WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Adapted from the novel Dellamorte Dellamore, comes a strange story about a cemetery caretaker who finds that his job is much more involved then just burying the dead. They all eventually come back to life and he and his loyal but strange assistant must work to keep the undead dead.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I had never heard of this film or the novel it was based upon, which actually turned out to be a good thing. Going into the Italian based film CEMETERY MAN completely blind and without any sort of pretense, just added to the completely original experience. The film, which in the hands of any other director could have been ripe awful, is one of the most inventive takes Iíve seen on the zombie genre in decades. Itís not for the faint of heart, nor those looking for a straight forward, cohesive story. But for all those who crave their horror with compelling strangeness like me, this is a must see. Director Michele Soavi, who worked under Dario Argento for many years (explains a lot!), seems to have learned only the best bits and used them in a way that would even make Romero proud. The box claims the film has it all with ďplenty of gore, comedy, and steamy sexÖĒ all of which is true, but it has so much more. And itís hard to pinpoint exactly what that is; be it the arresting visual style, the unpredictability of its story, or even the no holds barred brutality of the entire film, there is most definitely something very special going on here.
Even the performances here fit like a glove with the already impressive overall picture. Rupert Everett, whom Iíve consistently loathed as the ďgayĒ friend in every American movie he has ever done, pulls a rabbit out of a hat with this brilliantly raw work; I loved him here. Playing a man with a hunger for women and a shaky moral compass, Everett seems born to play this role and his work has never been better. As his slow and frumpy sidekick Gnaghi, actor Francois Hadji-Lazaro is this generations answer to Quasimodo; itís excellent work. And rounding out the cast is actress Anna Falchi, who plays no less then three different roles, all incredibly beautiful but creepy. This is one of those rare gems, especially in such a large genre like horror, which true fans of all things morbid search for. CEMETARY MAN is a diamond; a radically new way of taking the already exhausted subject of the dead and giving it what it desperately needed - life.
Death Is Beautiful (28:17): This is a very talky featurette, with interviews with director Soavi (via subtitles no less!) and actress Falchi. They donít give tons of insight, but what is sorely missed here is the inclusion of any comments or dialogue with either Everett or Hadji-Lazaro, who I really wanted to hear from. What drove them, made them create such memorable characters and choose a film so strange. While sometimes things are best left unsaid, this is not one of those times, guys!
There is also a Theatrical Trailer which Iím glad I didnít see before the film, a 21 screen, button pushing Michele Soavi Bio (Yeah, I love reading a DVD!), Trailers for FREAKED (ďAnd I suppose Jake and the Fatman was just a fluke?!Ē), BAD DREAMS, VISITING HOURS, and WARNING SIGN, plus an 8-Page Collectorís Booklet, that seems like a few pages of short liner notes, hardly a collectable you guys! Way to be skimpy; cheapskates!
Once in a long while, a film will come along with an overused premise and give it a fresh coat of paint. CEMETARY MAN is such a unique and different film watching experience, that even the shitty extras itís saddled with here, canít bring the film down. I love the people at Anchor Bay for releasing this film, but hate their lack of interest when it came to the supplemental materials. (Hey you guys, stop doing 20 Halloween and Evil Dead editions and work on some other films!) No need to dig this one up, as extras or not, this one rises out of the grave and stands on its own.