(poster by Daniel Bresette and can be viewed here)
For its final night, the Toronto Underground Cinema ran the inspired double-bill of Night of the Comet and the Last Waltz. Having not seen Night of the Comet before, I was pleasantly surprised. A playful 80s zombie / post-apocalyptic one-off, it combines the MTV sensibility of Valley Girl and Fast Times at Ridgemont High with the ominous dread of Dawn of the Dead. With its tongue firmly planted in cheek, the film (to its credit) does not take itself too seriously. As a result, it has dated extremely well.
Actors Robert Beltran and Catherine Mary Stewart give fun but not hammy performances that are a joy to watch. The 80s soundtrack delivers an expected jolt of energy that helps sustain the film’s pace. This is the type of fun, late-night fare that CityTV used to specialize in. While it appears that the DVD is out of print, those who are interested shouldn’t find it too hard to track down a copy. For more info, check out this informative site.
Also, it is worth commending the guys at the Underground for the theatre’s great run during its 2.5 years of operation. Nigel Agnew, Alex Woodside and Charlie Lawton ran programming that was personal and spoke to their interests. Frequently brave, they took risks on screenings that they were passionate about. Who else would screen stoner classic Heavy Metal on a weeknight? Toronto is definitely worse off without them. I remain hopeful that even if the Underground does not re-open, Agnew, Woodside and Lawton will go on to do other interesting things and continue to play a role in the Toronto film scene. Am I the only one who is going to miss seeing the Golden Harvest logo (which should be famous to any seasoned kung fu nuts) on the wall by the stair case?
And on that note, the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” scene from Night of the Comet.
UPDATE: The Toronto Underground updated its Facebook page with the following goodbye message. For the purpose of posterity, I’m posting it here as well:
That’s all folks!
Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of this thing over the last few years. It has changed the 3 of us more then we can say. We are sad to see it go, but welcome a new chapter of life.
To everyone who came last night to watch the films and party with us; thanks for making the bitter sweet, totally sweet! It was a fucking blast, and now we are all hung over!
See ya’round Toronto!