Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)

This one was just an odd, delightful, horror-comedy. To me it seemed like a combination or Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro, and made for a delightful addition to the 101 Horror Movies.

Dellamorte Dellamore was simultaneously filmed in English and Italian by director Michele Soavi, and tells a wonderfully odd story, featuring necrophilia, reanimated boy scout corpses, dead motorbikers, murder, a relationship with a severed head, a visit from Death, sex, violence, a hospital massacre and a good measure of gore.

Rupert Everett stars as Francisco Dellamorte, a cemetery caretaker who has the troubling task of looking after a graveyard where the dead return to life after 7 days in the grave and can only be stopped by having their head split open, whether by bullets, or more often in this case, with a spade.

Dellamorte is aided by Gnaghi (Francois Hadji-Lazaro), who seems rather simple-minded but has great problem-solving abilities when he’s not watching television or vomiting on his crushes.

Together the two of them maintain the graveyard, putting down the Returners, and trying to keep a lid on it for the town.

Anna Falchi shows up a number of times as the woman he loves, but kills. Yet she keeps appearing to him in different guises, and he falls in love with her each and every time, and she him, though none of them seem to have happy endings.

The humor is dark, some of the sequences and gore are so over the top you can’t help but laugh aloud, especially the boy scouts, not to mention how they end up dead in the first place.

Death shows up to warn him to stop killing the dead, they are his, if he’s going to kill people, kill them before they’re dead. So he begins to kill people outside of the cemetery.

Through it all, Francisco tries to balance love, death, undead, bullets, and running a graveyard.

Evertt is in top-form in this film, letting his dark wit help him to try to remain aloof as he slowly becomes more and more unraveled by all the things going on in his life. He even tries to admit his crime to the local constabulary, but is ignored.

The camera work has some fun and inventive moments, also recalling some of Raimi’s work, and it definitely isn’t afraid to embrace it’s darker side, and dance along the edge of the surreal, especially as we close in on the close of the film, as Francisco and Gnaghi decide to leave their life and town behind.

This one was just pure enjoyment, it was just good fun.

The casual way Francisco sits chatting on the phone shooting returners as they stumble through the door made me smile and laugh each time, especially when there’s a huge pullback and you can see that the entire graveyard is alive with the undead.

If you haven’t seen it, and you like your humor dark and bloody, then I recommend this film heartily.

Have you seen it?

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