(Air Date: Week Of 5/15/96)
Michele Soavi's "Cemetery Man" opened last week at selected Landmark Theatres to generally grumpy reviews, but for goofball entertainment, I thought it was a kick to watch. It was certainly a helluva lot more fun than Paul Schrader's "My Dinner With Androids", I mean, "The Comfort Of Strangers" that came and went five years back. Rupert Everett stars again as a bit of an idiot, but at least he isn't bored this time around. He's Dellamorte, a grave keeper with a problem: the dead keep returning to life so he has to shoot them once and for all.
One day, an old geezer kicks off and his beautiful widow arrives on the scene to pay her respects. As soon as she says, "I love my husband", she and Dellamorte are frolicking on his gravestone. The husband returns as a zombie and proceeds to bite her to death. Or at least that's Dellamorte's first impression. Too late, he finds out that she was only frightened and, because of his usual approach with zombies, he's lost her forever or at least until she returns as another character and another. (Anna Falchi is the well-endowed object of his desire.)
The plot takes increasingly strange turns as motorcyclists collide with boy scouts in a school bus and Dellamorte starts shooting the living as well as the dead. There's a rich, haunting look to the film that may remind you of the Mario Bava horror classics of the sixties or of the films of Dario Argento. It's no accident: Argento is Soavi's cinematic mentor. Three of the big gripes about this film are: (1) It seems to go around in circles, (2) It steals sequences from other movies and (3) The frequent bloodletting is comedic to the point of absurdity. True enough, and that may be why "Cemetery Man" collected dust in an Italian studio vault for three years. But Rupert Everett is always an arresting presence and if you're in the mood for this sort of senseless foolishness, (as I obviously was) you may giggle your way into insensibility.
Attention die-hard movie buffs: If character actor Mickey Knox looks familiar to you, he should: Once upon a time, he worked with Bogart and Cagney and Lancaster in such film noir treats of 1949 as "Knock On Any Door", "White Heat" and "I Walk Alone".
Copyright 1996 Monica Sullivan
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