This is a rather surreal, magical, comedy, horror film. I know that seems a rather strange thing to say; the opening involves a man calmly putting the phone down and shooting a member of the undead (or "returners", as he calls them) in the head and then carrying on with his call.
------(some small) spoilers-------
The film (seems to) tell the story of Francesco Dellamorte (Everett), a watchman of the cemetery (although everyone else calls him the "engineer") in the small Italian town of Buffalora. There, for reasons never quite explained, the dead come back to life after a few days. Dellamorte's job is to dispense with the troublesome wanderers, which he does in a calm, undramatic, style. Just a man doing his job....at least to begin with...I won't give away the whole story - I hate reviews that do that - however, there is a (recurring) "love" story and a smart, comedic, tone throughout. The camera work involves some great "creepy cemetry" shots and there is a fair bit of, non-exploitative, gore (we are dealing with the undead, after all), however, it still has a feeling, somehow, of a magical, darkly comical, fairy tale, but, no, we are not in Tim Burton territory!
Everett is outstanding as the stoical, sardonic, hero(?). He brings a wonderful, credible, mix of no nonsense action man, romance and weariness to the lead. I wish he had done more work like this, although maybe there IS no more work like this!?
The most enjoyable character for me, however, is his loyal side-kick Gnaghi (as Everett says in the film; "poor Gnaghi, on his ID card it says; "distinctive physical marks: All""), who manages to develop real depth and pathos in his role with a vocabulary that seems to consist of nothing more than the word; "Nyah" (I think). Although he does get one line of dialogue at the very end. He steals the show.
Is the whole thing meant to be a dream? A dark fairy tale, of sorts? No idea, to be honest. But it captivated me. (I went looking for an explanation afterwards and found the one in the link below....who knows.....)
I'm sure this film will not be for everyone (what film is?) but this one gets my vote for originality, style, fun and sense of strangeness, without being too "arty" (ah! I nearly got to the end without using that word! Sorry)
Judging from the reviews and the price of a used DVD, this movie is a border line cult classic. It is a must see for any Zombie movie fan. The movie is Italian, however this movie, in spite of the reviews, is not to horror movies what Trinity is to Westerns. The movie has a two or three classic scenes which has placed it in this status. Outside of those scenes, the movie is strictly B grade horror, non cult classic. Cemetery man kills zombies in a very nonchalant fashion after the dead become re-animated and sometimes knock on his door. Zombies are killed in the true classic fashion (head shot only).
Cemetery man has a mute side kick who looks like Curly Joe, except is a lot dumber. Like Stan (Southpark) he gets violently ill near a pretty girl. Plot Spoiler? The cult classic scene is when the mute side kick has the head of his zombie girlfriend mounted inside his broken TV set. For some reason she can talk and other zombies are mute. There is nudity as Cemetery man makes love to a woman on her husband's grave, who then becomes re-animated. The bodies of these women are all 10's. They are Italy's answer to Denise Richards.
Francesco Dellamorte(Rupert Everett) has a problem. The people he buries in the graveyard where he is the keeper, won't stay dead. His problems escalate when a coach load of school children and a biker gang all end up six foot under, especially as his assistant Gnaghi has taken a shine to the Mayor's daughter, one of the deceased. This visually stunning treat from the imagination of brilliant Italian director Michele Soavi, really is uncatagorisable. Its a zombie film, a black comedy, a love story and fairytale all rolled into one, and if any film copuld be called a 'thinking persons zombie bloodbath' then this is it. Rupert Everett is fantastic as Dellamorte, matter of factly disposing of the local undead populus, and François Hadji-Lazaro is equally good as Dellamorte's dim witted assistant Gnaghi. These two characters make a great double act, and they remind me a bit of Professor Ambronsius and Alfred in Polanski's 'Dance Of The Vampires'. The sets and special effects are also top notch A treat for the senses. 5 out of 5
I had heard of this film marginally, but never seen it before purchasing the Shameless edtion. I have to say, I was totally stunned at what is a work of rare genius it is. Given the number of times I was laughing with my mouth hanging open at how completely but wonderfully bonkers some parts of this film are, but on some level it just all comes together beautifully and works, and makes a weird kind of internal sense (though don't ask me to explain it). It's poetic, and dreamlike, and profound, and clever - but doesn't pull it's punches with it's visceral imagery - although the direction and cinematography make for some thoroughly beautiful, if macabre, imagery at times.
This really should be a much better known and more widely seen film. I manages to blend buckets of blood with the depth and integrity of a good arthouse film, without ever being the slightest bit pretentious.
This is often cited as the last of the classic Italian horrors. If that's the case, then at least it went out on a high.
Iv just recently started to watch these wierd and wonderful Italian movies. The likes of Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci. On the whole, although some of them are fantastic, they are very hard to watch. You watch them once, feel enriched for the experience, and then never watch them again. This movie is different. Dont get me wrong, it is by no means an easy ride, but it keeps you watching and trying your best to fathom out whats going on from start to finish. Glued to it I was. Adapted from an Italian graphic novel, DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, is a dark horror fanatasy, its story twisting and turning through many different macabre situations. Leading its main protagonist Francesco Dellamorte, the caretaker of Buffalora Cemetary, on a journey of surreal experiences which include the dead returning from the grave, an insane killing spree and a number of sexual encounters with actress Anna Falchi(one of the most beautiful women in the world). Cinematically it is as rich and sumptuous as Suspiria or Profondo Rosso, stylish and creepy, setting up every scene and set piece with painfull detail. The characters are strange and complicated and the plotline unfathomably wonderfull. If you like your scary movies like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer then this isnt for you, but if you are a hardcore horror buff then this is an absolute must.
Cemetery Man from Italian director Michele soavi was quite a unique zombie film, I don't think that there's ever been a film like this before. This was the first movie of his that I actually got to see. Since, I have seen "The Church" and "Stagefright", but I still haven't seen "The Sect" (aka The Devil's Daughter). Soavi has wonderful vision and cinematic pacing. You can definitely see Argento's influence on him and I think he has the talent to be even better than Dario, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. The story's about Francesco Dellamorte (played by Rupert Everett) who is a caretaker at a small cemetery in which it's newly deceased occupants sometimes come back to life as `returners'. Dellamorte must kill these zombies off when they come back, and stop them from spreading their disease of rotting flesh and nastiness throughout the land. Is it the start of an invasion, a plague maybe? "Who knows, and in the end who cares....I'm just doing my job" as Francesco likes to say. It was also based on a popular Italian comic book Dylan Dog.
There are many reasons why this is such a brilliant film, you've got zombies, hot women, comedy, murderous rampages, dead boy scouts, and finding the edge of the universe...this movie has it all. No movie that I have ever seen has had such random and simply to-die-for content. What's really satisfying about this movie is the fact that when you first watch it, you think it's just another zombie flick, riddled with one-liners and skull-popping head shots...but after a few minutes, you realize that you've stumbled across something much more. You begin to realize that the zombie story is simply a backdrop for something much larger.
First off, the camera work is truly masterful. There are many nice shots that are seemingly out of place in this type of flick, but it helps at to the atmosphere which this movie has buckets off. It helps add to the overall spooky European feel to the cemetery. Soavi put a lot of emotion into this film and it goes against the traditional zombie theme, which focuses on stopping the living dead, but rather concerns itself with how one can conquer life. The "returners" are just obstacles in Francesco's nightmarish world. Little reminders of his fears and troubles. He cannot escape his problem even when he tries. He must conquer his own life, before moving on. Does he??? I won't tell. This movie will really make you think and you will probably have to watch it a few times before its sinks in. Besides all the gore and nudity we also have some black humor moments especially with Francisco's mentally handicapped assistant played by François Hadji-Lazaro who ends up marrying a decapitated head. It was both weird and wonderful but it's also an acquired taste. I highly recommend this to Italian horror fans ENJOY!!!!