Cemetery Man (1995)
Directed by Michele Soavi

Starring Anna Falci Barbara Cupisti Mickey Knox Patrizia Punzo Rupert Everett

After boring us with "The Devil's Daughter" and "The Church," Italian horror maestro Soavi wowed the entire planet with this bizarre zombie art film that was arguably better than anything his mentor, Dario Argento, in the same decade.

Hip, scary, funny, sexy, gory and weird, this is one of the best cult films ever. As a horror film, it will only appeal to the off-beat. There are some truly beautiful moments in the pic as well. In fact, it's probably the most beautiful horror film of its kind since Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu." One scene is obviously lifted from the gorgeous painting "The Lovers" by the Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte (1898-1967), who I'm sure would have been honored to have been associated with this exploitation film.

Everett stars as the cemetery man, a 24-hour grave keeper who falls deeply in love with a supermodel-esque babe (played by supermodel Falci) who shows up to bury her husband one day.

The totally hot chick falls for him too naturally, and it isn't long before the two are boinking on her husband's grave.

Meanwhile, the cemetery man has another issue to contend with: For some unknown reason the dead have been coming back to life in his graveyard. When his new girlfriend's deceased husband shows up and apparently kills her, he isn't sure what to do: Blow her brains out when she comes back from the grave or keep loving her?

And when a group of bikers crash into a local school bus, killing everyone involved, he also has to prepare for all-out war with the living dead when dozens of freshly buried corpses all rise from their tombs at once.

He can't get help from the government. Local officials threaten to fire him when he raises the issue of zombies in the graveyard because they fear bad publicity would hurt the local economy.

The film gets stranger and stranger, eventually transforming itself from a cheesy, but entertaining zombie movie into a surreal, deep examination of frustrated desire that reaches beyond the grave. Critics were universally favorable about this film upon its release to arthouses around the country.

In short, see this movie. There's never been anything quite like it.

To see the greatest fan web site devoted to this wonderful film (and the locale from whence this lovely Magritte image was dutifully and gloriously lifted), check out http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~schubert/cman/

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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