The actual date of the Comet is Friday 14 December 1984. Although the radio station broadcast states that there were only 11 more shopping days left until Christmas, indicating that the comet passed the Earth on the eve of Thursday 13 December, when Reggie gets home the morning after the Comet she says to Sam, “It’s Saturday morning, where are the god damn kids?”, this would make Friday 14 December the night of the Comet; the radio station is still playing Friday’s tape as there was no-one to change it on the Saturday morning. (see the Bloopers section for more on this.)
The photo of Reggie and Sam’s father is actually the Director, Thom Eberhardt.
The Director’s wife’s family features in the still photo of Hector’s family.
Kelli Maroney [Samantha] originally auditioned for the part of Regina.
The film’s zombie make-up effects were created by David Miller Creations. Other examples of David Miller’s work also include prosthetics for A Nightmare on Elm Street, Coneheads and Angel (TV series). In the book Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy by Tommy Hutson (based on the documentary of the same name), Miller cites his work on Night of the Comet’s Zombie Cop as the main inspiration for Freddy Kreuger’s look; “I did a zombie cop makeup in Night of the Comet. Wes saw that picture and said, ‘This is very close to what I want Freddy to look like’.”
As Regina emerges from the movie theatre the morning after the comet, a poster for Death Race 2000 (1975), which starred Mary Woronov [Audrey] can be seen on the door.
The production designer, John Muto, used what he describes as a ‘comic book’ sensibility for the film. Characters were given specific colours, with the bad guys in blues and grays and the girls in colours. Regina’s colours were deeper than Sam’s to reflect that Regina was more intellectual than Sam and that Sam was wackier than Regina. For example, Sam’s cheerleading outfit is made in magenta and turquoise to make it really stand out.
Shooting for the film was completed in June 1984.
The original working title for the film was Teenage Mutant Horror Comet Zombies.
The LP that Sam tosses over her shoulder in the DJ booth is the soundtrack to Valley Girl (1983), which would become, for a short time, one of the most sought-after albums of all time.
On the wall at the movie theatre is a poster for Valley Girl, also starring Michael Bowen [Larry].
The movie poster on the door of the projector room (seen as Larry leaves) is for a 1932 movie called Red Dust.
In 1990 Kelli Maroney starred in Hard to Die and was billed as D Mason Keener – the same name as DMK from Night of the Comet [this was because she did the film as a favour to the director and didn’t want to be credited; therefore, she used an alias].
Robert Beltran and Mary Woronov had both worked together previously in the 1982 film Eating Raoul.
Kelli Maroney and Mary Woronov were both in the 1986 film Chopping Mall.
One of the film’s most memorable lines, “Daddy would have gotten us Uzis” was improvised by Kelli after the prop guns kept jamming while they were filming the scene.
Near the beginning of the film when Reggie flees downtown LA on her boyfriend’s motorcycle [1971 Triumph Bonneville T120], she comes to a stop beside a brown Mercedes-Benz 280 SE (W116). The Mercedes belonged to writer/director Thom Eberhardt. Catherine Mary Stewart has said that the shots were filmed early on Christmas morning so that there would be no-one around.
Many of the shots of the deserted streets were filmed during normal business days from high vantage points with the cameras angled to cut out the traffic. One panoramic shot came about when the Director of Photography Arthur Albert woke one morning in his sixth-floor hotel room and looked out over a deserted city, as he had his camera equipment with him, he was able to set up quickly and film it.
The 2003 ‘zombie’ film, 28 Days Later, pays homage to NOTC with a scene near the beginning of the movie where the lead encounters a Mercedes abandoned in the road.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Night of the Comet (both staring Kelli Maroney) are two of the very few films to feature the Asteroids computer game (which was in the lobby next to the Tempest game Reggie was playing).
Bee smoke was used to create fog in the film.
In September 2005, Ain’t it Cool News ran an announcement on a sequel to Night of the Comet. Kelli Maroney was to reprise her role as Sam and co-produce Night of the Comet II with Charlie Mason for his company, Ride the Rails Entertainment. At the time, the company just needed to clear the rights. Kelli Maroney eventually tracked down the rights to MGM, however, Kelli’s plans for the sequel were halted when MGM refused to sell the rights and said that they intended to hold on to them despite having no immediate plans of their own to develop them.
The young boy survivor named Brian (Chance Boyer) is the real-life son of Sharon Farrell who played Doris Belmont, the girls’ step-mother.
In Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse zombie film Planet Terror, there appears to be a reference Night of the Comet when Bruce Willis’ character, Muldoon, calls over the radio for his two soldiers, Lewis and Wilson. In Night of the Comet, Lewis and Wilson were both members of the Think Tank scientists’ group.
There is a second possible Night of the Comet reference in Planet Terror, one of the characters is called El Wray, perhaps a nod to the El Rey Movie Theatre where Reggie works in Comet.
The El Rey theatre (where Reggie works) also features in the opening credits of the 1978 film Thank God Its Friday. Check out the 3.21m mark of this YouTube clip. [submitted by Hank Jackson]
The Shopping Mall featured in Night of the Comet was Bullocks Wilshire, 3050 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles.
The two motorcycle cops, the ones riding the bikes, not the ones in make-up, were the film’s Location Cops (the police officers who stop traffic so filming can be done).
Mary Woronov has revealed that she was allowed to write all of her own dialogue for the film.
The Alley where Larry meets his demise and Reggie meets the first Zombie, was also used in the film Valley Girl.
Six of the film’s cast have at one point appeared in the TV series Murder She Wrote: Robert Beltran (Hector), Kelli Maroney (Sam), Mary Woronov (Audrey), Geoffrey Lewis (Carter), Stanley Brock (Mel) and Peter Fox (wilson).
The instant camera that is used twice in the film (initially by one of the stockboys when they have the sisters chained up, then at the end of the film when Reggie takes photos of Hector and the kids) is a Polaroid The Button.
The use of the Think Tank logo (including the jumpsuits) has echoes in the TV series Lost with the Dharma Initiative.
US TV Channel airings (as per New York Magazinelistings):
- 30 August, 1986, 6pm, Cinemax
- 17 August, 1986, 3pm & 11pm, Showtime
- 12 August, 1986, 1.30pm & 10pm, Showtime
- 15 Februry, 1986, 9am, Wometco
- 10 Februry, 1986, 7pm, Wometco
- 6 January, 1986, 11pm, Showtime
- 6 January, 1986, 2pm, Wometco
- 3 January, 1986, 12 noon, Wometco
- 1 January, 1986, 8am & 11pm, Home Box Office
- 31 December, 1985, 4pm, Home Box Office, Showtime
- 29 December, 1985, 7pm & 11pm, Showtime
- 26 December, 1985, 12 noon & 8pm, Showtime
- 20 December, 1985, 2pm, Showtime
- 16 December, 1985, 10.30am, Home Box Office
- 14 December, 1985, 12.05pm & 8pm Showtime
- 12 December, 1985, 5pm, Home Box Office
UK BBC TV Channel airings up to 2009:
- 13 October, 1994, 12.05am, BBC1
- 2 August, 1991, 11.20pm, BBC1
- 9 July, 1989, 11.45pm, BBC2 (Moviedrome)
Thom Pace has commented (via email) that all three of his soundtrack songs (I’ll Take the Blame, Virgin in Love, King County Woman) were recorded in Music Producer Don Perry’s studio and that Don had Doug Kershaw sing King County Woman as he wanted it to be a country track, Thom’s original version was not country.