Day of the Dead

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The first of November is hardly about the saints. Even in this largely Christian Catholic Asian country. Even if the government and the church still call it All Saints’ Day. It has always been Day of the Dead, like that centuries-old tradition in Mexico, only we don’t have those colorful outfits and beautifully decorated skulls.

Skulls. I’ve been fascinated with skulls for as long as I can remember. From He-Man (this cartoons big bad is called Skeletor), to that skull & crossbones symbol on the label of a pesticide bottle my folks used to have in their shack, to that skull on the table on the back of the old five-peso bill, to those skeletons coming out of the pond in Starzan, to Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas, to the Punisher’s all black outfit, or Ghost Rider’s flaming head, to the old Guns N’ Roses logo, to Redford White’s masked vigilante in Mukhang Bungo (title is a spoof of Rudy Fernandez’s Markang Bungo), to those pairs of skeletons in various “sexkeletal” positions in a “Boners” shirt, to The Offspring’s album arts, to those stop-motion Deadites in Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness, and the CGI undead pirates aboard the Black Pearl, down to James Bond’s fake Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, skulls and skeletons on print, movies, or anything never ceases to amaze me. And yes, there’s the Pixar movie Coco, which I’ve seen in the trailers.

And did I mention about the “Boners” shirt?

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I don’t know how this fascination came about or where or why. It’s definitely not because of this colorful festival in Mexico, which I learned about only very recently. I knew at an early age that the symbol is associated with Death. Is this about something which I’m afraid or not afraid of?

From where I came from, people are not so much religious as they are superstitious. Old folks equate black shirt with or without skulls or scary prints with bad omen. Of course, they thought that most loud music is satanic—but not the loud dance music during fiestas. And punks, or rather PUNKS, actually means People Under the New Kingdom of Satan. And listening to something as old-school, country, and laid back as “Hotel California” could lead kids to eternal damnation.

According to stories, some Christian group before deemed that “Hotel California” is satanic, that it’s about the site of earliest Satanic worship in Cali—well, I think any song that becomes so hellishly popular would be an easy target for demonic association. Y’know, “Macarena,” “Asereje,” “Jai Ho,” “Alejandro,” or any early Justin Bieber hits. And I get being “Christian” but not some Christian groups fanaticism. I wonder, if a song like “Hotel California” could be considered satanic, how much more if they hear something by, say, Cannibal Corpse? But I digress.

Skulls, satanic music? How about zombies? I like zombies! I mean, some zombie movies, especially the old ones. And I once watched Dellamorte Dellamore on Christmas Day. And it was such a great (should I say merry?) experience. But that was only because I was away from home. And I have no one with me to celebrate Christmas. Day of the Dead or Christmas Day, when you’re away from home, what’s the difference?

Dellamorte Dellamore is a horror film based on Tiziano Sclavi novel of the same name. The novel’s premise is similar to that of Sclavi’s Dylan Dog. Rupert Everett plays Francesco Dellamorte, a character based on the titular character in Tiziano Sclavi’s Dylan Dog, who’s actually based on the actor Rupert Everett. In short, Rupert Everett plays a movie character based on comics character whose physical appearance was based on his likeness. And the movie has Anna Falchi. Anna Falchi—who wouldn’t fall fast and hard for such exquisite beauty?

If you’ve heard or read about the Italian horror comics Dylan Dog, you might have heard about Dellamorte Dellamore as well. Dellamorte is known in the US as Cemetery Man. Man, the guys who thought up that title badly needed some imagination, really. It’s an utter disservice to this beautifully surreal film. Dellamorte Dellamore is not exactly in the same league as the Return of the Living Dead movies, as its unimaginative US title and that “frightfully funny” tag might seem to imply or misled the curious but uninitiated audience. Francesco Dellamorte lives with the dead, the undead, and doomed for eternity inside a snow globe. Frightful and funny are words too light for that. Weird, Gothic and demented seem more fit.

Lastly, I’m one of those who’d agree with anyone who says that George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead is the best of his ‘Dead’ movies. Though, I haven’t really seen in full, his first two. I’ve only seen Tom Savini’s remake of Night of the Living Dead, which I liked very much. And for some reasons, I have not seen Dawn of the Dead in its entirety but I’ve seen the Zack Snyder remake. Though this post wasn’t initially to be about Romero’s third ‘Dead’ movie, I decided to mention it, because I want to keep the title. Day of the Dead sounds better than Skulls, right?

 

The featured image is from this website.

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