Detective Roger Mortis is having a terrible day. He barely has time for coffee before he and his partner must contend with a group of armed robbers who don't seem to be phased by the barrage of bullets lodged in their chests. Even after putting the aforementioned robbers out of commission he still gets chewed out by his superiors and has a fight with his ex. Oh, and then he dies. But before his partner can even pick out the floral arrangements for Roger's funeral, he is reanimated by a bizarre piece of machinery. Too bad for Roger, he is still decomposing. Now he has 24 hours to solve his own murder and punish those at fault with a dying man's resolve.
I lauded this film in full when it played Terror Tuesday a few months back, but this was my first viewing both since that event and since purchasing the DVD. Dead Heat still tickles me in all the appropriate places. It is a paradigm of high-concept, low intelligence 80's filmmaking which happens to be my favorite type especially when communicated through the horror genre. Treat Williams is quite the lovable corpse and there is a direct proportion between my love for that character and his visible necrosis. My biggest problem with the film was, and has always been, Joe Piscapo who barely passes for a human being even before he is zombified. But upon this viewing, his low-brow, undisciplined brand of "comedy" bothered me far less. I'm not saying I am appreciating him more, but it's something akin to being punched in the head so many times that you start to become numb to the blows. If I think of him as less a human character and more a talking cartoon ape, his antics seem more appropriate.