After Vampires in Havana, It’s the Turn of the Zombies / Iván García

In 1985, long before the vampire theme became a literary and movie phenomenon, Cuban filmmaker Juan Padrón, premiered Vampires in Havana, an animated film that ranked 50 in the top 100 Latin American films.

Now, Alejandro Brugués, another Cuban director, puts the finishing touches to Juan of the Dead, a zombie story co-produced with Spain. “It will be more successful than the Vampires, because it is a story that unfolds in these times and the artists are so well characterized they frighten you,” said Jesus, a gourmet who watched moments of the shooting by the Havana seawall.

The subject of zombies is closely associated with Haiti and Voodoo. “In Cuba there have also been stories of the ‘living dead’, particularly in eastern parts of the island, where a major Haitian community settled,”says Roberto, 40, grandson of a Haitian.

In the book Castro’s Final Hour, Andres Oppenheimer wrote that we Cubans are like zombies. So we seemed to the Argentine journalist in 2001 and so we still seem to some foreigners. Like Gerhard, a German tourist who asked, “Why you want more zombies than are already here?”

Opinions aside, the fact is that Juan of the Dead, starring the actor Alexis Diaz de Villegas, besides breaking audience records in Cuba, could break them in other countries. “And not only because of the fictional zombies, but also for the additional morbidity that comes from knowing that the Revolution has aged and several of its leaders have been zombified,” said Magaly, an art student, laughing maliciously.

December 15, 2010