Cemetery Man ★★★★½

There's almost nothing I love more in this world than an existential zombie movie, given my complete adoration for Return of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, and Re-Animator. Cemetery Man is almost on another level on its own, as strange as this grotesque thing is. It's trying to be so full of introspection and depth that it essentially becomes meaningless, in a profound way. It's that fascinating post-modern blend of low-art and high-art nonsense, with our lead pontificating on the nature of life and death with insane moments of outrageous violence, nudity, and some very cheap jokes peppered in right along side it. It succeeds at trying to be the "thinking man's zombie movie" and just a super enjoyable zombie movie on its own. Despite how intellectual it wants to be, it never comes across as too pretentious or boring because of it - the inherent cheapness, tackiness, and satirical tone lets us know that this doesn't think it actually is that smart, and is ultimately also about showing the audience a good time while also wondering about its place in the world.

There's some amazing craft here, as all of the locations and sets look wonderfully classically gothic, and designs and effects for the zombies are all so great. It's just so creative for a zombie film, playing loosely with the "rules" of zombies and not being afraid to go big with things like motorcycle zombies, severed heads that can apparently walk and jump and fall in love, and mayoral zombies that want to climb ladders for some reason. There's plenty of great kills, both of zombies and of living people in a weird subplot that comes out of nowhere and is only sort of resolved or followed up on in any way, and it just makes for an extremely fun if not absolutely puzzling lil gross-out horror film that any horror fan could enjoy.

And then it starts to talk about something possibly deeper, all of Francesco's nihilistic ramblings and the odd decisions for the things the zombies do start to form a collection of themes and ideas that seem to be grasping at something that I would say maybe isn't quite all there in the end, but is still so much fun to think about. It loves blending ideas of love and death, of sexuality and violence, and in a way examining toxic relationships ("It's okay, he's only eating me!"). It's bizarre, kind of smart, and most importantly a good watch.

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