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Cemetery Man

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Dellamorte Dellamore
Release Date: 
Anchor Bay
Aspect Ratio: 
Directed by: 
Michele Soavi
Rupert Everett
Francois Hadji-Lazar
Anna Falchi
Bottom Line: 

 Things just aren't going well at the Buffalora Cemetery these days, especially for the cemetery's “engineer”, Francesco Dellamorte ( Everett ). Until recently, his only companion at Buffalora was the monosyllabic grave digger, Gnahgi (Lazaro). Nowadays Francesco's got more company than he can handle- most notably the recently deceased who, for reasons unbeknownst to Francesco, rise from the dead seven days after their interment. It's nothing that a dum-dum bullet or the business end of a spade can't handle, but it's still a pain nonetheless, and would wreak havoc with his social life; that is, if he had one. It's probably for the best, then, that the locals all think that he's a eunuch, as Francesco Dellamorte doesn't have time for such concepts as love. He's got a job to do, and a right important one at that.
But then “She”(Falchi) comes into his life and changes everything.
It used to be so clear to him – so black and white, just like life and death. But she shows him otherwise; introduces him to a part of himself he'd long thought lost (and the town, mistakenly, thought…err…lopped off). Francesco Dellamorte has discovered true amore .
Or has he?
Based on a combination of the cult comic book series “Dylan Dog”, as well as the novel “ Dellamorte Dellamore” (both written by Tiziano Sclavi), Cemetery Man is, without a doubt, one of the most unique and exciting horror films I have ever had the pleasure to see. This is a film that has long been a fixture in my personal top ten horror flicks of all time, and, after years of delays, it has finally made it to the DVD shelves of America courtesy of Anchor Bay . As directed by Michele Soavi (The Church/Stagefright), this multi-national production has more in common with the films of Terry Gilliam and Jean Pierre Jeunet than it does with Fulci, Argento, et al, which is why I feel that Cemetary Man has always had the potential to be the first, truly crossover “Italian” horror movie. This is a pitch black comedy, love story, and effective zombie thriller all rolled into one gorgeously crafted motion picture, and it kills me that it didn't click with American audiences upon its initial release over a decade ago.
However, that's what cult followings are for! Over the years, Dellamorte Dellamore has been released in several versions, many of them of the black market variety, and American horror fans have learned to love and embrace this film as the rest of the world did years before. It's taken its time in coming, but, after much red tape and legal wrangling, Anchor Bay has finally given us an “official” version of this film, uncut, remastered, and, while not quite as feature-packed as I would have hoped, offering up enough extras to make this package that much sweeter.
The DVD features a solid transfer enhanced for 16x9 televisions (but maintaining the film's original 4:3 aspect ratio, so you'll have to fiddle with your settings a bit if you want to get the black bars on either side out of the picture), and a fantastic 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX mix (as well as the original Dolby 2.0). I did notice a couple of moments of frame jitter, and one moment where the image seemed to go out of focus momentarily, but I'm not sure how much of that has to do with the original source material, and neither of these instances effected my enjoyment of the film.
Supplements include an 8-page booklet, featuring the story behind the film, stills, and interviews. There's also a very welcome featurette called “Death is Beautiful” that features interviews with Soavi, Falchi, and others. Much of this featurette is dedicated to discussion about Tiziano Sclavi's comics and novel, and I am now going to dedicate every free moment to tracking this material down! Extras are rounded out by an updated Soavi bio, theatrical trailer, and trailers for other Anchor Bay titles.
To call Cemetery Man an essential addition to any horror film fan's library is a gross understatement. This is, in my opinion, not only one of the greatest horror films of all time, but one of the most intriguing, beautifully shot, and lovingly crafted films I've seen, period. Soavi's masterpiece is a film that stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of the genre, and, if you haven't seen this film yet, I envy you. You are in for one of the greatest cinematic treats of your life.
Highest possible recommendation. 

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