When her MAC-10 jams several times Sam says "See that's the problem with these things, Daddy would have gotten us UZI's" At the time the MAC-10 had an (undeserved) reputation in popular culture for jamming and the UZI had a (well deserved) reputation for reliability.
When cheerleader Samantha Belmont (Kelli Maroney) is playing at the radio station as a disk jockey, she says that she is taking requests from "all you teenage mutant comet zombies". This was the working title of the film.
The production designer, John Muto, used what he describes a "comic book" sensibility for the film. Characters were given specific colors, with the bad guys in blues and grays and the girls in colors. Regina's colors 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.
Catherine Mary Stewart did almost all of her own stunts except for riding the motorcycle through Los Angeles. The long shots of Stewart on the motorcycle are a stunt woman while the close-ups of Stewart were done by putting the motorcycle on top of a flatbed truck.
Kelli Maroney improvised the Uzi line when the weapon jammed for real. Director Thom Eberhardt told the cast to react to any unexpected occurrences as their characters would do, since time and money were tight and they needed to avoid unnecessary retakes.
The comet passes over on Friday the 14th December 1984. When Regina is trying to convince Samantha that everyone is dead she says "It's Saturday, where are all the kids?" so the comet passed on Friday night. In the radio station the recording mentions that there are 11 more shopping days till Christmas. If they count the 24th as the last shopping day that means the comet passed on the 14th.
Like many horror films of the 1970s and 1980s (e.g. Dawn of the Dead), this film has several critiques of consumer culture contained within the plot and dialogue. Perhaps the best example is when the think tank is looking for Samantha and Regina. While pondering on where the girls might be, one member of the think tank says that the shopping arcade and area are "an absolute monument to consumerism."
At the start of the movie, Regina is upset because the player "DMK" has upset her perfect list of wins on the video game in the theater lobby. The convertible the almost runs over Samantha at the movie's ending is driven by Danny Mason Keener - "DMK" is his license plate.
Director Thom Eberhardt recalls receiving praise for his creative decision to depict Kelli Maroney's character walking out of an elevator by focusing on her feet, instead of a conventional full body or upper body shot. Eberhardt told the Projection Booth podcast that this was in fact a result of running out of time to shoot the scene on location. With the actress unavailable to participate in pick-ups, a member of the production team wore the character's sneakers, and with no actual elevator to film in, a couple of screens were filmed in tight close-up and pulled apart manually by stagehands to simulate the opening of the doors. The use of footwear to represent the entire character is an example of the literary and visual metaphorical device of synecdoche.
The waving clown in the first desolate shots of downtown Los Angeles is the same one Pee-wee Herman locks his bike to in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) and subsequently gets stolen. Thus the clown is associated with two separate tragedies that are the inciting moments in each film.