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Night of the Comet is about secretly craving the end of the world

By Dany Roth
night of the comet

Unless you're part of one of those cults that lives in a bunker full of buckets that double as both food canister and eventual toilet (look it up, that's a real thing), you probably don't actively crave the death of human civilization. The apocalypse is a stone cold bummer! Right? Right?

Or is it?

If we're taking a broad view from the current climate of western, late-stage capitalism? Well? I mean... let's do the math:

Infrastructure: rapidly collapsing.

Poverty: rampant.

The internet: exists.

I dunno, dudes: maybe throw a food/toilet bucket my way, because it's starting to look like the end of the world as we know it and, in the modern, dog-with-hat-sitting-in-a-room-on-fire parlance, this is fine.

That, in a very roundabout way, is the POV of the 1984 basic cable classic, Night of the Comet. Well, minus the internet part, anyway.

The basic plot of Night of the Comet is: two sisters accidentally survive a world-ending event, face off against a smattering of comet-zombies and an evil, pseudo-eugenics think tank only to win the day, get cool outfits, and meet cute boys. In short: it's a weirdly upbeat movie for the end times.

But it kinda makes sense if you catch all the devils in the details. One of the sisters is in a dead-end job with no real release save for playing the same arcade game every day and the other is physically abused by their step-mother. Their father, who we never see, is a soldier who, we're given a pretty strong indication, suffers from PTSD and has checked out of both his and their lives. It's the 1980s, the decade of excess, and yet our two heroes don't really have access to any of it.

For all the zombie anxiety and the loss of everything they've ever known, our protagonists mostly just get to look cool while shooting guns, be the masters of ther own destiny, and then hit the mall. Truly, the American Dream. Literally. There's a mall in New Jersey called "American Dream."

On today's episode of Every Day Horror presents the 13 Days of Halloween podcast, author of The Company of Death, Elisa Hansen, and co-host of The Apocalist Book Club, Antonella Inserra, return to talk about how the apocalypse can take you from FOMO to YOLO and why it is that we should all aspire to be a cheerleader with an uzi.

On tomorrow episode, Allison Pregler, Phelan Porteous, and Mathew Buck return to talk about the greatest zombie comedy of all time (and arguably one of the greatest zombie movies, period), Shuan of the Dead.