Dancing in the Dark

December has been a snowy, cold, incredible blur of ups and downs. It’s been a great example of how I’ve kept my life so busy that I can’t slow down enough to catch up with myself. I was too exhausted to get out of bed on my day off last week. I took it as a sign I needed to chill out instead of running myself into the ground like usual. So, I stayed in bed and rewatched Night of the Comet from 1984 while the powdered winter sun poured through my window. It was exactly what I needed. Somehow, the universe knew that I had to watch two independent babes doing their best at the end of the world. As I watched a deserted Los Angeles in the stillness of my room, I realized it looked a lot like Boise on a Saturday night. I was cruelly reminded that it’s the moments when the world is calm that we can hear ourselves the most.

All I asked Santa for this year was for some peace of mind. Maybe he’s just running late. There’s still time. Maybe he would have made it down the chimney faster if he knew the truth. That I’m on the edge of losing everything.

Sometimes it’s the space in-between two points that pulls the heaviest weight. It’s the limbo of motion right in-between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s the space in-between being young having to prove to everyone you were worth a damn, and then growing older and having to prove it to yourself.

On the heels of another Christmas heartache, on the precipice of a brand-new year, in the same old suck-town I’ve been in for too long, I fully realize the mess I’m in. This space is where I finally catch up with myself and see all the things that I’ve tried to ignore. With that comes the immediate urge to run.

Here’s what I know, that the dust never settles in a small town and I’m so sick of approaching the same corner and taking the same turn.

This is a film that combines the energy of both Christmas and New Year’s Eve into one mega-holiday-horror ball of fashion goodness. A story about two young women trying to navigate a barren world and figuring out who they are with only cannibal zombies and mad scientists left. It’s a sure-fire way of pulling you out of yourself for 95 minutes. If Regina’s insane hair and off-center buttoned tops don’t make you believe in good things to come, then surely Samantha’s quick wit and colorful cheerleader costume will put you in brighter spirits.

We have Linda Linn as key costumer, Deborah Loft as wardrobe mistress, and Regina Wrubel as the wardrobe assistant to thank for the outfits in this one.

Regina is a force. She is a babe who won’t cross the street against the light, but when she does cross, she goes all the way. She holds an air of certainty with every step, and that’s a refreshing thing to see. We meet her in the theater nestled by the Christmas tree.

Her red with gold accented theater uniform solidifies her as a pillar of authority. Any character that’s introduced in a uniform is setting a major tone and we are excited to see where she goes. She may be in high school but there is no doubt in her mind who she is.

The blush is EVERYTHING in this scene

Regina will sleep with a dude she thinks is hot for $15.00 but will get pissed if he doesn’t buy her breakfast after. That is the kind of vibe we all need in the new year. I’m claiming that for 2023 right now.

She might not know who’s stealing her spot at the arcade, but at least she knows how to wear a pair of dark denim.

These high waisted jeans are a soothing companion to the chaos below. And no, I don’t mean heaps of human red dust piles left behind after the comet strike. Leaving the theater in the aftermath we get a snippet of her brown wrap boots with leather ties.

These. Boots. Are. Insane.

An ode to the subject, perhaps? A suggestion of the otherworldly. As usual, there’s far too much to say. 80s fashion stands alone. I mean, she’s wearing these boots when she says, “Look, I don’t know what your scene is but don’t do anything stupid, okay?”

The slightly off-center button up shirt is oddly military and paramedic. Again, it’s like a uniform. It’s something you would wear only if you had to, and here Regina is wearing it by choice. It’s unclear if this was the leftovers from her boy at a theater but this decision for her works well. It adds to her arc and builds on her established character. The shirt also amplifies the sense all around her that everything seems a bit off-kilter.

Regina’s hair is at 110% this entire movie and it never falters. That’s one thing we can count on.

When we see Regina after she’s changed, she’s in ANOTHER off-center button up with illusion gaps at the shoulders in a bright teal blue. We know that the slight off to the side button up shirt elevates the eeriness in the storytelling. We don’t know why she owns these shirts, but we trust that she knows why, and that’s all that matters.

Regina is effortless when she sits on top of the cop car with her sis. It’s almost emotional how beautiful she looks in that oversized black bomber. Again, she is wearing an officer’s uniform. Another uniform that signals to us that she is fucking unstoppable. She is the authority. She is the power.

Even when a fake Madonna sings “Material Girl” at the mall, and Regina can dress in whatever she wants, she opts for a sleek black satin. She is everything and she knows it.

In the climax, Regina is still a mega babe in a bomber jacket in the shade of evil scientific research facility grey with a light teal turtleneck. The teal will always work for her, that’s what we know, and the everlasting pink that’s somehow remained on her lips is such a bold move. Regina wouldn’t have it any other way.

The last time we see her, Regina is more serene and motherly. She’s settling into life as a new leader. She is in a light beige with white accents in a long iconic 80s length dress with shoulder pads. She doesn’t care that she looks like a mom, she fits the roll well. She knows she can be pissed and vulnerable at the same time and none of it shows weakness.

Samantha is a bundle of energy and snappy remarks. She’s the kind of babe that’s all pep and zero emotion. She doesn’t take anything seriously, but she feels so much more than she’ll ever show.

We meet Samantha on the couch. She eats potato chips in a red and yellow workout ‘fit. She’s a bright colored mess in a sea of her own sadness and acts like she doesn’t give a damn.

The workout fit with the high waisted shorts over the leotard at her stepmom’s party plays into her way too cool to care kinda vibe. Honestly, I’m here for it. I’d wear something outlandish too if I knew I was gonna get punched in the face by someone I hated.

When we see Samantha again, after the comet, she’s in her cheerleader costume ready to meet up with the pep squad. The hot pink and electric blue combo is SUCH a good move for her. It’s almost too perfect. The playfulness is here again, the silliness in a character dressed in two solid colors, repeated.

Samantha knows that life sucks. She acts like she doesn’t, but she gets it. It’s her ability to have fun within the chaos that speaks so well through this outfit choice. What else could you possibly wear if you’re on air to an empty world saying, “I’ll be taking requests from all you teenage comet zombies…”

Even when we see her take her entire costume off, it’s as if she still embodies the pleats and the stars. Samantha sheds it all to look at herself in the mirror and she knows along with the audience, that she makes jokes to get herself through the days.

Samantha’s spunk is elevated in every outfit change we get with her at the mall. The outfit she eventually picks with the white boa, the blue gown, and the red crystal beads all give Samantha an edge to the attitude she fully captures. She wants to believe that there is something worth holding on for. She wants to believe that things can get better.

The last outfit we get of Samantha is an outlandish beach get-up with a tie dye coverup, chunky multi-layered necklaces, big earrings, and a mesh purse. This is an outfit that screams her carelessness. She knows that no one is looking anymore. She can be herself.

Regina and Samantha don’t leave LA. They choose to stay and start over in the place they call home. They are changing in a place that’s full of too much history.

Maybe I’ll get out of this town again and miss it enough to come back. I’ll shake the past from my shoes for the 3rd time to start somewhere new. Or I’ll stay. And I’ll find that maybe if I really work through all the shit that keeps me running, this town won’t feel so small. I won’t feel so small. I’ll be able to sit in my own skin for longer than 95 minutes.

The truth is that I’m somewhere in-between Regina and Samantha Belmont. I’m in the middle of the babe who’s completely vulnerable and the babe who makes everything a joke. I’m on my way to someone new, I think. Someone better.

We made it to the last day of the year. In 24 hours, we’ll dress up in an outfit that makes us feel good enough to leave the house. The clock will tick, and midnight will come, just like it always does. No matter how much life hurts, we will all get a new chance to do things better. We’ll stay up with the people we love until midnight to watch the sky in shimmering silence. We’ll feel the energy of the night and dance in the dark until we can’t, and we’ll feel lucky that we get to.

As streamers blur our vision and the sound of fireworks fill the sky, I’ll exhale. I’ll know, along with everyone else in the room who’s raising a glass, or kissing someone close, that in order to truly make things better, we have to do things differently. We have to be willing to change.

And the time is now, before the comet hits and we all turn into the red dust.

Happy New Year



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