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michele soavi
The Dark Side, 1990
Michele Soavi

. . . . the elegiac tone accentuated as former Playboy centerfold Falchi's morbid fascination with the cemetary ossuary knows no bounds; "I have never seen anything so exciting," she drools, surrounded by walls of skulls, gushing that "I couldn't ask for anything more, it's like a dream".

-- - Andy Black from Necronomicon 2, 1998.

Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetary Man) is currently unavailable on DVD in the USA (Region 1, NTSC). A VCD version is available from Cinebizzare, this is the European version with Chinese subtitles! but at $20 is not badly priced. However quality is only slightly better than tape and it comes on 2 discs.

Dellamorte Dellamore is also available on a German DVD (Region 2, PAL) for $29.95 and with widescreen 1.85:1, a choice of English or German soundtrack and a directors commentary (in Italian), one to look out for if your DVD player will play it. Check out both LFVW or Cinebizzare for availability.

Date Title Source IMDB DVD Reviews
1985 Dario Argento's World of Horror DVD IMDB B
1987 Stage Fright DVD IMDB B
1988 The Church DVD IMDB B
1990 The Sect VHS IMDB DVD
1994 Cemetery Man aka 'Dellamorte Dellamore' VHS IMDB
For a complete filmography go to the IMDB

Born: July 3, 1957, Milan, Italy

Soavi left school at 18 with dreams of entering the Italian Film Industry. The dream became reality when he started acting in various low-grade B-movies including ALIEN TERROR, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, ANTHROPOPHAGOUS, A BLADE IN THE DARK and CALIGULA, THE UNTOLD STORY. During this time he dabbled in screenwriting and worked with both Lucio Fulci and Aristide Massaccesi (aka Joe D'Amato).

He first met Dario Argento after INFERNO, and they became friends. This led to a second assistant position on TENEBRAE, and a first assistant on PHENOMENA, as well as appearing in the film and directing the rock promo for Bill Wyman. Subsequently he assisted Lamberto Bava on DEMONS and directed the documentary DARIO ARGENTO'S WORLD OF HORROR.

It was only a matter of time before Soavi made his feature debut as director. That happened with STAGEFRIGHT in 1987, written by actor George Eastman, and budgeted at $500,000 by producer Joe D'Amato. Soavi remarked "The story was simple but I dressed it up with unconventional concepts like the owl mask and the whole idea with the key." Retitled BLOODY BIRD in France, DELIRIA in Italy, STAGEFRIGHT won the 'Fear' Award at the prestigious Avoriaz Film Festival.

After resurfacing as Argento's first assistant on OPERA, complete with cameo, Soavi shot the second unit footage for Terrry Gilliam's THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN before embarking on THE CHURCH in 1989 (produced by Dario Argento). Soavi explained "I wanted to forge my own style and identity with THE CHURCH. Every frame was well-thought-out, I didn't include anything just for the sake of effect. I turned out what was originally conceived as junk cinema into a strong essay on Karma and the ambiguous inner conflicts we all face sometime in our lives."
- Alan Jones, from The Dark Side, 1990

After THE CHURCH, Soavi went on to work on a second Argento production, THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER, which was initially intended to be directed by Luca Verdone. The title was changed to THE SECT, but the project never got off the ground. However Argento liked the title, so Argento, Soavi and Gianni Romoli created a new story around it. THE SECT stengthened Soavi's reputation as Italy's new maestro of the macabre, yet he felt insecure and wanted to try something different. It took several years, and several false starts before he completed his next film, the ground breaking, DELAMORTE DELLAMORE aka CEMETARY MAN.

The film is an apocalyptic journey into the soul of what might be described as a special representative of Generation X, young cemetary guard Francesco Dellamorte, and his kingdom of life and death, the little graveyard in his hometown of Guardea. There, Dellamorte and his assistant are facing a strange phenomenon: the dead are coming back to life seven days after their deaths, and only the destruction of their brains can send them to rest in peace. The story is based on Tiziano Sclavi's best selling cult novel Dellamorte Dellamore. This Italian/French/German co-production is one of the most unusual and important Italian genre films ever, offering not only stunning visuals but also a truly European approach to its story.
- Peter Blumenstock, from Fangoria #149, 1996

Retired from the industry in the late 1990's due to family difficulties, he has re-surfaced on Italian TV with 2 movies, ULTIMO 2 - LA SFIDA In 1999 and UNO BIANCA in 2001.