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Dead Heat

USA 1987
produced by
David Helpern, Michael L. Meltzer for New World
directed by Mark Goldblatt
starring Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo, Lindsay Frost, Darren McGavin, Vincent Price, Keye Luke, Clare Kirkconnell, Robert Picardo, Mel Stewart, Professor Toru Tanaka, Martha Quinn, Ben Mittleman, Peter Kent, Cate Caplin, Peggy O'Brien, Chip Heller, Steven R.Bannister, Lew Hopson, Tom Nolan, Steve Itkin, Shane Black, Michael Saad, Monty Cox, Monty Ash, H.Ray Huff, Pons Maar, Davan Scott, Ivan E.Roth, Ron Taylor, Yvonne Peattie, Clarence Brown, Pamela Vansant, Beth Toussaint, Dick Miller, Linnea Quigley
written by Terry Black, music by Ernest Troost, special effects by Steve Johnson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Cops Doug (Joe Piscopo) & Roger (Treat Williams) are trailing down the Crash-&-Burn-gang, who have committed a sereis of extremely brutal robberies in broad daylight & who have the ability to survive gunshots. Inevitably it turns out the Crash-&-Burn-gang are a bunch of zombies, & their trail can easily be followed to Dante Pharmaceuticals, where our 2 heroes really do find conclusive evidence in the company's invovlement in producing zombies & having them rob places.

However, finding this evidence costs Roger his life. Good thing though, that coroner Rebecca (Clare Kirkconnell), incidently Roger's ex, is pretty handy with machines, finds out how Dante Pharmaceutical's ressurection machine works in no time & brings Roger back to life (after death). Snitch is, he has only 12 hours before decomposing sets in - & he wants to make this time count & nail those behind his untimely death.

Their first clue leads Roger & Doug to Brandy (Lindsay Frost), Dante's PR-manager, who is initially rather reluctant to help them, only when a gang of zombies attack her appartment too is she ready to provide Roger & Doug with some more clues, the first of which leads them to Thool's (Keye Luke) butchery, who not only stores dead meat in his shop, but also the means to revive it - which almost proves fatal for our heroes, since he did happen to store the torso of a bull in his shop too - which is not at all pleased about his condition. Roger Doug & brandy come out of it unscathed though, & despite Thool managed to escape, they find the decisive clue in his office, that gives them an idea of the intention behind it all:

Thool, obviously in league with Dante Pharmaceuticals, promises rich people eternal life through the resurrection machine, but in turn get half their fortune - & the heads behind it all seem to be Thool, Arthur P.Loudermilk (Vincent Price), incidently Brandy's father, and ... who knows, but he has to have access to corpses.

However, while doing further investigations, Doug is killed, & Roger sees Brandy - i9ncidently also a zombie - decomposing before his very eyes. But he also finds the real culprit, the county's chief coroner McNabb (Darren McGavin). Unfortunately, McNabb is not unprepared, & locks Roger into an ambulance, together with the corpse of Rebecca, whom he has since also seen fit to kill. There Roger is to spend all of his remaining 45 minutes of life, only he is not kept down that easily & soon crashes the ambulance in a massive accident that would have killed him was he not already dead, & he enters McNAbb's offices again, right at a promotions party for the resurrectin machine, that McNabb, Thool & Loudermilk hold for very rich people (the only ones who can afford to live forever). But McNabb has another ace up his sleeve, zombie Doug, who he believes was braindead long enough to have forgotten Roger ... only McNabb was wrong, & indstead of killing his old buddy as told, Doug kills McNabb, then the 2 zombie-cops blow up the resurrection machine - & Thool, Loudermilk & all the rich people with it. End.


Unfortunately, the idea for Dead Heat - zombies investigating their own deaths - sounds better than the finished product, as the movie can neither decide between being a straight action film, a comedy or horror, & has some unnecessatry bittersweet episodes thrown in to make it worse, nor does it manage to blend these elements to an entertaining stew. Also some typical action flick oneliners that are supposed to be funny are just horrible, & the mediocre lead actors are not always capable to carry the movie.

On the plus side however, Dead Heat has some really inspired scenes (best of all the scene in the butchery, where our heroes are attacked by revived meat), & genre faves like Vincent Price, Keye Luke & Darren McGavin do lend this movie an unbeatable & charming b-movie-aura.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD