Monday, August 17, 2009

The Greatest Zombie Love Story Ever Told

Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetary Man)(1994)
Directed By Michel Savoi

This is one of the most criminally under-seen movie of all time. Its a rare thing to find a movie which uses bats on visible strings and makes allusions to paintings by Rene Margritte (the kiss in the crypt resembles Margritte's "The Lovers"), and have talking zombie heads, but here it is-and in English. Rupert Everertt delivers a great performance as the caretaker for a cemetery in a small Italian village, where the dead once buried there come back to life, and every evening without fail, he kills them and buries them again.Of course no one will listen to him, and killing the zombies becomes more a matter of maintenance than survival. Against this backdrop of casual zombie killing, comes a love interest, into our protagonists life, a beautiful woman who will appear and then die, and then appear again, rising like the dead from cemetery. And speaking of things which rise from the grave, our hero is completely impotent, a fact everyone in town knows and taunts him about. The film goes on to subtly discuss, death, love, sex, bureaucracy, divisions of labour, obsession, reality, and the literal ends of the earth.There is also plenty of zombie gore, sex, vomit, and decapitated heads. This movie is too smart for most of the zombie crowd, and has too much projectile vomit for much of the art house fans, but then there are those for whom this film will be just right. Not to mention Micheal Savoi's direction, which is as good as Terry Gilliam or Ridley Scott in his technical "Blade Runner" days. Every shot is framed to give it a sense of visual flourish, and it's a shame Savoi never made anything nearly this ambitious again. The story is based on an Italian comic book called Dylan Dogg, which hasn't been translated, into English yet, but of which Ive heard great things. "Cemetary Man" is it's American release title, originally it was "Dellamorte Dellamore" which means roughly "Of Love, Of Death" and is a play on words as our heroe's fathers last name Dellamorte, while his mothers was Dellamore. A fascinating, funny, gory, smart, mindfuck of a film, that should be seen by all fans of zombie movies, tricky cinematography, art films, and unique movies in general. Up there with "Dawn Of The Dead", and "Dead Alive", this stands as on an essential, if unknown part of the Zombie cannon, this is about as close it's come to literature.It's actually not far off from Andrei Tarkovksy's Solaris in concept, the difference being in "Dellamorte Dellamore" painful memories, sexual anxiety, and and a dead end job are the un-dead, un-killable things which have to be routinely removed in a Sisyphus-like never ending game. Removed if for no other reason than to make room fresh corpses.

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