Existential Zombie Love

Possibly inspired by the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, Cemetery Man (aka Dellamorte Dellamore) brilliantly subverts the zombie genre as a weirdly romantic black comedy with inspired results. Director Michele Soavi cut his teeth in the business working with Italian horror maestros Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava in the 1980s and 1990s. The gruesome flick’s rich characters, quirky story, and charismatic performances use zombies merely as a starting point for something deeper about loss and death.
Starring a young Rupert Everett before My Best Friend’s Wedding turned him into a household name and a stunning Anna Falchi, Soavi crafts one of the bleakest and funniest horror movies about love ever made. Outside of Cemetery Man, Falchi’s career remained planted in European projects and she sadly never became a name overseas. Technically based on a novel by Tiziano Sclavi and sharing some similarities with Sclavi’s Dylan Dog comic book, it’s a sharply acerbic and bittersweet screenplay dripping with irony.

Cemetery Man (aka Dellamorte Dellamore) brilliantly subverts the zombie genre as a weirdly romantic black comedy

Rupert Everett plays lonely cemetery caretaker Francesco Dellamorte. Dellamorte has been left to his own devices watching an Italian cemetery with his feeble-minded assistant and only companion, Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro). However, there’s a problem the lovelorn man is trying to keep under wraps.

Anyone buried in the cemetery rises from their grave seven days later and it’s up to Dellamorte himself stopping the cavalcade of new zombies he cheekily calls returners. Afraid he may lose his cushy gig, Dellamorte doesn’t see much point in notifying the local authorities, a sleepy Italian town filled with typical politicians and lazy bureaucrats.

Dellamorte falls for a beautiful widow played by Anna Falchi who regularly visits her husband’s grave. The mysterious ingenue has secrets of her own which intrigue Dellamorte. Thus setting off a roller coaster ride of love and death as Dellamorte’s demanding job fighting off zombies keeps interfering with his love life.

Wryly funny and unpredictable, Cemetery Man owes a huge debt to star Rupert Everett’s unmistakable charm. The stylish direction and mesmerizing visuals help in the grand tradition of Italian horror. There’s a mix of everything in the absurd black comedy, including gore played more for laughs than sheer terror and amusing ruminations on the nature of love. Zombies had fallen into a rut since Romero finished off his trilogy in the 1980s. Cemetery Man turns them into fodder for smart barbs about politicians and darkly humorous moments about relationships.

Cemetery Man is like no zombie movie before or since though it did help pave the way for Shaun of the Dead. The always engaging horror movie paints a dark, often biting portrait of humanity, though its wonderful energy and spirit have more life than most films tackling happier fare. Cemetery Man is a certified horror masterpiece from Italy with its own unique flavor, a mockingly gory film but an often redeeming reflection on humanity’s lust for life.

Video

Cemetery Man makes its worldwide UHD debut in stunning fashion from Severin. The 1993 Italian horror film has never looked better with much richer, warmer colors and a relaxed contrast in its proper 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The new 4K scan and restoration from the Cinecitta camera negative has been approved by director Michele Soavi. Throw in a gorgeous Dolby Vision touch layering the euro-horror’s unique visuals with magnificent tonality and brilliant rendition, you have an unqualified videophile success. An essential upgrade for fans and collectors.

The 4K resolution and texture show immense improvements over prior Blu-ray editions. The unfiltered, razor-sharp definition is packed with incredibly fine detail levels. You’ll get up close and personal with stars Rupert Everett and Anna Falchi. Grain densities are immaculate, a tasteful and authentic reproduction of the camera negative’s native structure.

Severin puts the complete and uncensored version, all 103 minutes, on a triple-layer UHD in pristine HEVC. The film elements are in nice condition albeit loaded with dated optical effects and gimmicky lighting tricks. Day-lit Italian exteriors are often drop-dead gorgeous, though video quality can be a tad dark at night.

Audio

Does Cemetery Man require the sonic wonders of full-blown Dolby Atmos? Severin apparently thought so while also throwing in superb 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA choices. Primarily filmed in English despite being an Italian production, Cemetery Man’s surround mix is frisky with occasional bursts of discrete activity and surprising channel assignments. The Dolby Atmos track has a slight advantage with a tighter and more refined soundstage, but the differences aren’t overwhelming with the regular 5.1 surround mix.

Dialogue is clean and intelligibly reproduced, nestled within the stronger dynamics of the scoring and action effects. Cemetery Man immerses listeners in a chaotic world of zombies popping up at unexpected times. There’s some neat audio in the extended motorcycle scene with excellent rumble and a few cool directional cues.

Optional English SDH and English subtitles play in a yellow font. Original Italian audio is included in 2.0 Dolby Digital but is not the preferred language for Cemetery Man.

Extras

Bottom line is that you need to pick up Cemetery Man on 4K UHD. Severin has put together a complete package of goodies with new special features, a great transfer with Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos audio.

Press materials initially indicated Severin would include a third disc of special features on Blu-ray for this “standard edition” version. That information is apparently wrong as Severin drops the second BD included with the more impressive limited edition. The limited edition set with 4 discs is available directly from Severin which adds a soundtrack CD by Manuel De Sica and a second Blu-ray disc offering a ton of new special features exclusive to it.

The standard edition includes one UHD and one BD arriving in a black UHD case with most special features relegated to BD beyond the audio commentary. The BD is locked to Region A.

Bonus features found on UHD:

Audio Commentary by Director Michele Soavi and Screenwriter Gianni Romoli (Italian audio with English subtitles) – An older but lucid commentary from the original Italian DVD back in 2002 I believe.

Italian Trailer (02:22 in 4K)

English Trailer (01:43 in 4K)

Bonus features found exclusively on BD:

All the Graves (35:49 in HD) – New 2023 interview with director Michele Soavi.

Of Love and Death (20:37 in HD) – New interview with star Rupert Everett.

She (24:15 in HD) – New interview with star Anna Falchi.

Archival Making Of (18:32 in HD)

Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Cemetery Man
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

One of the ’90s true horror gems, a subversively quirky zombie masterpiece mixing black comedy and grotesque romance

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 47 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD:


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