Cemetery Man

Starring: Rupert Everett, François Hadji-Lazaro, Anna Falchi Directed by: Michele Soavi

Nine times out of ten when I'm watching some type of video-based media and exclaim, "What the hell?  That didn't make any sense," I'm watching a commercial.  The tenth time out of ten I'm usually watching a movie Ryan suggested.

Cemetery Man is one of those movies.   It starts out somewhat like an episode of Angel with the handsomely brooding and philosophizing cemetery watchman Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) roaming the night, assessing his fate.  However it also seems there will be a twinge of humor woven within as our hero nonchalantly shoots a zombie 'returner' (who has politely knocked on his door rather than just barging in as some of the mindless undead do) while carrying on a phone conversation.

It is unclear when our hero sleeps, as both he and his mentally challenged assistant Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro) are out shoveling graves and disposing of zombies in the middle of the night, and greeting cemetery visitors in the day.  One such day he is strolling by a funeral in progress and instantly falls in love with one of the female mourners (Anna Falchi).  He muses on her, rhetorically wondering if he will ever see her again.

Of course she – the youthful widow of an elderly man – returns regularly to replace the flowers on her husband's grave, and Dellamorte makes a few attempts at awkward conversation before her can really capture her attention.  He seduces her with a tour of the cemetery's ossuary -- which seems very bizarre until you realize she must have a thing for old bones given she was married to a geezer and goes on about what a great lover he was.  This leads to an even more bizarre sex scene on her deceased (but not totally departed) husband's grave that ends with her being bitten by a zombie.

And this is one of the most logical parts of the film from this point onward.

The disappearance of the woman (who is never named and credited only as 'She') brings a visit from the town detective – one of several characters seemingly meant as an allegorical criticism of bureaucracy.  The disorganized clerk at Town Hall with piles of papers, forms, and general chaos is another such poke, as is the self-absorbed, election-obsessed mayor.

However, once you get into the mindset that the movie may have a deeper meaning and really get settled into the idea you might have to deconstruct this movie after watching it, things take a turn for the silly.  It involves Gnaghi falling in love with the mayor's teenage daughter, a group of youth hooligans on motorcycles and a bus full of Boy Scouts.  Then from silly to quasi-philosophical or straight up hallucinatory, Dellamorte begins having conversations with Death, who tells him to stop killing the zombies, but to instead save the trouble and kill the living.

I would liken watching Cemetery Man to the time I got somewhat lost in Rome.  I left the hotel with another person from the tour group, expecting it would be relatively simple to walk down a few streets, window shop a bit, and to enjoy the sun after being cooped up in a plane for half a day.  Instead, the streets meander around and aren't necessarily an ordered grid easy to navigate.  In fact, there does not seem to be much rhyme or reason to them.  Eventually we got back to the hotel, but it was kind of the complete opposite direction expected.

If you do choose to watch Cemetery Man, I recommend you prepare first by watching something else that doesn't make sense (like Lost Highway or Triangle) just to get you in the proper mindset.

Written by Jennifer Venson