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Cemetery Man Movie Review

dellamorte rupert soavi film

Michele Soavi's Cemetery Man played at selected Landmark Theatres in the spring of 1996 to generally grumpy reviews, but for goofball entertainment, I thought it was a kick to watch. It was certainly a helluva lot more fun than Paul Schrader's My Dinner with Androids, I mean, The Comfort of Strangers, which came and went in 1991. Rupert Everett stars again as a bit of an idiot, but at least he isn't bored in this one. He's Francesco Dellamorte, a grave keeper with a problem: the dead keep returning to life and he has to shoot them in the head to get rid of them once and for all. One day, an old geezer kicks off and his beautiful widow arrives on the scene to pay her respects. As soon as she says, “I love my husband,” she and Dellamorte are frolicking on his gravestone. The husband returns as a zombie and proceeds to bite her to death. Or at least that's Dellamorte's first impression. Too late, he finds out that she was only frightened and, because of his usual approach with zombies, he's lost her forever, or at least until she returns as another character, and another. (Anna Falchi is the well-endowed object of his desire.) The plot takes increasingly strange turns as motorcyclists collide with Boy Scouts in a school bus and Dellamorte starts shooting the living as well as the dead. There's a rich, haunting look to the film that may remind you of the Mario Bava horror classics of the 1960s, or of the 1980s films of Dario Argento. It's no accident; Argento is Soavi's cinematic mentor. Three of the big gripes about this film are: (1) It seems to go around in circles; (2) It steals sequences from other movies; and (3) The frequent bloodletting is comedic to the point of absurdity. True enough, and that may be why Cemetery Man collected dust in an Italian studio vault for two years. But Rupert Everett is always an arresting presence, and if you're in the mood for this sort of senseless foolishness (as I obviously was), you may giggle your way into insensibility. Attention die-hard movie buffs: if character actor Mickey Knox looks familiar to you, he should! Once upon a time, he worked with Bogart, Cagney, and Lancaster in such film noir treats of 1949 as Knock on Any Door, White Heat, and I Walk Alone. AKA: Dellamorte Delamore; Of Death, Of Love.

1995 (R) 100m/C IT Rupert Everett, Anna Falchi, Francois Hadji-Lazaro, Mickey Knox, Fabiana Formica, Clive Riche; D: Michele (Michael) Soavi; W: Gianni Romoli; C: Mauro Marchetti; M: Manuel De Sica. VHS, Closed Caption

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