9 Similarities and Differences Between “Night of the Comet” and the Total Solar Eclipse


Have you ever watched the 1980’s cult-classic Night Of The Comet?

Okay, to be fair I don’t know if it’s a “cult-classic” or not. To me it is, because it’s cheesy and campy and that’s what makes it an endearing fave for any of us who grew up with it.

With all of this total solar eclipse excitement, it’s been on my mind. So I watched it for the first time in who knows how long and for the ?? time total. (Over the years I’ve lost count. It’s quite possibly easily dozens.)

The thing that struck me right off was the similarities between the comet’s coming in the movie and this real-life Great American Eclipse.

But there are also some differences…at least, I sure hope some of them will stay differences.

Let’s check them out:

  1. Rare EventNight of the Comet starts with a narrator saying that it’s been millions of years since this comet has passed by earth. The last time it did was when the dinosaurs got wiped out. While it hasn’t been as long as millions of years for the eclipse event, it has been 99 years since the U.S. has seen a coast-to-coast solar eclipse like the one happening on August 21, 2017. And in some places (like where I am in Nashville), it’s been hundreds of years since one has happened.
  2. “Night” – In the movie, the comet came at night. Obviously the sun has to be out for a solar eclipse, but day will become “night” –or like it for a brief bit.
  3. Parties – Places in the path of totality, and even many that aren’t, are hosting Eclipse Watching Events  and Parties from coast-to-coast. It was a big-time party atmosphere in the movie. In fact, Regina and Samantha, the movie’s two main characters, were both supposed to attend their neighborhood comet-watching block party with their step-monster. But ended up not, fortunately.
  4. Accessories – In the movie, many people were wearing “comet headbands.” The must-have accessory for the eclipse are eclipse glasses.
  5. Cameras and Telescopes – You want to see as much of a major celestial event as possible, right? I just re-watched the movie, and I can’t say this for certain, but I’m pretty sure I remember at least one shot where telescopes and cameras (maybe at the block party scene?) were seen. If not, let’s just assume that was a likelihood, just as cameras and telescopes (equipped with special sun-viewing lenses) will be huge during the eclipse.

Differences (a.k.a. What We’ll Hope They Don’t Have in Common, At Least)
  1. Red Sky – Let’s hope the sky doesn’t turn red. It did during the comet –with tragic consequence. (We’ll get to those in a second.) All I can think of for the eclipse is that sailor’s rhyme: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.”
  2. Dusted – In the movie, many people instantly dissolved into red dust while watching the comet. Some people may get sunburns, but let’s hope that’s all the “red” that happens and humanity doesn’t get wiped out.
  3. Weird Eyes – In the movie, people who survived being turned to dust were turned to something much worse. Their skin turned gross, but their eyes…The eyes turned into sort of glowy, evil orbs. The news and healthcare professionals galore have been warning people can incur serious retinal damage from the eclipse. Not that anyone’s eyes will turn into glowy, evil orbs (hopefully), but you definitely want a pair of glasses for watching to protect the peepers!
  4. Zombies – Lastly, and most importantly, we’ll hope the eclipse does not transform anyone into a flesh-hungry cannibal like the comet did in the movie! (But just in case, if you survive might want to have some weapons handy.)


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