three stars (Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, and Robert Beltran) appear much older than their characters are supposed to be, but still manage to put forth believable performances.
The 1080p transfer provided to Shout! Factory (compressed using the AVC codec) appears to be in fairly good shape, retaining the film’s intended 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There is some visible dirt here and there, but never distracting. Colors are consistent, and are not overly saturated. Black levels are also very good, with excellent contrast. Last, but not least, film grain has been left intact.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
As with most Scream! Factory titles, the film includes the original 2.0 stereo and a 5.1 remix, both in DTS-HD Master Audio. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is mostly front-centric, with slightly better channel separation and a deeper low-end. Surrounds are pretty much non-existent, except for ambient music and effects.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Commentary with Actors Kelli Maroney & Catherine Mary Stewart: Hosted by Edwin Samuelson of CineFiles, the two actresses wax nostalgic on the making of the film.
Special Features Rating: 3.5/5
Audio Commentary with Director Thom Eberhardt: Host Michael Felsher manages to keep this a lively track, treating it more like an interview, asking director Eberhardt lots of questions as the movie progresses.
Audio Commentary with Production Designer John Muto: If you’ve ever wondered what a Production Designer’s job entails, listen to this track, also hosted by Michael Felsher.
Valley Girls at the End of the World with Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney (HD, 14:59): Interviewed separately, the two actresses discuss making the film.
The Last Man on Earth? with Robert Beltran (HD, 12:32): Beltran has aged a lot since Star Trek: Voyager, and he discusses turning down the role of Hector several times.
Curse of the Comet with David B. Miller (HD, 6:32): The film’s make-up designer discusses how he was hired for Night of the Comet, his first solo job after working as an assistant on other zombie projects, such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Film Photo Gallery (HD, 3:27)
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery (HD, 5:02)
Theatrical Trailer (HD; 1:14)
DVD Copy: Contains all of the same special features listed above.
Reversible Cover Insert: Choose between Scream! Factory’s new artwork, or the film’s original movie poster.
Fans of this low-budget indie cult classic from the 80s will likely appreciate the love Shout! Factory has put into this release of Night of the Comet.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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