Return of Project Horror, Day 18: Cemetery Man


Cemetery Man might be one of the most difficult movies to classify that I've ever seen.  Is it a horror movie?  Yes.  But it's also a comedy, a romance, and an art film, and is successful in each category.

I didn't see very many horror films that came out in the '90s, at least not after 1996.  That's when Scream  came out.  I went and saw that, along with everybody else, and enjoyed it.  At the time, it was a really original work.  Unfortunately, its success meant that we all spent the next five years with nothing in the way of horror except for winking postmodern movies that could never just play it straight.  So right before I graduated college in 1997, when a friend told me about a 1994 movie called Cemetery Man, and used the adjective "clever" to describe it, it was pretty much a guarantee that I didn't want to see it.

As more time passed, though, I kept hearing about this movie from different sources, until I couldn't resist anymore, and added it to this year's Project Horror lineup.  It's the story of Francesco Dellamorte, the caretaker of the cemetery in the small town of Buffalora.  He lives in the cemetery along with his bizarre assistant Gnaghi.  He doesn't know whether this happens everywhere or just in his town, but one of Francesco's duties is to "re-kill" the dead when they come back to life on the seventh day after their death.  The townspeople have no idea that this happens, and when he attempts to tell some of them, nobody pays any mind.  In the midst of this, he instantly falls in love one day with the beautiful widow of a recently deceased man.  After a night spent with her, fate steps in and keeps him from being with her.  At this point, he starts to slip, imagining that other women he meets are her, and beginning to kill people who have not yet died.  He eventually tries to flee the town, leaving the cemetery behind, but finds that his escape attempt takes him someplace quite unexpected...

That's a pretty bare-bones plot summary, because there's really quite a bit more to this movie than that.  It's witty and literary, but also scary and thought-provoking.  There were one or two spots where it did get a little bit too talky, but then it would make up for it with a really great scene like the one where Death confronts Francesco.  Plus, Anna Falchi (the love interest) has one of the best pairs of boobs I have ever seen in a horror movie.  I mean, if you enjoy that kind of thing...

I still don't entirely know what to make of this movie's ending, but that just means I'll need to see it again.  If you've seen it and have an opinion, I'd love to hear it in the comments.  Despite the confusing ending, though, this was still a very enjoyable movie.  I give it four revolvers out of five.

 TOMORROW: Videodrome, with guest blogger Scott (available on instant streaming)


Bitchfromhell said...

hmmm, a Rupert Everett movie. . . definitelyon my list. thanks!!


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