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Overall Rating
3.91

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look81.82%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 9.09%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 5 user ratings


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Cemetery Man
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by Brian McKay

"The first burial will cost you, but the second one is free!"
4 stars

Finally released on DVD, the 1994 cult classic CEMETERY MAN (or, its original and far better Italian title, DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE) stands the test of time as a suprisingly witty and even existential zombie love story. Filled with gratuitous gore and sex (and the more gratuituous the better, I always say), the film takes an unexpected left turn into philosophical musings on the duality "of Love and Death" (which is precisely what the Italian title translates to)

Despite being an almost exclusively Italian production, the film is shot in English and features UK-born leading man Rupert Everett in the role of Francesco Dellamorte - a handsome but somber young man whose sole existence revolves around his job as the live-in caretaker of an old and creepy-looking cemetery. Everett's wry charm and British wit serve him well in the role. Serving as sidekick is Nagi (François Hadji-Lazaro), an odd little fellow who mostly speaks in grunts, eats like a pig, and usually does most of the dirty work and heavy lifting about the place.

For reasons unknown, the recently buried have been coming back to life, showing up on Francesco's doorstep nearly every night. Quickly grown used to this shocking predicament, he begins to shoot or smash zombie heads in a perfunctory manner before quietly re-burying them. He only confides his situation to his friend Franco (Anton Alexander), a town clerk who pays him his monthly salary. But Francesco refuses to tell anyone else for fear that the place would be shut down - thereby putting both him and Nagi out of a job and house.

But as the zombie epidemic worsens, Francesco meets a grieving widow who he describes as "The most beautiful living woman I have ever seen" (Played by the stunning Anna Falchi, quite possibly one of the most beautiful living women anyone has ever seen). His attempts to seduce her fall flat at first, until he shows her an old crypt full of crumbling bones. Surprisingly, she is turned on by this, as she appears to have an odd death fetish. But when he makes love to her on top of her husband's grave, the dead man doesn't take too kindly, and quickly comes crawling out of the ground to bite his not-so-greiving-anymore widow.

Soon, however, the film meanders into the territory of the surreal and existential, as Francesco keeps running into his dream woman over and over again, each time in a different guise. And while he muses on the meaning of these recurrent encounters, the undead keep piling up on his doorstep in a most inconvenient manner. Meanwhile, Nagi finds himself a girlfriend in the form of a recently decapitated teenage girl who comes back to life - or at least her head does. Although she would have never been interested in Nagi while alive, she finds him a perfectly acceptable companion in un-death, declaring "I'm not such a prize these days either."

While the pacing in CEMETERY MAN begins to lag somewhere between the second and third acts, the film rarely has a dull moment. Even when Falchi isn't prominently displaying her stupendous breasts, or Everett isn't dispatching some new zombie attack in any number of gruesomely creative ways (my favorite was a large cross through the back of the head), director Michele Soavi and cinematographer Mauro Marchetti treat us to several fantastic and moody shots, squeezing the most out of the cemetery's creepy but beautiful environs. It's as gorgeous a low-budget spaghetti horror film as you're likely to find anywhere, and Anchor Bay has done a beautiful transfer, albeit without touching up some of the film's more dubious visual elements (the effect of ghostly lights in the cemetery, for example, is clearly and crudely rendered wiith flaming tennis balls bouncing around on strings). Maybe the cheesiness of scenes like these are part of the B-movie appeal, but certainly removing a few wires digitally wouldn't have been such a bad thing.

CEMEMETERY MAN has all the elements of a zombie cult classic, but with a little more thought and effort put into the script than most zomibie movies get (or deserve). The cast is uniformly good, and there is enough sex, gore, and snappy one-liners to render it an instant genre classic.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8921&reviewer=258
originally posted: 06/28/06 05:16:27
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User Comments

6/25/09 Mort Silly and boring 2 stars
4/10/07 David Pollastrini good gore and hot women! 4 stars
6/16/06 SteveO Hilariously cheesy horror, philosophical subtext, and Anna Falchi's FANTASTIC tits! 4 stars
12/06/04 K. Sear Wonderful and deceptive film. Starts out as horror and ends as existential philosophy. 5 stars
7/28/04 Jack Moran Hilarious! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Apr-1996 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jun-1996 (MA)




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