July 18, 2012

Cemetery Man (1994)

(AKA Dellamorte Dellamore)

"A cemetery man must kill the dead a second time when they become zombies."

Allegedly, there was a time when Rupert Everett was considered one of the hottest British actors. I assume that it was just after "Another Country" (1984) or "Dance with a Stranger" (1985) and not at any point after "Hearts of Fire" (1987) which is when I stopped caring about his acting career. I didn't even know about "Cemetery Man" until the horrible "Dylan Dog: Dead of Night" remake last year and, of course, I still don't own a copy of the Anchor Bay DVD because it's stupidly expensive. At nearly $50 for a new one, Amazon can keep it.

Thanks to YouTube and its multitude of VHS rips, I finally got to see what all the fuss over "Cemetery Man" was about. I would like to say that I was disappointed, but I was actually quite entertained by the whole mess.

Basically, it's an Italian zombie movie, slightly comedic, and either way past its sell by date or too ahead of its time. It's a cult movie for sure, but it's such a particularly odd one that I can't pigeonhole it or even decide if I really liked it or not.

"Cemetery Man" looked a bit cheap, Rupert Everett's performance as Francesco Dellamorte was all over the place, and I was very confused about why Anna Falchi appeared three times in three different roles. I assumed that all these things were due to some artsy-fartsy contrivances which I'm too stupid to understand so I let them go. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to Italian filmmaking or recognising the parodies and metaphors.

I honestly know nothing about the comic book or graphic novel which "Cemetery Man" is supposed to be based on either. It may even be a real book for all the research that I bothered to put into it. I'm a grown man who stopped reading papery media a very long time ago although I did read the "Vamps" series around the same time as this movie came out. Not that it has anything to do with it really, but I'm in no position to say whether anything on screen matched the original story.

One thing which I liked was the romantic story struggling underneath all the surrealism. Call me soft, but I've always thought that Rupert Everett excelled in the romantic leading man roles in spite of his sexual preferences in real life. Hey, it's acting and that's what he does. All the romantic scenes between Rupert Everett and Anna Falchi worked really well. It was all the other weird stuff which I wasn't too keen on.

Fran├žois Hadji-Lazaro as Gnaghi provided a lot of disgusting comic relief although there wasn't that much to be taken seriously in the first place. I think he did a very good job and the bizarre ending of the film changed everything which I thought about his character.

Although you would think that it was the bad zombie make-up and gory kills which would stand out the most, it was actually Anna Falchi's breasts which were the most memorable part of the movie for me. She's one of the most beautiful women who I've ever seen, but, since she's nearly the same age as me, I doubt that she's quite so special now and I've got no desire to track down any more of her Italian movies to find out. She was obviously cast as eyecandy as her acting really wasn't that great.

If I was to rate "Cemetery Man" as average, I'm sure that I'd be doing it a disservice in terms of Italian horror movies. It was a lot better than 99% of the ones I've seen. Compared to even its American counterparts from the same year though, it was pretty dreadful and, of course, it wasn't scary in any way either.

I was going to post the full movie from YouTube at the top of this review, but it's easy enough to find for yourself. There's a dubbed English language version and an Italian version with subtitles available which runs slightly longer due to some extended sex scenes. I'm going to recommend that you watch the former because hearing Rupert Everett dubbed into Italian really doesn't work so well.

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