A cemetery man must kill the dead a second time when they become zombies.
Work is hell when your day to day is care-taking a cemetery that occasionally see’s the dead returning from beyond. This is Francesco Dellamorte’s job, a young man who see more death than the living with only the company of a weird little igor-like assistant Gnaghi (FranÃ§ois Hadji-Lazaro) to keep him company. Francesco has seen his share of it all. He tries to remember to keep a hand gun available for the occasional walking dead that he has to put down. He regards his role as protecting the town, though his efforts are surely un-rewarded with most of it kept secret. He maintains a small friendship with a local by the name of Franco but beyond that he spends his time within the cemetery keeping himself occupied by reading old phonebooks and scrap booking obituaries.
The town? Buffalora. Francesco must deal with his inability to blend and converse properly with the local townsfolk. It probably doesn’t help that the naive punks around town like to spread rumors calling him impotent. However Francesco realizes his role in this community..one that has become somewhat mundane and uneventful (in his perspective). The dead return from the grave 7 days after death. The only way to put them down entirely is a shot to the head (whether gun or shovel). He calls them “returners”. He has gotten quite good at direct head shots, which is part of his everyday routine to keep the dead….dead.
Anna Falchi is credited simply as “she” , the widowed lover who wins the attraction of Dellamorte when she visits the graveyard to morn her recent husband’s passing. Actress Anna Falchi is one to behold, bringing her incredible beauty to the delight of viewers and setting the screen on fire with a full frontal nude appearance. I believe many came away from this film at that time with the simple notion of who is she? …and where can I see more of her. Though this Italian -Finnish actress would stay within the realm of Italian releases throughout her career, leaving this one memorable appearance for the US horror audiences to hold onto.
“She” is accidentally killed when thought to be of the undead thru a zombie bite. Francesco’s only love is now with the undead quickly rotting away. She later returns professing her love again, but reveals her true intentions when taking a bit out of Francesco.
As Francesco occasionally makes his way into town, he discovers that he is the only one who really understands what’s going on. Things get busier when a group of motorcyclists crash into a school bus of boy scouts. Of course, Gnaghi is on hand to help exterminate the walking dead.
Michele Soavi directed this it cult film horror comedy that was just odd enough to make an impact as a one to see. It was released under title of “Dellamorte Dellamore“, of which was simplified when marketed to US audiences.
Note: Spoilers ahead to comment on the interpretation of the film!
Those who have seen this film already know that the movie ends on a dead-end road that leads to nowhere. This is in Francesco’s attempt to finally leave the cemetery and get on with life. He is also confronted by the reaper a few times who feels Francesco is taking work away from him.
I’ve seen this film many times, and while it being a unique horror comedy…I felt there was a deeper meaning behind it all. Francesco keeps seeing his old lover reappearing in the form of other women who he comes across (they are all played by Anna Falchi). While each immediately professes a love interest in Francesco, they are clearly all the same woman taking on different roles. Each ends in a disappointment for Francesco and leaves him empty as usual.
When Francesco tries to take the blame for going off the deep end and murdering half the town….no one believes him. Even the detective on the cases ingores Francesco’s attempts at admitting his deeds. Francesco’s only friend Franco is plucked away and yet his sidekick Gnaghi is unable to carry on a conversation (grunts only). This cycle that Francesco is in can only be the result of personal hell…one that never delivers always leaving room for disappointment and mediocrity. I believe perhaps Francesco may have died or have been sentenced to this weird reality that toys with him on a constant basis. This would explain his lover reappearing, the town ignorance and his friends all failing to meet his needs for companionship. It’s never truly revealed…however in the last frame, him and Gnaghi is seen as figures in a glass bubble.
A truly entertaining film, “Cemetery Man” is a long heralded cult classic full of sarcasm, odd events, and a story that is truly one of its own making. While it failed to make its mark in the Italian culture (it’s origin)…it has garnered more interest over the years within the horror viewers circle. One of my personal favorites from the 90’s
Cemetery Man – Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)