May 24, 2024

Revisiting CEMETERY MAN in 4K

1994 / 103 min
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

It’s been 20 years since I last watched Cemetery Man (aka Dellamorte Dellamore) and had forgotten most of it, mainly how great it is. Even today, it remains unique among the slew of Italian zombie flicks released over the years…smarter, weirder, sexier and a hell of a lot funnier (on purpose), bolstered by witty dialogue and great performances (at least for this genre).

In a small town in Italy, Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) is a cemetery caretaker whose job is made more difficult because the recently dead keep coming back as murderous zombies. Dellamorte and repulsive-but-loveable sidekick Gnaghi (Francois Hadji-Lazaro) wearily keep the zombie population in check by killing them again on a nightly basis. His life is dull and routine until he falls in love with the beautiful widow (Anna Falchi) of a recently deceased old man. 

While the two are having sex one night on the old man's grave, he rises up and attacks her. Though distraught at the idea of shooting her, Dellamorte does just that when she awakens prior to her burial. Later on, she comes back again and attacks him, but he's saved by Gnaghi. It's then Dellmorte realizes she wasn't dead the first time, and he’s the one who killed her.

Dellamorte's life becomes more surreal (as does the movie) when Death himself pays a visit, suggesting Dellamorte's job would be easier if he shot people before they died. So he goes on a killing spree, mostly offing the townsfolk who've taunted him in the past. But the police never suspect him, even though he makes no effort to conceal his crimes. In the meantime, desperate for love, he meets two other women (also played by Falchi) who bear a striking resemblance to his lost love, but they end up being shallow figures who fuel Dellamorte's growing disillusionment.

" could use a few throw pillows."
All this is a lot better (and funnier) than it sounds. Along with the gory violence we've come to expect from a zombie movie (as well as some steamy sex), Cemetery Man is loaded with very black humor and great one-liners (as well as a romantic subplot involving Gnaghi & a severed head), all delivered straight-faced by an outstanding cast, especially Everett (whose likeness inspired the comic book character on which this movie is based). The film shifts tone on numerous occasions. It's often bizarre, sometimes pretty dark, but just when you think the movie is about to degenerate into overly-serious horror, a laugh-out-loud scene or line of dialogue pops up…almost out of the blue. 

It's stylishly shot by Dario Argento protegee Michele Soavi, making this the best looking zombie flick to ever ooze out of Italy. Its visual aesthetic really shines on this 4K UHD release, particularly the numerous night sequences. However, the enhanced sharpness and clarity does exacerbate the obvious use of wires to depict little blue fireballs hovering around two lovers in one particular scene. Both the 4K and accompanying Blu-ray come with four audio options: English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1, English & Italian mono. 

Cemetery Man is a one-of-a-kind gem, a stylish, smart & funny movie from an Italian subgenre that has arguably spawned more shitty films than good ones. Martin Scorsese himself supposedly said this is one of the best horror films of the 90s, but whether or not one agrees, it’s a cult classic worth revisiting, especially in 4K.


INTERVIEWS - 3 new(ish) interviews running 20-30 minutes each. At the Graves features director Michele Soavi; Of Love and Death features actor Rupert Everett; She features actress Anna Falchi (who doesn’t look like she’s aged one damn bit).

AUDIO COMMENTARY - In Italian (with subtitles), featuring director Michele Soavi & screenwriter Gianni Romoli.



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