Directed by: Mark Goldblatt
Written by: Terry Black
Starring : Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo, Darren McGavain, Lindsay Frost and Vincent Price.
How many times have you sat watching a cop drama and said to yourself, “this movie needs more Zombies!” If you’re like me then I expect it crosses your mind all the time. Let’s face it, everyone loves Mutated Zombies. You find a way to insert a flesh eating walking corpse into your moving picture and the ratings go up, well sometimes. This is the concept behind Terry Black’s comedy driven action movie “Dead Heat”
The film begins quickly and the pace is kept through out, which is notable of many ‘80s action. Leather wearing villains burst into a bank to start some mayhem with the result being a aggressive show down with the local police. Many, I repeat many, bullets are fired in the opening scene. The police soon realize these robbers are not ordinary, perhaps “jacked up on PCP”, as they do not die very easily.
Enter our heroes. The by the book, hard nosed, straight man, Det. Roger Mortis (Treat Williams) and his partner the bulky, dim witted, comedy relief, Det. Doug Bigelow (Joe Piscopo, hot out of SNL). Between jokes and gunfire they manage to take down the rampaging psychos and peace is restored. The End.
Wait, I mean it’s just getting started!
After the corpses of the bank robbers disappear from the morgue, clues lead the Detectives to strange company where things are a little unnerving. During a battle with a strange biker beast ( the monster is quite well down for the budget) Roger Mortis ends up worm food, due to suffocation. Lucky for him wise cracking Bigelow finds a “Resurrection Machine” in the companies underbelly and brings our star back from the great unknown. Now they only have 12 hours to solve the murderous crimes before Mortis becomes dead for reals this time.
“Dead Heat” is popcorn chewing fun. The action never stops and the special effects get better as the movie goes on ( the Chinese restaurant scene is a must see). Treat Williams get to shine here as he carries the picture through out. Piscopo on the other hand gets to be himself, the jokes often fall flat with some decent zings.
The movie would end up being the nail in the coffin of most of these peoples careers. Mark Goldblatt would only direct one more film before moving on to being successful in editing jobs and Terry Black hasn’t written another movie. Which makes me sad.
I say rent it! Get some popcorn and enjoy the zombie ride. You’ll have a good time, and a chance to see Vincent Price in one of his last roles.