I’m doing the Nightmare on Film Street movie challenge this year like I did last year. The first day is re-animated and I decided to go with a zombie movie that I hadn’t seen before. Dead Heat isn’t really a traditional horror movie, it’s kind of more of a action comedy with a horror twist. I’m actually pretty happy that I started the month off with this movie. Its so fun and goofy with awesome practical effects.
Dead Heat was directed by Mark Goldblatt. It was written by Terry Black. It stars Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo, Darren McGavin, Lindsay Frost, and Vincent Price. I wish Treat Williams got to do more stuff like this in his career. Outside of this and Deep Rising I’ve only seen him in stuff like the show Everwood and there’s honestly not much to that. If you watch one episode you get the feel of what he gets to do in a role like that. In this he gets to have fun and just be loose.
There will be spoilers going forward. Please watch the movie if you haven’t.
Dead Heat starts with a jewelry store robbery and a shoot-out. You’re also introduced to detectives Roger Mortis and Doug Bigelow, and you get a handle on their relationship. The robbers are eventually taken out after a big shoot-out. It’s discovered that the robbers had been dead because they have autopsy scars. Both detectives investigate a company and are given a tour by a PR person. Bigelow goes off by himself and a fight ensues in which Mortis ends up being killed. He is revived by a machine, and he feels fantastic aside from not having a pulse. The detectives find the PR person as she’s trying to leave town. All three are attacked by a couple of revived criminals, which are taken out after a fight. They go to Chinatown and go to a butcher shop. They are attacked by the dead animals after they are revived by a machine. They separate and Mortis and Randi the PR person investigate the case and Bigelow does his own thing. It’s discovered the Randi was a revived person and she eventually melts but after Bigelow has been murdered. Mortis confronts the head coroner Dr. McNab and is knocked out. He is locked in an ambulance and he causes a huge crash so that he can escape. Mortis drives off from the crash after getting a cop’s gun and motorcycle. He kills everyone that he can as he gets back to the company. Bigelow is revived by McNab and is almost tricked into killing Mortis. Mortis is able to reach him and they both confront McNab. He kills himself but is revived by the duo. He is revived a second time and explodes, damaging the machine. Mortis and Bigelow shoot the machine which causes it to explode completely. The duo walk off as they exchange witty dialogue.
The makeup effects are fantastic in Dead Heat. They deserve to be talked about because they look pretty gnarly. This also has an end credits song, but it doesn’t talk about the plot of the movie like other end credits song. The score was done by Ernest Troost. It’s pretty good and the music that plays during the end confrontation sounds fairly similar to the main theme of Terminator.
Dead Heat is a movie that was ahead of its time. If it were made now, it would probably feel derivative because there have been so many movies made since that have similar feels. I know that it is at the very least on Shudder, where you can either watch it by itself or being hosted by Joe Bob Briggs. I would give Dead Heat 8 revived cattle bodies our of 10.