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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Night of the Comet - Collector's Edition [Blu-ray]

 

(Thom E. Eberhardt, 1984)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Thomas Coleman and Michael Rosenblatt Productions

Video: Shout! Factory / Arrow Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:11.706 / 1:35:11.706

Disc Size: 36,576,346,542 bytes / 42,176,553,435 bytes

Feature Size: 27,248,504,832 bytes / 28,776,981,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps / 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 19th, 2013/ September 22nd, 2014

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3182 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3182 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2094 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2094 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps

 

Subtitles (both):

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Thom Eberhardt
• Audio Commentary with Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart
• Audio Commentary with Production Designer John Muto
Valley Girls At The End Of The World – Interviews with Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart (15:00)
• The Last Man On Earth? – An Interview with Actor Robert Beltran (12:32)
• Curse of the Comet – An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator David B. Miller (6:32)
• Still Galleries (Behind the Scenes and Official Stills)

Trailer (1:14)

 

Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Thom Eberhardt
Audio Commentary with Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart
Audio Commentary with Production Designer John Muto
Valley Girls At The End Of The World Interviews with Stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart
The Last Man On Earth? An Interview with Actor Robert Beltran (12:32)

The End of the World Blues (9:54)
Curse of the Comet An Interview with Special Make-Up Effects Creator David B. Miller (6:32)
Theatrical Trailer (1:15)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork to be revealed!
•  Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film

 

Bitrate:

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

Description: It’s the first comet to buzz the planet in 65 million years, and everyone seems to be celebrating its imminent arrival. Everyone, that is, except Regina Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart, The Last Starfighter) and her younger sister Samantha (Kelli Maroney, Chopping Mall), two Valley Girls who care more about fashion trends than the celestial phenomenon. But upon daybreak, when the girls discover that they’re the only residents of Los Angeles whom the comet hasn’t vaporized or turned into a zombie, they do what all good Valley Girls do...they go shopping! But when their day of malling threatens to become a day of mauling, these gals flee with killer zombies and blood-seeking scientists in hot pursuit!

 

 

 

The Film:

In this satirical sci-fi comedy, Samantha (Kelli Maroney) and Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) are two sisters whose father was a hard-bitten Green Beret, but who've grown into typical Valley Girls. They end up spending the night in a steel-lined room just as a comet passes close to the earth, vaporizing the people in its wake. When Samantha and Regina emerge, they discover that they have the city to themselves, and they begin the shopping spree to end all shopping sprees. En route to the mall, they discover Hector (Robert Beltran), the only survivor they've found so far, and they argue over who gets the last boyfriend on Earth. However, the mall holds an unpleasant surprise -- a small army of zombified stockboys who the gals must battle using an arsenal they shoplifted along the way (while lamenting that "Daddy would have gotten us Uzis!" after a MAC-10 fails to fire). Meanwhile, a cadre of soldiers from a special military experiment have come out of hiding, but it seems that they need fresh blood to survive, and Samantha and Regina look like just the refreshment they need. Cult figure Mary Woronov also appears in a supporting role as a scientist.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Oates style rock n' roll (with a welcome Cyndi Lauper track tossed into the mix), and cheapo analog special effects. It aims low, giving a retread of clichés from 1950s end-of-the-world drive-in pictures and George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, but its peppy teenage characters and refined tongue-in-cheek sense of humor go a long way. A blazing comet transforms every living human into piles of red dust, leaving behind only a handful of survivors and cities teeming with flesh hungry zombies. Since the heroines of Night of the Comet are two valley girls, their immediate preoccupations are which one of them gets to "make it" with what might be the last surviving male in Los Angeles (hunky Robert Beltran) and, bored out of their minds when they aren't blowing away creatures with UZI machine guns, flitting around the local shopping mall for new cheerleader outfits. Favorite set pieces include their clothing-store battle with some punk rocker zombies and Mary Woronov as a sexy scientist who gets to indulge in some deadpan flirting with her Eating Raoul co-star Beltran. As one character merrily quips to another: "Bitchin', isn't it?"

Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Shout! Factory produce another Blu-ray of a niche-film fan favorite - Night of the Comet has a cultish following... and with good reason! Unfortunately, the dual-layered transfer with high bitrate can't export a superior image than the original production produced. The image in 1080P looks fairly weak due both to the mid-80's film stock, that seemed always less than stellar, and the film's lighting that did the visuals no real favors. Colors are reasonably tight and bright but detail is modest. It is transferred at the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There are a few instances of noise but I wouldn't say it was intrusive but the overall appearance, which may be the best it can look digitally, is a far cry from exporting the heights of the format. Despite that, this Blu-ray seems quite reasonable in terms of providing a representational 1080P presentation of the original film.

 

Too similar to bother finding minute differences. The Arrow is a shade more robust but it details, colors, framing look exact to my eye.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is in the form of a strong DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3182 kbps or the option of a similar 2.0 channel stereo at 2094 kbps. Effects are crisp in the surround with potent depth but are used sparingly - probably as a budgetary constraint. The, at times, awkward score is by David Richard Campbell and carries well and there are plenty of 80's pop tracks including Girls Just Want to Have Fun (performed by Tami Holbrook). There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Arrow only offer the, authentic, 2.0 channel stereo in linear PCM, no surround bump. It still sounds buoyant but without the separation of the Shout! Factory 5.1. There are also optiopnal English subtitles and the disc is region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Go Shout! Factory Go! We get three, count'em three! audio commentaries. The first with Writer/Director Thom Eberhardt focusing more on technical production issues, a second lighter, appealing, one with the gals Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart and a third with production designer John Muto. Valley Girls At The End Of The World is 15-minutees worth of interviews with stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart . The Last Man On Earth? is a 12-minute interview with actor Robert Beltran. Curse of the Comet spends 6.5 minutes with Special Make-Up Effects Creator David B. Miller talking about the film. There are also stills galleries (Behind the Scenes and Official Stills) and a trailer. The package also contains a DVD of the feature with similar extras.

 

Almost a duplicate with the same 3 commentaries, same three featurettes (Valley Girls At The End Of The World, The Last Man On Earth? and Curse of the Comet) and trailer but as opposed to the superfluous Stills gallery, Arrow add the new (June 2014) 10-minute The End of the World Blues which has star Mary Worornov looking back at her involvement in The Night of the Comet. Of course Arrow go-the-extra-mile adding a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork and a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film - to marginally advance ahead of the US edition's supplements. 

 

Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Night of the Comet is much better than I would have thought. Considering the modest-budget - this is actually a very well-made film. It doesn't take itself very seriously and this is probably its greatest attribute. I'm a sucker for apocalypse films and this fits snugly into the sub-genre evening mimicking the mannequin/store sequence from, Matheson's story and the film, The Omega Man (also used in I am Legend).  The commentaries add some value and fans may wish to indulge in this Collector's Edition Blu-ray for a surprisingly good film, with forgivable errors, - a lot of fun. Recommended!

 

This is the type of film that gets better each time you view it. Either through luck, or skill The Night of the Comet has enough appeal to warrant multiple re-visitations. No reason to double-dip but region 'B'ers will probably want to nab this - another impressive Blu-ray release from Arrow!

Gary Tooze

November 16th, 2013

September 16th, 2014

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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