A twisted twist on the zombie genre. Dellamorte (Everett) is a watchman of sorts over a small village cemetery. The problem is not so much with folks breaking in as with the dead breaking out. In this neck of the woods the dead arise within 7 days of their death. A simple shot in the head solves the rather pesky problem; however, it requires a certain amount of vigilance. Now so far none of this is terribly original at all. Things begin to change when Dellamorte becomes infatuated with a mourning widow. Their escapades at her husband’s grave literally wake the dead. Her deceased hubby’s attack leaves her apparently dead, and of course needing to be placed in a more permanent position by Dellamorte and his revolver. That might be that, as they say. It appears you can’t keep a good gal down, and the woman begins to reappear in many guises throughout the film. Here things get quite confusing, and it’s hard to determine how much of this is actually taking place. The film’s climax further complicates the question.
The film’s original title is Dellamorte Dellamore. If you are at all squeamish about in your face necrophilia, this one will make you quite antsy. Apparently you can really have a blast if you can keep your head about you. Francois Hadji – Lazaro steals the show in his role of Gnaghi, the Curley Howard-like mute but faithful sidekick with a head for romance. Anna Falchi plays the object of desire with skills more physical than not. The film utilizes a narrative style which never really captures the action. Perhaps the translation from Italian leaves holes not originally intended. While the film is originally an Italian film, many of the actors are obviously talking in English. It isn’t hard to conceive that Cemetery Man might have been some inspiration for Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Many of the visuals are starkly familiar. The theme is certainly rather similar. The zombie effects themselves are not terribly original, but many of the images are fresh takes on an old theme. With the help of clever set design, the atmosphere of the film is accomplished throughout. The film manages to be a black comedy while still satisfying the horror fan as well.
Cemetery Man is presented in what I presume to be its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1. The film is uncharacteristically colorful. Yellows, blues, and reds offer a captivating canvas of bright hues, contrasted well against the dark and dreary settings. Black levels are also quite impressive. There is, of course, some grain to deal with, but nothing that would take away from your enjoyment of the film.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is somewhat disappointing. Dialogue is often hard to understand. The score is best when it is subtle. There are moments it is too loud and shows high range distortion. There is also a little noise present which I can’t quite identify. It might be a soft hum or low hiss. At times it can be quite distracting.
“Death Is Beautiful”
If you’re hard core enough to handle some very disturbing images, this is a very entertaining film. The end leaves me scratching my head, but that bothers me less these days. There’s plenty of originality here, and I think that’s where the film scores most with me. While lumbering undead might have been original once, that image is a cliché now. Chalk it up to morbid curiosity, I suppose, but it’s good to see this older Italian film on DVD instead of cheap VHS tape. With this release “This time it’s forever”.