When it comes to Italian zombie movies I'm left feeling less than impressed. Zombi 2 was okay at best, even in the context of being made in the 79'. As you start moving further and further down the Zombi line things get worse. Zombi 5: Killing Birds.....really? How are you coming up with more money for these movies? Despite the sea of super weird and at times wildly inappropriate Italian zombie movies there are a few gems. You just need to give them a chance to shine. Corny, i know. But hear me out. I saw Cemetery Man (AKA Dellamorte Dellamore) on the AskMen.com top 10 zombie movie list (clickey the link). I thought it looked dumb. I watched the trailer and decided that there were much bigger fish to get in the boat before I would start keeping guppies like that. As fate would have it I found my self in FYE with a gift certificate and a $4.99 Cemetery Man DVD in my hand. With a chip on my shoulder I brought it home and popped it in. What i experienced was magic. The incomparable thrill of being proved wrong from an underestimated enemy.
As for the beer. I should have named this blog post "Deschutes Brewery: We make beer better than you do anything that you do." If you live west of the Mississippi and haven't indulged in some of their special beers then you need to go by your local beer store and pick up Black Butte XXIII, The Abyss, Jubel, and a Hop Henge. Now that you've spent $50 on beer go home and down all four while watching zombie movies. I'm drinking Hop In The Dark which is a Cascadian Dark Ale. It's a cool mix of IPA and Stout. Before i start the movie I open the beer. It's dark black with a tan head that leaves sweet ass lacing for the whole glass. It's not as thick as i expected. I checked the bottle and it's only 6.9% abv. Warming but not the thick beast that i expected. There is a full hoppy nose, dripping in citrus and pine, grapefruit and...well...pine! It's everything I hoped it would be. There is also a rich caramel and dark roasted malt character that mellows the hops and adds complexity. The first sip is strikingly bitter with hops punching you right in the face. But there is also layer after layer of rich malty complexity driven by the roasted malt. This beer is much more roasted and balanced than i expected. I thought it would be an IPA but black, instead it's a Russian Imperial Stout that moonlights as a Double IPA. This beer reminds me of Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous Ale. Another feather in the Deschutes cap. Well done friends!
The first scene sets the entire movie. A tall dark haired man (Francesco Dellemorte) answers the phone still dripping wet from his shower. During the phone call he tells the caller to "hold on a sec" in order to answer the door, shoot a zombie in the head, and go back to his conversation. It is with that nonchalance that Francesco and his sidekick, the mute Gnahgi, kill all the zombies. They are more of an inconvenience than a horror. Life is pretty bleak in the cemetery until one day a mysterious woman (the beautiful Anna Falchi) comes to the cemetery for the funeral of her much older husband. Anna Falchi is the Italian Angelina Jolie. Seriously, they look identical. Francesco falls in love immediately and is able to seduce her in the cemetery's ossuary where she loses control of herself. She's a little creepy. For all you strange sex people this movie has a bunch of it. Making out in an ossuary, sex on her dead husband's grave, nude zombies, it's all there.
If you watch this movie and don't immediately see the striking similarities between this movie and Dead Alive then you need to watch them again. Yes the premise is different but the way each movie was shot and the blending of humor with gory goodness is the same. Things get weirder and weirder. It turns out having sex on your dead husband's grave is bad for business. He comes back and......chomp....revenge! Francesco is forced to kill her (when she comes back to life duuuuhhhhh). Then a motorcycle accident kills over a dozen people, including one kid who was so badly mangled in the crash that he got buried still stuck to the motorcycle. The kid comes back half motorcycle half zombie! That's a first. I appreciate the originality. Then the love interest of Gnahgi comes back as just a head. They are in love and he keeps her with him. Then Anna comes back (look out now!) and bites Francesco. I'm sorry but that's rule #1. Don't sleep with zombies.......ever. I guess i just don't understand men. The bite doesn't turn Francesco into a zombie though......don't quite understand why.
Every time i watch this movie i pick up on some new weird shit. Take this for example. Francesco gets really cross with Gnahgi for burning the phone books which are his favorite reading. Strange. Then the grim reaper shows up in out of the ashes of the phone book and tells Francesco to stop killing the dead and that if he wants the dead to stay dead he needs to kill the living. Now things get psychedelic with parallel realities and a groundhog day like feel. So Anna just won't take no for an answer. She comes back as different people. Francesco starts going crazy and is killing everyone indiscriminately including a doctor and a nun. A NUN!!! That's edgy. He's walking out of the hospital where he just killed three people holding the gun and the cop yells to him "Francesco there's a murderer in the building...oh good you have a gun!"
I'm going to give it all away. The beer is gone, leaving nothing but sweet lacing and the memory of the beer that was. Francesco pulls Gnahgi into his car and goes steaming away only to find out that there is no rest of the world. It's just a broken road to nowhere. And to make matters worse they're living inside of a snow globe. Isn't that the way it always is. This movie rocks like few others in my collection. Cemetery Man i would like to apologize for ever doubting you. You are a symbol of what every one of us should strive to be every day. Thank you.