10/30/18 – OCTOBER HORROR MOVIE PICK #30 – Cemetery Man (1994).

Earlier this month I brought you Michele Soavi’s nutty nutbar religious flick, The Church. Today is all about another of his movies, and the one I think most consider his masterpiece — Cemetery Man. The original Italian title is Dellamorte Dellamore (which contains a much deeper meaning, more on that in a bit), but US audiences know it as Cemetery Man. There is so much to say about this flick; it’s actually hard to put into words. The early 90’s were kind of a dry season for inventive horror films, and Cemetery Man was a light in the tunnel. As a constant subscriber to Fangoria, my first knowledge of this film were in its pages. I couldn’t get some of that imagery out of my head. I’d never seen anything like it. To this day, the grim reaper that appears within the burnt ashes of a phone book is one of my favorite images ever. Cemetery Man is two movies in one — the one on the surface, and the one below. On the surface this is a zany comedy horror film about a caretaker of a cemetery where the dead keep coming back to life. And its his job to put them back down, no matter what. But then he falls in love, and things get a lot more complex. Gore, sex, nudity, and slapstick hijinks abound and it’s an absolute blast. At times it even feels much like Peter Jackson’s masterpiece Dead/Alive (one of my all time favorite movies). But then… there’s the movie below the surface. The movie below the surface isn’t a comedy horror slapstick zombie movie. Instead it’s a deep, meaningful, European art house film about life, death, love, and the meaning of everything. Dellamorte Dellamore translates into “Of death, of love.” And what this film tries to do is figure both of those out. Although instead of typical methods of poetry, instead it uses ossuaries, severed heads, corpses with trees growing out of them, self-chosen castration, and well… you get it. This movie is BONKERS, but it’s also incredibly deep. I’m telling you it’s the most bizarre combo ever. Trust me, it’s not easy to take in this duality at first, since the goings on feel a lot more like a gorehound Three Stooges than Ingmar Bergman. But let this movie sink in and it will pay you dividends. Your brain will not stop thinking about its meanings. I find Cemetery Man utterly intoxicating. It also blasted Rupert Everett onto the scene in a huge way, as he is incredible in this movie. Honestly, I can’t say enough amazing things about this movie. But I will end with this, I can 100% guarantee you will not see where this movie is going from minute to minute. You think you have it figured out, and you don’t. It’s magical. It’s poetic. It’s funny. And it’s gory as all hell. There are things you never imagined you’d ever see, but then smile in respect of its complete originality. Cemetery Man (or the better title, Dellamorte Dellamore) is a true masterpiece of Italian cinema, and a gory art house gem. See it now. Think about it for weeks.

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