It’s often said that there are no new stories to tell, just new ways to tell the old ones.
By the time I was nineteen, I had probably rented every horror title at my local Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. One of those was a strange little Italian film called Cemetery Man aka Dellamorte Dellamore.
During my first viewing, I was mesmerized. It was directed by Michele Soavi, who had been an assistant director to Dario Argento on films like Opera. The cinematography is amazing, presents a unique gothic look and is filled with Argento’s influence. I go back to certain scenes just to see the shot. Cemetery Man also has a sense of humor. Based on Tizano Sclavi’s 1991 novel Dellamorte Dellamore, the film bears striking resemblance to fumetti title Dylan Dog. Sclavi also the created Dog and even based the look of Francesco off of the character. Several years ago, Dylan Dog did get an official movie adaptation with Brandon Routh as the titular character. If you ask me, I consider Cemetery Man to be the first adaptation. Rupert Everett portrays protagonist Francesco Dellamorte and does so with wonderful touch. He captivates with charm, wit and poetic monologues that he delivers throughout. Dellamorte finds a believable friendship with Gnaghi, played by the gloriously quirky Francois Hadji-Lazaro. Anna Falchi plays She.
No, She doesn’t have another name in the movie.
She appears to Francesco as several different women and Dellamorte is enamored with each of them, adding a lovesick element to him. She is meant to represent his hopes, dreams and desires. Falchi is absolutely stunning and her beauty adds to every scene She’s in.
There’s an ongoing theme of people dealing with life and all the hardships it may bring. Though it never comes off as cynical or bitter, there is a bit of an apathetic approach. There’s a recurring theme of death being the better choice over life and the film’s depictions of The Grim Reaper are some of the finest I have ever seen.
All of these elements make up one of the greatest horror-comedies of all time; I’m surprised that so few people know about this movie. The fact that it’s been out of print for year doesn’t help. I find it a bit disheartening when I find out that someone has never seen this movie, especially those who are fans of the genre. There was a limited edition 3D Blu-Ray release internationally several years ago, though nothing stateside as of yet. As far as I know, the most recent U.S. release is the now out of print Anchor Bay DVD. If you do some digging on Ebay though, you can get one of those copies for a decent price.