Monday, October 7, 2013

Night of Terror #6: 'Dead Heat'

To much fanfare, tonight marks the first time in the history of 31 Blights of Error that the same movie has been reviewed twice. After months of careful deliberation I decided that only one horror classic is worthy of this honor: Dead Heat (you can read the review from last year by the illustrious Tim Garbage by clicking here).

In case it isn't clear from the hilarious title, Dead Heat is a movie about a cop (Treat Williams) who gets killed and then resurrected as a decaying kind-of-zombie cop who has 12 hours to investigate and wipe out the Republican zombie farmers who killed him to keep him quiet. Luckily for him, he has the greatest funny cop partner in the history of film, played by Joe Piscopo in all of his steroidal and skin-of-a-hot-dog glory.

Let me make one thing crystal clear about Joe Piscopo in this movie: Nothing he says is funny. The jokey script by Terry Black (the nerdier and much less talented brother of Shane Black) gives him approximately 8,000 one-liners in the movie, and in a true quantum miracle of mathematical probability not a single one of them is actually remotely funny. And yet, probably due to my 25 years of hindsight on this movie, I laughed at pretty much every one. There's just something hilarious about the unabashed bad taste and witless goofery of Piscopo's performance here, and the fact that he looks like a body builder who listens to chillwave doesn't hurt either.

Apart from Piscopo though, there are some interesting ideas here, albeit all of the half-baked variety. As Treat Williams' character continues to decompose, the movie comes close to being a satire of bloody Reagan-era action movies, as he becomes less and less concerned about the value of human life. By the end, he's pretty much mowing down every body in his way, and that's after he met the death of his ostensible love interest with a series of Piscopoian one-liners.

It's also fun to see two of my all-time favorite character actors hamming it up in advanced old age: Vincent Price, looking appropriately like warmed-over death, and Keye "Number One Son" Luke. They both play villains in a plot to let paying old rich white people live forever as walking corpses (I'm guessing some extra social commentary ended up on the cutting room floor), but unfortunately they only get about 15 minutes on screen between them. There are also some truly disgusting special effects going on in this movie - some of the most disgusting I've ever seen, in fact. But they're all still funnier than Joe Piscopo (haha, fuck you Joe Piscopo, I know you're reading this you fuck).

Dead Heat is a movie that I imagine felt like the worst kind of garbage when it came out in 1987. But now it takes on some new dimension as hilarious anti-comedy and a last glimpse of a now completely-gone generation of actors. And Joe Piscopo gets attacked by a dead pig.

No comments:

Post a Comment