Rupert Everett….Francesco Dellamorte
Mickey Knox….Marshall Straniero
Fabiana Formica….Valentina Scanarotti
Clive Riche….Doctor Verseci
Katja Anton….Claudio’s Girlfriend
Anchor Bay Entertainment/Fox Home Entertainment presents The Cemetery Man. Screenplay by Gianni Romoli. Running time: 103 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release 1994. DVD released June 13, 2006.
The caretaker (Everett) of a graveyard has to deal with the fact that his recent clients are rising from their plots. Nobody in the town seems to care about this little problem. They’re more concerned with rumors that he’s impotent. His only friend is his assistant Gnaghi, a brain dead goof with the looks of Curly Joe from the Three Stooges. When Everett finally encounters a woman that he feels passionate about, her recently deceased husband corpse blocks him.
Rupert is note perfect as the put upon gravedigger who completely goes over the edge in his job. He has the ennui look down with an attitude that doesn’t care too much about the living or the dead. There’s a great moment when he has to take care of a rotting Boy Scout troop with the lethargic grace of man forced to go through the early rounds of a video game to get back to the challenging levels. He doesn’t mind showing off his chest as he gets busy digging graves, killing the living dead and scoring with women. He’s the English Fabio except instead of windblown women in his arms, he’s bashing the brains out of the undead.
The movie (known in Italian as Dellamorte Dellamore) was adapted from an Italian graphic novel and it retains it’s comic book view of the action. Director Michele Soavi keeps the unrealities flowing. He doesn’t sell out and force us to find out what’s causing the dead to rise. We just take the insanity as it comes. And Rupert is deadpan enough to just roll with the punches.
This should have been a bigger film. It should have at least been playing double bills with any of the Evil Dead films. But in America it became a cultist’s cult film. I didn’t see it until the late ’90s when a pal located a 35mm print. It is amazing that it took this long for it to come out on DVD. When Rupert became a media sensation in 1997 by stealing My Best Friend’s Wedding, I expected this film to finally take flight. But somehow people would rather see Rupert acting with the barely animated body of Julia Roberts, than a rotting skeleton.
The sad part about this film is remembering how much potential Rupert had. When we saw Cemetery Man, it was easy imagine him becoming a cinema icon with his dream of being James Bond. But after The Next Best Thing with Madonna, his career has been reduced to playing voices in Shrek and Chronicles of Narnia. Remember kids that associating with Madonna is never a good thing. She is a heat vampire and will suck all the marrow out of your career. Look what happened to Britney Spears, Vanilla Ice and Dennis Rodman after she was through with them. But at least Rupert had his moment to be a melancholic superstar in Italian cinema.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 9/10
TOTAL POINTS: 45/50
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
The film is Anamorphic Widescreen 1.66:1 I’ve read that the print transfer is better on the Italian version of the DVD. Since I don’t live in Italy, I can’t vouch for that claim. But this print is rather pale which does work for the film. You can’t be too realistic with the colors on a living dead flick.
This film is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround and Dolby Digital 5.1. No subtitles.
Death Is Beautiful (28:17) – This is a bittersweet postmortem. We see that this was one of those movies that came together without compromise. The artist of the graphic novel drew the character of Dellamorte to look like Rupert. So there was zero debate by fans of Dellamorte Dellamore about whether that’s the actor they imagined in the role. The films was director had already made his mark by directing The Church and The Sect (both produced by Dario Argento). Nobody in the film has any bitter tales from production. It sounds like a film that should have been a worldwide hit. But even with an international cast, the film didn’t play well outside of Italy. Director Soavi retreated into the world of television productions. And Rupert hasn’t had such a rich leading role in a film. But the good news is that Anna Falchi still looks fetching.
Trailer (2:24): Since Anchorbay doesn’t provide us with the Italian audio track, this gives us a sample of what Rupert sounds like dubbed.
Booklet : Eight pages that feature a few stills and an essay from Michael Felsher about the film. The big plus is the reproduction of the poster from the US theatrical release.