Awesome Terrible Movie: Dead Heat

“Dead Heat” (1988), directed by Mark Goldblatt, is a unique blend of horror, action, and comedy that offers a fresh twist to the classic cop-buddy movie formula. The film follows the exploits of detectives Roger Mortis (Treat Williams) and Doug Bigelow (Joe Piscopo) as they investigate a series of violent crimes involving reanimated corpses. The duo discovers that a nefarious organization is behind the resurrection of the dead and is using the undead as criminal henchmen. When Mortis becomes a victim of one such attack, he finds himself brought back to life with a limited window of time to solve the case before his body fully decomposes.

As Mortis and Bigelow delve deeper into the macabre conspiracy, they encounter a host of bizarre characters, from a mad scientist to a butcher shop filled with animated animal parts. The film escalates into a thrilling and comedic race against time, blending elements of horror, sci-fi, and buddy cop dynamics.


“Dead Heat” is a cult gem that embraces its unconventional premise with infectious energy and a healthy dose of humor. Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo make an unlikely yet entertaining pair of detectives. Williams brings a stoic and charismatic presence, while Piscopo injects the film with a zany and often irreverent sense of humor.

The film’s practical effects, though showing their age, add a nostalgic charm to the undead mayhem. From grotesque zombie makeup to explosive and comedic death scenes, “Dead Heat” revels in its over-the-top gore with a gleeful wink at the audience.

The blend of genres is where “Dead Heat” truly shines. It successfully juggles horror elements, like the undead and grotesque experiments, with the camaraderie and banter typical of buddy cop comedies. The script doesn’t take itself too seriously, allowing the actors to play off each other in a way that elevates the film beyond its seemingly absurd premise.

Mark Goldblatt’s direction keeps the film’s pace brisk, and the various action sequences are handled with a satisfying mix of intensity and comedy. The film’s commitment to its bizarre concept and its refusal to adhere to genre norms contribute to its cult status.

While “Dead Heat” may not be a cinematic masterpiece, it stands as a testament to the creativity and risk-taking spirit of ’80s cinema. It’s a movie that knows exactly what it is—a wild and fun ride that doesn’t shy away from its own eccentricities. For fans of horror-comedies and those who appreciate films that dare to be different, “Dead Heat” is a delightful blast from the past that deserves a spot in the cult movie hall of fame.

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Author: guyute