Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 19th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1993
Director: Michele Soavi
Writers: Gianni Romoli, Tiziana Sclavi
Cast: Rupert Everett, Anna Falchi, François Hadji-Lazaro, Mickey Knox, Fabiana Formica, Clive Riche, Katja Anton, Barbara Cupisti, Anton Alexander
DVD released: June 13th, 2006
Approximate running time: 103 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Anchor Bay
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
“Life Goes on. We all do what we can not to think about life.”
Synopsis: Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) with help of assistant Gnaghi in charge of the Buffalora cemetery. It appears that dead are coming back to life eight days after being buried. Now Francesco has his hands full trying to keep the recently deceased dead and buried. To makes matter even worse Francesco has fallen in love with a widower whose husband has recently been buried at the Buffalora cemetery. Francesco is slowly loosing grip on reality continues to crumble as each new day brings more problems.
The Italians have made their fare share of Zombie films through the years, still nothing could have foresaw the direction Michele Soavi would take the genre with his 1994 film Dellamorte Dellamore. Also to merely write this film off another zombie film is to completely miss the point as Saovi imbeds some deep and spiritual meanings through out this film that are easy identify with. Cemetery Man see’s an evolution in director Michele Soavi’s style as he discards the Baroque style he learned from Dario Argento for a style more liken to Terry Gilliam’s inspired tales of madness. Saovi worked with Gilliam as a second unit director on the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The way Saovi effortlessly shifts from dark subject matter to more comedic moments owes a lot to his time working with Gilliam. Saovi’s direction is flawless as every frame and moment in the film are used to their maxim potential.
“What do you think the rest of the world looks like? Who knows if it even exits?”
Rupert Everett stars as the films lead Francesco Dellamorte and it is still one of his finest performances of his career. Everett is facial expressions and brooding demeanor totally sell the Francesco character. Overall his performance is flawless as he hits all the right beats. Actress Anna Falchi plays three roles in the film of women who all resemble Francesco’s dream woman. Falchi voluptuous full figured frame makes her the perfect choice for a temptress. If any scene more then proves seductive charms it would be the scene in which she and Francesco make love on her husband’s grave. This scene is a wet dream captured on celluloid.
Sure there are plenty of zombies in this film and many of them are killed in an almost nihilistic way. The zombies are mostly used a window dressing to try to disguise what is really going on. The way Saovi sets up Francesco’s and the widows first kiss is ingenious as he has both of them were veils to further support the masquerade that is unfolding before are very eyes. The film is filled with many visceral moments of carnage which in many cases is not reality based and these images are actually from the mind of a character named Franco who has killed his family and the prostitute he had an affair with. It is also interesting to note that Francesco mentions how the only person in the real world who can see him is Franco. This is because Francesco and all the events that have happened are figments of Franco’s imagination as he lay in a coma. Francesco and Gnaghi represent the good and the bad sides of Franco. At the very end of the film when Francesco murmurs while Gnaghi is now able to speak clearly it symbolizes that good side has now gained control.
Cemetery Man is film that is not that easy to dissect which also makes is so enjoyable to return to time and again only to find something that was missed last time.
Anchor Bay presents Cemetery Man in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This DVD has been flagged for progressive scan. This transfer is one of the best I have seen in a long time as colors looks amazing and black levels are solid as there is an exceptional amount of detail in every frame. One noticeable difference with this transfer from Anchor Bay verse all previous DVD releases is that it looks brighter may be a tad to bright. Overall this transfer is nearly flawless.
This release comes with two audio option Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital stereo. Both audio mixes are in English. Both audio mixes offer crystal clear audio that is free of any sound defects. Overall the Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds fuller of the two audio mixes.
Extras for this release include the films original theatrical trailer in Italian with English subtitles and a Michele Soavi bio. Other extras include a eight page booklet with liner notes written by Michael Felsher. Rounding out the extras is a twenty eight minute featurette titled “Death is Beautiful” which includes interviews with Michele Soavi, Anna Falchi, Sergio Stivaletti, and Gianni Romoli. Anchor Bay has also included for this release trailers for Freaked, Bad Dreams, Visiting Hours and Warning Signs.
Cemetery Man gets its must deserved debut on DVD in North America and Anchor Bay’s DVD is this film most definitive release to date, highly recommended.