Tom Humberstone

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horror month - day 30

Dellamorte Dellamore/Cemetery Man/Mi Nova es un Zombie (1994)

"I should have known it. The rest of the world doesn't exist."

Quick summary: Rupert Everett is the guardian of a cemetery where the dead sometimes come back to life. He spends his evenings shooting them through the head before they cause trouble. Then the film gets weird.

That was an eccentric, silly, and absurd movie - and pretty enjoyable. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, having not heard much about it before, but while it was tonally all over the place I was never bored by it. At times it reminded me of Braindead and the early work of Peter Jackson - particularly the zombie boy scouts and zombie nun set-piece, or the flying zombie head that hangs out inside a broken TV - but that's just the (relatively) standard genre stuff you expect from this sort of film. It's in the weirder, more surreal tangents the movie takes that it really gets going.

The twin themes of love and death frequently recur as does the film's fascination with birth and rebirth (even the rebirth of castrated penises). It throws some very arresting images at the screen in a way that calls to mind a lot of the indie directors who made their name in the nineties (Robert Rodriguez comes to mind).

The movie was based on a novel by Tiziano Sclavi who wrote the Dylan Dog comic series (the protagonist's features were apparently based on Rupert Everett in this film). Scorsese called the film one of the best Italian films of the nineties. I'm not sure I've seen enough Italian cinema to really chip in on that.

There's a biker zombie who bursts out of the ground on a working motorbike.

There's a Citizen Kane snowglobe ending. Or St. Elsewhere, depending on your reference point.

Tonight: It's actual Halloween tonight so while I plan to watch Ils/Them (2006), I'm also going to probably re-watch some old favourites...

Happy Halloween! Thanks for following along if you've been reading. See you tomorrow for my final illustration.