Gianni Romoli, Tiziano Sclavi (novel)
Rupert Everett as Francesco Dellamorte
Francois Hadji-Lazaro as Gnagi
Anna Falchi as She
How fitting that Cemetery Man’s international title “Dellamorte Dellamore” translates to English as “Of Death of Love”. It’s a perfect title for a movie that delicately walks the viewer along lines of life and death, beauty and revulsion, consciousness and socio-pathology.
Cemetery man is a great movie that will be particularly enjoyed by the horror freak with a flare for the arts, a love of the absurd and a passion for beautiful men and women.
The film begins with a strange scene of two men sitting near the edge of a cliff with snow slowly falling around them. It slowly fades to a cemetery, the backdrop and setting for most of the film, and the two men who are caretaking the old Italian cemetery with an ancient secret. Here the dead come back to life after seven days. At least most of them do.
Rupert Everett is brilliant and beautiful as Francesco Dellamorte, the cemetery watchman with the duty to kill the newly dead. The only way to kill them for good is to split their skulls in two. Or more than two pieces as Dellamorte’s weapon of choice seems to be a revolver.
The plot of the film is relatively simple. A quant little Italian village has a problem with flesh eating zombies or returners as they are fondly called. Dellamorte and his faithful gentle giant Gnaghi (Francois Hadii-Lazaro) must combat these beasts. The plot begins to thicken when each of the men fall in love with a member of the newly deceased. It becomes really thick when the cemetery man accidentally kills the living. This one act of accidental cruelty when he meant to be kind sent our young Engineer on a wild ride of self discovery slightly reminiscent of Groundhog Day(Directed by Harold Ramis) mixed with the comic absurdities of Airplane (Directed by Jim Abrahams and David Zucker), yet the film has enough senseless killing, blood, guts and gore to satisfy the most ardent or horror freaks.
Pretty soon heads start to roll and I literally mean roll. Well drag along might be a better description, but… The whole town is in a frenzy because people keep dying then not staying dead. All of this intermingled with some very tantalizing romance scenes between Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) and the beautiful She (Anan Falchi), and the really subtle and cool blurring of the lines of reality. It almost reminds me of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel.
Tiziano Sclavi (novelist) did a superb job of creating a lovable, intriguing, yet deeply disturbing character in Francesco Dellamorte. Screenwriter Gianni Romoli did an even better job of bringing that character to life for film. Cemetery Man is a wonderful film with a valuable lesson to teach its viewers; amid the laughs, gore, drama and beauty, one salient thought comes rising up from the grave – Something Death alluded to – Just because you can kill, doesn’t mean you should!