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Dead Heat Details


Although many genre filmmakers have managed to blend horror and humor with great success, movies employing this formula often run the risk of both elements canceling each other out, resulting in a horror comedy that is neither scary nor funny. Alas, Dead Heat is a textbook example of this kind of failure. It details the weird misadventures of a pair of mismatched L.A. cops -- the straitlaced and by-the-book Roger Mortis (Treat Williams) and wisecracking loose cannon Doug Bigelow (muscle-headed Treat Williams alum Joe Piscopo). Their quest is to reach the heart of a sinister crime ring that employs indestructible undead henchmen. In a strange twist, their inept handling of the case results in both cops -- first Williams, then Piscopo -- being killed in action and subsequently reanimated in a secret laboratory managed by the barely seen Vincent Price (whose walk-on role is more entertaining than the combined performances of the two leads). The potential for "splatstick" comedy in the mode of Vincent Price or Peter Jackson's Peter Jackson is defeated by two major obstacles: first, the painfully unfunny mugging of Piscopo, who was unwisely allowed to ad-lib much of his performance; and second, the MPAA's trimming of several minutes from Steve Johnson's sensational makeup effects in order to avoid the dreaded X rating -- including a clever scene involving a zombie go-go girl played by Linnea Quigley. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

  • Release date:May 6, 1988


Treat Williams
as Roger Mortis
Joe Piscopo
as Doug Bigelow
Lindsay Frost
as Randi James
Darren McGavin
as Dr. Ernest McNab
Vincent Price
as Arthur P. Loudermilk
Clare Kirkconnell
as Rebecca Smythers
Keye Luke
as Mr. Thule
Ben Mittleman
as Bob
Peter Kent
as Smitty
Monty Cox
as Guard
Mel Stewart
as Capt. Mayberry
Martha Quinn
as Newscaster
Clarence Brown
as Harry Lathamn
Monica Lewis
as Mrs. Von Heiserberg
H. Ray Huff
as Cop
Monty Ash
as Walter
Ivan Roth
as End Zombie
Prof. Toru Tanaka
as Butcher
Yvonne Peattie
as Gertrude Bellman
Chip Heller
as Wilcox
Tom Nolan
as Jonas
Peggy O'Brien
as Jewelry Store Manager
Lew Hopson
as Whitfield
Steve Itkin
as Freman
Ron Taylor
as Shoot Out Zombie
Robert Picardo
as Lieutenant Herzog
Beth Toussaint
as Lab Technician
Pons Maar
as Pool Zombie
Pamela Vansant
as Lab Technician
Mike Saad
as Guard
Shane Black
as Patrolman
Dawan Scott
as Pool Zombie


Mark Goldblatt
David Helpern
Darren Star
Terry Black
Robert Yeoman
Ernest Troost
Composer (Music Score)
Harvey Rosenstock
Craig Stearns
Production Designer
Michael Meltzer
Allen Alsobrook
Associate Producer
Greta Grigorian
Set Designer
Lisa Jensen
Costume Designer
Walt Martin
Sound/Sound Designer
Patrick Read Johnson
Special Effects
Mike Topoozian
First Assistant Director
Mario Roberts
Dan Bradley
Steve Jacobs
Patrick Read Johnson
Special Effects Supervisor
Dan Bradley
Stunts Coordinator