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Cemetery Man: A Zombie Flick With Brains

- X gives this film a 5 [out of 5] Scalpel Rating™ -

 

 

 

 

 


The beauty of this film, lies in its myriad levels, and interpretations. On one hand, we have a great zombie/gore flick [never mind the blowing off of the heads of the zombies... just watching Gnaghi slop down his pasta, was gross enough], complete with such oddities as....

Francesco, the handsome and brooding protagonist, who is obsessed with phone books and the beautiful woman whom he refers to only as 'She', who haunts him with her many incarnations....

Gnaghi, the cuddly, and childlike coworker and accomplice, who speaks in only grunts and unpronounceable sounds....

Miss Chiaromondo, the elderly British woman, who hobbles about the graveyard, on her walker, spouting off non sequitur rantings, and calling poor Francesco "Engineer!".....

Civardi, the bumbling Mayor of Buffalora....

Valentina, the headless and reanimated daughter of Civardi, whom Gnaghi loves....

Claudio, the dead boyfriend of Valentina, who had some nameless woman shouting out his name "Clauuuuuudio!", as he eternally rides his demolished motorbike, while crawling with worms and other nasties....


Even taken at face value, this is a most amazing film, and is certainly one of my favorite 'horror flicks'. But, i tend to peer a bit deeper into things as well. I am reminded of a quote, by the wonderfully precocious Anais Nin..... "We don't see things as they are.. We see them as we are", and i think that this holds true for this film, as we all have seemed to get something different out of it.

This flick was based LOOSELY on the Italian Graphic Novel Series "Dylan Dog" [who was a detective of the nightmare.... how interesting!], and this film certainly has a dreamlike quality about it, and quite a few nightmare qualities as well. I like to refer to films like this as an "Onion Film".... there are so many layers beneath its skin, and like the many different names of this movie [Cemetery Man.... Dellamorte Dellamore.... Demons '95...... Of Death and Love], there are just as many ways of interpreting it.

This film starts off simply enough. We find our hero, Francesco, employed in a banal job as the "cemetery man": One who watches over the cemetery, as he muses about love and death and the meaning of life and existence. And then, one day, without warning nor explanation, the dead begin to rise, as zombies. He somehow figures out that these undead, can be killed, if shot in the head, and so, this becomes his mission: to restore peace, to this place where only peace should be, while trying to decipher the identity of this mystery woman who continues to enter his life, only to exit tragically, and then resurface with the same face, but a different name and persona.

As the film continues, he becomes increasingly unhinged, due to a vision of the Grim Reaper, who tells him that "the dead belong to me", and that his job is to kill the living instead. So poor Francesco, who is now in a state of derailment, because between She leaving him for the new mayor's assistant, and all the other strange goings on, begins to go out nightly, looking for new people to kill. To make matters worse, he is driven to madness because someone else is "stealing his crimes" and taking credit for them. Here, we find a frazzled and broken man, who cannot keep the dead in his cemetery earthed, nor can he keep this woman who is the love of his life, and now, he cannot even keep his own crimes. He is in such a state at this point, and goes over the edge, as his life seems to spin further and further out of control, and he makes the statement "i'd give my life, to be dead".

At the end of the film, he ends up killing She, and he takes Gnaghi, and they drive across the bridge, that leads out of town. No one knows what is on the other side of the bridge, as no one has ever tried to leave this town of death before. They drive together, through a tunnel, where, at the end of the tunnel, a bright white light nearly blinds them into driving right off the edge of the cliff, and Fracesco comes to a screeching halt, as the coffin that was on top of the car, falls over, into the canyon below.... even while running away, death is following them. Gnaghi has hit his head on the dashboard, and is bleeding. Francesco gets out of the car, and looks across the canyon, and sees that nothing is there, and there is no way out. Gnaghi falls into a stupor, and passes out, while Francesco just stares out over the canyon, as all the suspicions that he has had, that life is pointless, and goes nowhere, become a grim reality to him. It begins to snow, and Gnaghi suddenly wakes up, and says his only proper words in the entire film..... "can you take me home please?" Francesco replies, with only a grunt.... the camera pans backwards, and you see a snowglobe, with he and Gnaghi inside it.

The films ending was significant to me, as i saw it as making the entire film have a rather existential quality and message. Love never works out, no matter how many chances you give it. Death is not permanent, and yet, we live it every day, and it follows us where ever we go. There is no way out. We are all trapped in a cold and constricting place.

In the end, Francesco, who had once hoped and believed for so much more, switches identities with the Mongoloid like Gnaghi, because it is easier to be dumb, than to wish for things that will never be obtainable

I found the symbolism in the film to be quite interesting.....

1] The obsession with phone books: this was Francesco's way of "connecting" with people, when he could not do it in any other way. This reminds me of a line in one of my spoken word pieces, which says " old phone books are evidence, that the dead once said 'hello'. " The phone books somehow give him hope, that these people will not be forgotten, because they will be eternal, as long as he keeps the books, and reads them often. In a sense, he can keep them alive, in this way, but after the dead come back to life, and his own life spins out of control, he burns his books, as a foreshadowing, of his attitude and fate to come

2] The fireflies: These appeared as he made love to She in the graveyard, and seemed to be an expression of the small hope that was inside him, that things might work out, and he might have a chance to wake up from the nightmare that he was in.

3] The veils: Things are seen, but only in part, and not clearly.... like love..... like death..... like dreams and hopes.....like the fate that he is powerless to escape.

©X 2002
all "Autopsy™/Autopsia™ Film Reviews" ©X 2002, and may not be downloaded, copied, displayed, distributed or reproduced in any format, without my signed and NOTARIZED permission. all rights reserved.

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