Forgotten Friday Flick – “Cemetery Man” (aka Dellamorte Dellamore)

Forgotten Friday FlickFollowing up my actual appearance (finally!) on the Out Now With Aaron and Abe Podcast this week dissecting the zombie genre, I’m covering one of my undead selections just in time for Halloween – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week I’m heading into ghouls in a cemetery territory with a cult classic I was lucky enough to review back in my Joblo.com DVD Clinic days way back in 2006.  (Yes, some of these words of praise may be familiar film fans!)  It’s a wonderful throwback to the Italian gore features that brought guys like Fulci and Argento to acclaim and features a knockout lead performance that kills it.  Need a job?  Don’t mind shooting reanimated dead folks in the head on a nightly basis?  Maybe you can be the….Cemetery Man!

cem 1

Francesco Dellamorte has a thankless job – he works as a cemetery caretaker.  Living on site, with no social life and a rotten false reputation as an impotent man to boot, Francesco nevertheless braves the stench of death everyday.  He also has to go above and beyond the job description as seven days after someone is put to rest they resurrect and emerge again ready to eat the living.  So with the help of his trusted but hapless sidekick Gnaghi, Francesco fights night after night to keep his inhabitants dead and buried.  But soon a beautiful and mysterious woman makes his life a little more complicated…

Cemetery Man

Adapted from the novel Dellamorte Dellamore (the Italian title of the film) by Dylan Dog writer Tiziano Sclavi, Cemetery Man is a real horror hoot.  When I first saw the film I had never heard of it or the novel it was based upon, which actually turned out to be a good thing.  Going into the Italian inspired film completely blind and without any sort of pretense just added to it being a completely original experience.  Directed with full Fulci flashback flair, the film is one of the most inventive takes I’ve seen on the zombie genre.  It’s not for the faint of heart (there’s a ton of gross gore galore!), nor those looking for a straight forward cohesive story (there’s plenty of undead nuance and otherworldly oddities running wild!), but for all those who crave their horror with compelling strangeness Cemetery Man 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 uses them in a way that would even make Romero proud.  And it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what that is, but be it the arresting sensual visual style, the unpredictability of the story, or even the no-holds barred brutality of the entire film, there is most definitely something very special about Cemetery Man.

cem 3

Even the performances fit like a glove with the already impressive overall picture.  Rupert Everett, whom I’ve consistently loathed as the “flamboyant” friend in every American movie he has ever done, pulls a career best rabbit out of a hat with his brilliantly raw turn as the passionate Francesco Dellamorte – I loved him here.  Portraying a man with a hunger for women and a shaky moral compass with total believability, Everett seems born to play the leading lothario and his performance elevates Cemetery Man to be much more than typical genre fare.  Plus as his slow and frumpy sidekick Gnaghi, actor Francois Hadji-Lazaro is this generations answer to Quasimodo and rounding out the cast is the captivating Anna Falchi who plays no less then three different roles – all incredibly beautiful but creepy.  All of the above work in tandem to make the world of Cemetery Man wacky, wondrous and wild indeed.

There’s a ton of forgettable ‘out of the ground’ creature features and TV walkers as of late, but we tend to forget there was a time when only the really good work would rise and be heard.  (Even if it was a grunt and scream for brains!)  One of those rare gems in an already too crowded zombie genre that true fans of all things morbid constantly search for, Cemetery Man is truly a diamond in the undead rough.  A unique and radically new way of taking the already exhausted subject of the dead and giving it what it desperately needed – life.

cemetery man poster


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

  1. No Comments