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Film / Cleaver

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Cleaver is a Movie-Within-the-Show from The Sopranos. Written and produced by Christopher Moltisanti, it was released in season 6, although he had been working on it sporadically since season 1.

A supernatural Torture Porn / Slasher Film, Michael is a Mafia hitman who is betrayed and killed by his associates. This is done at the instigation of Michael's boss Salvatore, who is lusting after Michael's fiancée. Michael is then resurrected as the eponymous "Cleaver", an undead mafioso who kills off all his former enemies one by one.


This film provides examples of:

  • Asian Hooker Stereotype: Michael's Asian-American fiancée is due to marry him in two days and is initially worried when he goes missing, but all it needs to convince her to forget about him and bang his boss is two tacky come-on lines from Sal. Notable primarily for being a Race Lift, since Adriana was white.
  • Bad Boss: Salvatore is shown to be quite trigger-happy and unwilling to listen to reason while having a discussion with his crew. He probably even set up Michael's death to put the moves on his fiancée.
  • The Don: Mob boss Salvatore, played by Daniel Baldwin.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Michael as an undead killer.
  • Executive Meddling: invoked Christopher and Carmine Jr. pull the strings of the nominal director and J.T. Dolan is mildly strongarmed into writing the script.
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  • Fat Bastard: Downplayed. Salvatore is not morbidly overweight, but is shown to have quite a gut while talking to his underlings.
  • Faux Symbolism: Invoked; for no real reason the movie closes on a close-up shot of a crucifix and a cornicello, to "juxtapose the sacred and the propane (sic)".
  • Follow the Leader: invoked Chris pitches the movie as trying to cash in on the Saw craze.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": What Christopher quite blatantly attempts with his film scripts.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Christopher mentions that Michael rises from the grave, but doesn't decide whether it's done through technological or supernatural means.
  • Mockumentary: The making of released by HBO.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Sal arranges to have Michael killed because he wants to sleep with his fiancée.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Said by the Cleaver before killing Sal:
    Michael: Well, this is mine too Sal. [holds up meat cleaver] And you can have it!
  • Professional Killer: Michael before his demise.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Michael is resurrected so that he can kill the people responsible for his death.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Salvatore angrily throws a bottle of coins against a cellar wall, shattering it.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: In a roundabout way. Christopher consciously or unconsciously based much of the movie on his own life, Tony's behaviour, and his suspicions regarding Tony and Adriana having slept together. Carmela calls it "a revenge fantasy that ends up with the boss's head split open by a meat cleaver".
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted. Sal's first reaction to seeing the undead Michael is to empty his gun into him.
  • Write What You Know: invoked Chris took inspiration for the script from parts of his own life.
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Sal tries to kill Michael again after his resurrection, but the bullets prove ineffective. Michael even mocks him for trying to kill a shambling corpse.