I had originally read about Dellamorte Dellamore (aka Cemetery Man) back in Fangoria #137 and I thought to myself “finally a new freakin’ zombie movie”. I was going through a bad case of zombie withdraw. This was well before I had the internet and before I discovered such great films as “Tomb of the Blind Dead“, “The Dead Next Door“, and even “The Beyond“, but I was still as big a zombie nut than as I am today.
There are many reasons why I like Cemetery Man. First, of course, the zombies or as they are called in the film “returners”. Sergio Stivaletti, a veteran of many Argento films, did a wonderful job on the “returners”. I usually can’t stand talking zombies either, but I think they added to the atmosphere of this movie. These are some of the best zombies I have seen since “Day of the Dead.”
Second, Michele Soavi. This was the first movie of his that I actually got to see. Since I have seen “The Church” and “Stagefright”, but I still have to see “The Sect” (aka The Devil’s Daughter). Soavi has wonderful vision and cinematic pacing. You can definitely seeArgento’s influence on him and I think he has the talent to be even better than Dario. Keep an eye on this guy. He definitely can be a major mover and shaker in the genre today if given the chance.
Third and finally, the film’s social commentary. Soavi put a lot of emotion into this film and he explains in Fango #149 that this film isn’t “about a fear of dying; its concern is a fear of living.” This goes against the traditional zombie theme, which focuses on stopping the living dead, but rather concerns itself with how one can conquer life. The “returners” are just obstacles in Francesco’s nightmarish world. Little reminders of his fears and troubles. He cannot escape his problem even when he tries. He must conquer his own life, before moving on. Does he??? I won’t tell. This movie will really make you think and you will probably have to watch it a few times before its sinks in. ENJOY!!!!
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Cemetery Man Story
If you were the caretaker of a cemetery, you’d think your life would be pretty simply, right? Well not for our hero Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett), the engineer of the Bullora Cemetery. It seems that Francesco and his mentally challenged sidekick Gnaghi (Francios Hadji-Lazaro) have jobs that entail more than just providing the final resting place for the recently deceased. No, it appears the dead won’t stay dead. These “returners” as they are called come back seven days after their deaths to wreak havoc.
Francesco has accepted his charge in life and realize no one in their right mind would believe him. He knows that without the cemetery, he would have no life. Unexpectedly, that all changes when “she” (Anna Falchi) walks into his ossuary. I never realized that ossuaries has such a strong erotic attraction for women. Quickly, they both fall in love. Oops!!! I guess I left out the part about her husband recently dying. While making love on his grave, “she” is viciously bitten by her “returner” husband. Before passing on, our star crossed lovers promise to love each other forever. Pronounced dead, Fransceco waits for her return and he painfully puts an end to her unlife???
Well, you would think that would be the end of the film, but it is only the beginning. Francesco and Gnaghi continue to do battle with the “returners”. Nuns, boy scouts, motor riding returners, and even the mayor. Gnaghi falls in love (boy it is strange) and “she” comes back, but not just as a….”returner”. Death makes an appearance in two excellent scenes. Soavi’s vision is spectacular if not overwhelming at the time. He tries to say a lot in the film and succeeds on most levels. I really dug the surrealism of the ending. One of the most original horror films of the 90’s. Check it out!!!!!!
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Cemetery Man Frightful Facts
- The budget for this film was $4 million.
- This movie is loosely based on one of the hottest selling comic books in Italy, “Dylan Dog”. This comic sells well over 1 million copies a month.
- Gnaghi (Francios Hadji-Lazaro) is also a French rock musician. He also stars in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “City of Lost Children“. Check it out.
- The Japanese laserdisc of “Dellamorte Dellamore” is 5 minutes longer than the domestic release. I will let you know the differences as soon as I get it.
- The “returners” get their energy from the Mandragola roots in the cemetery. (Soavi, Fango #149)
- Tangerine Dream was originally supposed to do the soundtrack, but something else came up.
- An American company was willing to fund and distribute the movie if Matt Dylan was cast as Francesco. Thank god, Soavi said no.
Cemetery Man Extra
Michele Soavi, the director, hasn’t made a film since Cemetery Man. He is devoting all his time and effort caring for one of his children who is terminally ill. We, at the House of Horrors, send out our warmest wishes to Michele and his family in their time of need.
Cemetery Man Merchandise
- Check out the new House of Horrors t-shirt for sale now
- Check out Rotten Cotton’s cool Dellamorte Dellamore t-shirt.
Cemetery Man Cast & Crew
Produced by: Urania Film / Bibo Productions / K.G. Productions / Le Studio Canal+ / Audiofilm / Silvio Berlusconi Communications
Certification: USA: R
Runtime: Italy :105
Sound Mix: Dolby / Matrix Surround
Distributed by: October Films [us]
MPAA reasons: Rated R for macabre violence and gore, strong sexuality and some language.
Also Known As:
Cemetery Man (1996)
Demons ’95 (1996)
Of Death, of Love (1996) (literal English title)
Cast (in credits order)
- Rupert Everett….Francesco Dellamorte
- Franois Hadji-Lazaro….Gnaghi
- Anna Falchi….She
- Mickey Knox….Marshall Straniero
- Fabiana Formica….ValentinaClive Riche….Doctor
- Katja Anton
- Barbara Cupisti
- Anton Alexander
- Pietro Genuardi
- Patrizia Punzo
- Stefano Masciarelli….Mayor
- Vito Passeri
- Alessandro Zamattio
- Marijn Koopman
- Renato Donis
- Claudia Lawrence
- Francesca Gamba
- Elio Cesari
- Maurizio Romoli
- Maddalena Ischiale
- Mariaelena Fresu
Tiziano Sclavi (novel)
Manuel De Sica
Sergio Stivaletti….make-up artist
Cemetery Man Fanspeak
Name: [email protected]
RE: Dellamorte Dellamore.. a beautiful movie
I stumbled across Cemetery Man late one night. I was about to turn the channel, but I’m so glad I didn’t. This is, of course, my favorite movie. The plot, the characters, everything in it goes together so well. It’s a comedy, a tragic love story, and a horror flick all rolled into one. One of my favorite scenes is where Francesco is speaking to the cemetery angel, after shooting it’s another wing off. As he looks up to its face, the camera shows him, standing with the broken wings as if they were his own. I have not gotten to see this movie as much as I’d like..it’s hard to find around where I live..but soon I will purchase a copy. I’d like to end this comment saying that your site does honor to the movie. Good work.