Graphic Horror: Cemetery Man
Cemetery Man 1994
I had heard about this movie a while back when I watched the Brandon Routh Dylan Dog movie, found out that they were basically based on the same character, and then promptly forgot all about it until looking it up again. There’s actually a weird and interesting connection between the comics and this movie. There was initially a novel called Dellamorte Dellamore which is also the Italian title of this movie. The author then went on to create the Dylan Dog comics which follow a similar style as the original novel and the main character of the novel shows up as basically the Italian analogue to Dylan Dog. When the comic was originally drawn, the artist drew inspiration from Rupert Everett and drew the main character to look like him. This movie then starred Rupert Everett as the main character who wore an outfit that resembled Dylan Dog.
This is one of the more bizarre movies that just keeps getting weirder and weirder as the plot continues. The overall concept seems simple enough: Rupert Everett plays Francesco Dellamorte the caretaker of a cemetery where the dead come back to life and he has to kill them a second time. It’s initially treated very casually as Dellamorte is entirely used to the zombies and kills them with relatively little effort or hoopla. But as the film goes on, the situations surrounding the zombies as well as Dellamorte and his nonverbal associate Gnagi gets increasingly bizarre. From a widow that is turned on by the dead and gets killed twice only to reappear as two different women to the mayor’s daughter who gets thrown up on by Gnagi only to get in a giant crash involving boy scouts. After the crash, Gnagi digs her up and has a relationship with her zombified head.
There are plenty of other bizarre moments like a woman who had a crush on one of the dead and nonchalantly lets him start eating her, to the point of even exclaiming “he’s only eating me” when Dellamorte comes to re-kill the zombie. The zombie head leaps out of a television to attack and kill her father. The angel of death comes in a vision to Dellamorte and asks him to stop killing the zombies and start killing live people instead. Dellamorte falls for a different incarnation of the same woman three times, the second time she has a phobia of penises so he goes to cut his own off despite the town rumor that he’s impotent. The third time he sleeps with her before her roommate tries to charge him for the sex and he burns their place down in revenge.
The bizarreness of the film does create some intentional humor even though it’s not clear if you should be laughing at what’s happening on screen or simply scratching your head. Everett plays everything straight and treats the zombies in a very Hellboy-esque way where it’s simply a matter of life and a part of his job. There are several moments throughout the film where he offers very teen-angst styled voice over narration as he laments his place in life, even as he goes on a dream hazed killing spree. The one downside is that it doesn’t really have much closure in its ending. It more or less just ends.
There is plenty of interesting imagery throughout the film. During one point when Dellamorte first goes after the mysterious widow, she puts a red veil over his face while she already has a black veil over hers and they kiss in an odd but striking scene. The head in the television and the angel of death are also quite vivid images and at one point, Dellamorte has shot the wings off of the angel statues in the cemetery and they are on the ground behind him as if they were his wings. There’s definitely more to the movie but it’s difficult to take anything seriously when it is all so oddly bizarre. It’s fun with a touch of depth if you are wont to look for it. Until next time this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.