Cult-Trash-Badass-Cinema -and more…

DEAD HEAT (1988)


Directed by Mark Goldblatt

The first time I saw this film was on TV, late at night or early in the morning, not sure which. Totally by accident I witnessed a strange mix of comedy, action and horror. There was nothing to be taken seriously  here, plotholes and, at least in the second half, a somewhat mediocre finish kept this from beeing something bigger, more memorable.

But at least the first half is dead-on fun. Joe Piscopo I knew from SNL, he did some great stuff with Eddie Murphy. Treat Williams  , also a somewhat familar face. I now remember him best from “Deep Rising”.

The director Mark Goldblatt I  guess is best-known for “Punisher” with Dolph Lundgren. And he didn`t do much more than two feature films , one tv episode of some Tv series and he was second unit director for “Robocop”. It seems he was way more active as an editor.

Sad, really. He obviously can handle extreme action very well.

Plot: The detectives Mortis and Bigelow are called to the scene of an armed robbery of a jewellery store. The robbers seem almost invincible, they take quite a few bullets, seemingly unaffected by them. They are taken down in the end with a rather drastic measure. In the morgue, the bodies show signs of an autopsy, which is, of course a bit unusual. The coroner( a friend of Mortis) finds traces of a  preservative chemical, not normally found in corpses. They investigate  a  company that just recently ordered a great amount of this said chemical.There,  they get into trouble and Mortis dies in a decompression chamber.

Bigelow, who discovered the machine that reanimates the dead, puts his friend in there, reanimating him. They explain to him what happened. After he absorbed the new situation and realizing his newly found life is very limited, he wants to hunt down the ones responsible…..

Ok, I stope here describing the plot…..

The film is full of bloody shootouts, great practical FX and humor. Yet the potential of this basic idea feels a bit wasted , since the movie plays out in a very cliched way. The humor may not be for everybody, a bit on the flat side sometimes…but it worked well enough for me. Its just not A-list humor, I dunno how to describe it. But its a nice little party film to waste 80 minutes.

And it has Vincent Price as the mad scientist, if that helps. This film has pros and cons, and I cant hate or completely love it..its somwhere inbetween. Its a medium rare piece of b-movie, not hitting the bulls eye, but leaving  huge holes on the sides of the mark.

But I can understand why they hired Goldblatt to do the Punisher after this.

Guns and squibs were close to his heart, it seems.

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One response

  1. Great review buddy! This one was a big film in my home when it hit VHS back in the day. I can’t even count how many times I watched it. Let’s just say it was a lot. lol. I remember wondering when the hell did Piscopo get buff? And always wondered why Goldblatt didn’t make more films as a director. He definitely has the talent. It’s been at least 15 years or so since I’ve seen this one though. I’ll have to check it out soon.

    December 30, 2011 at 10:22 PM

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