The Grim Reaper from the movie Cemetery Man

The Cemetery Man from Brazil

The 1994 film Cemetery Man is a very strange production that takes on a mind of its own. The film ignores traditional natural laws and defines its world at its own pace. In this way, it is very similar to Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil.

A production still of Rupert Everett in the movie Cemetery ManDirected by Michele Soavi, the Plot of Cemetery Man is something is causing the dead to rise from their graves every night. The cemetery custodian Francesco Dellamorte, played by Rupert Everett, grows tired of killing them all night after night. Unfortunately, the town politicians won’t listen to him, so Francesco is on his own. During his plight he falls for a beautiful woman known as she in the film, played by Anna Falchi, whose husband has recently died. Their affair is tragically interrupted by the undead, sending Francesco into a tailspin of madness and woe.

Much like Jonathan Pryce’s character in Brazil, Sam Lowry, Francesco Dellamorte feels completely alienated by society. Francesco only has the one friend outside of work and suffers from the stress in his life. Francesco would like to inform the local mayor and police about the undead who torment him, but is prevented from doing so by absurdities similar to those in Brazil.

A production image of Jonathan Pryce in the movie Brazil
Brazil (1985)

For example, he lacks the proper paperwork to alert the authorities or learns that if he reports the existence of the undead, he will lose his job as caretaker. This forces him to look the other way as he cuts down the undead on a nightly basis. Cemetery Man is a dark satire of bureaucracy, government, and modernity just like Like Brazil.

He even tries to leave town at one point, only to find the road on the other side of the tunnel completely gone as if it sank into the earth. This is probably meant to represent a mental block for Francesco, just as Sam Lowry creates his own mental blocks in Brazil. It’s interesting that both films have different creators, but it wouldn’t surprise me if director Michele Soavi was inspired by Terry Gilliam, or even if the original author of the Cemetery Man novel, Tiziano Sclavi, was inspired by Gilliam.

A production still from The Deader The BetterI first heard of this concept with the short film by James Rolfe, The Deader The Better. I later found out that this short was inspired by Cemetery man, having the same undead graveyard plot. Even the sets in Brazil seemed to be inspired by the city scenery in the 1982 Blade Runner.


As film develops over the years, it will be the daring who create a new kind of cinema. That creation will be mimicked in flattery by the film making fans that become inspired by originality. Trends aren’t manufactured, but instigated by the brave who are willing to admit that they see the world differently than others.

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