Doug being the wise-cracking gagster is going to get killed, shot in the line of duty, and brought back as a zombie cop. Roger will get together with his Quincy-like friend and Randi will eventually fall madly in love with Doug, despite his deadness. Oh, and Vincent Price will be the main baddy, responsible for these zombie kleptos.
But none of that actually happens. Interestingly this review follows in the footsteps of, erm... Footsteps in the Fog (nice link) a film jam-packed full of story content. Dead Heat also messes with what is generally expected and I was never quite sure where it was going. It is a light-hearted jovial affair, despite being an 18, but has another darker side to it that reminds me of the films The Hidden and Monolith, (another film starring Lindsay Frost). One example of this is when our hapless heroes are in a Chinese butcher's shop. The animals get reanimated and attack. It's all a bit comedy. But then something else appears that is slightly more disturbing. A great scene.
The excellent Steve Johnson created the effects and pretty impressive they are too. At one point, one of the relatively well preserved zombies starts to visibly melt and the skin round its eye and mouth droops downwards. It's a brilliant effect and I would have to watch it again to figure out how it was done. One minor complaint about the make-up: at the end, one of the characters is in fairly extensive prosthetics and they cease to look like the character they were originally. The eyes don't look anything like the actor's eyes. If you told me a different actor played the part and they just added in the voice later, I'd believe you.
Let's get all of the moans out of the way: characters behaving stupidly always brings me out of horror films. So when I'm shouting for a character to smash a window, or even shoot it, to rescue someone and the character doesn't it seems a bit odd. Especially when it would have given the scene even greater emotional impact and shock value. A missed opportunity.
Gripes aside, this has to be one of the best zombie films that I've watched this year that I haven't seen before. It is very eighties, along with some quality mullets, but it's fun and different from the majority of films in this season. Recommended.
If you like this you could also try:
Monolith, The Hidden, Nightmare City