"Cuba's first horror film," Juan of the Dead

I’ll put “Cuba’s first horror film” in quotes because that’s how it’s being sold. I find the claim hard to believe — but when I tried to find another Cuban horror film, I stumbled across this essay:

The Cuban horror film does not exist because it has been explicitly prohibited by the government. Genre films, which would include not only horror but also science fiction and fantasy, have been deemed as detrimental to the political leanings and the social program of the Cuban government. In fact, ICAIC would not consider it inappropriate to label these forms of mass entertainments as counter-revolutionary or even degenerate art…

Furthermore, since horror is essentially, at its core, the relation between one and a perilous and often transmogrified other, the only other that is deemed worthy of discussion in Cuba is the capitalist imperialism of the United States. The yanquís, the Castro government’s demonic appellation for the inhabitants of the country ninety miles west of Cuba, are the lone evil in the Cuban psyche. Since billboards about them are already everywhere on the island, making a film about their sinister intentions seems an utterly redundant act.

So there’s some sociological background for anyone who thinks this trailer isn’t worthy of attention on the merits of its awesomeness alone.

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27 Comments

  1. Tye-Grr
    July 8, 2011

    Hahahahahaha… This actually looks pretty awesome! I’ll be checking it out.

  2. Tye-Grr
    July 8, 2011

    Hahahahahaha… This actually looks pretty awesome! I’ll be checking it out.

  3. July 9, 2011

    Well, technically the animated movie “Vampiros in La Habana” is a comedy/horror film. This looks funny – not great, thought. A Cuban version of “Shaun of the Dead”, not to say, literally, a rip-off.

  4. July 9, 2011

    Well, technically the animated movie “Vampiros in La Habana” is a comedy/horror film. This looks funny – not great, thought. A Cuban version of “Shaun of the Dead”, not to say, literally, a rip-off.

  5. GL
    July 9, 2011

    Lol definitely a rip off, but hey, it’s not meant to be serious, and give this oppressed people a chance lol…this looks cute!

  6. GL
    July 9, 2011

    Lol definitely a rip off, but hey, it’s not meant to be serious, and give this oppressed people a chance lol…this looks cute!

  7. GV
    July 9, 2011

    Great concept in sooo many levels. I hate to make a social/political connection…but Oh!- what temptation! The setting is awesome, the quasi-zombie cubans that are already there after 50 years of a brutal dictatorship…if a zombie apocalypse could happen anywhere , it easily could be in the streets of Havana. As a horror genre fan… definitely watching it!

  8. GV
    July 9, 2011

    Great concept in sooo many levels. I hate to make a social/political connection…but Oh!- what temptation! The setting is awesome, the quasi-zombie cubans that are already there after 50 years of a brutal dictatorship…if a zombie apocalypse could happen anywhere , it easily could be in the streets of Havana. As a horror genre fan… definitely watching it!

  9. Armando
    July 9, 2011

    They’ve been living in a horror film for the last 50 years.

  10. Armando
    July 9, 2011

    They’ve been living in a horror film for the last 50 years.

  11. Maxin
    July 9, 2011

    I find the zombie-like automatic responses of people who probably know very little about Cuba deeply ironic.

  12. Maxin
    July 9, 2011

    I find the zombie-like automatic responses of people who probably know very little about Cuba deeply ironic.

  13. Armando
    July 9, 2011

    I find the opinion of people that never been to Cuba or live in (soon-to-be-like Cuba) Venezuela deeply ironic.

  14. Armando
    July 9, 2011

    I find the opinion of people that never been to Cuba or live in (soon-to-be-like Cuba) Venezuela deeply ironic.

  15. Joao Mattos
    July 9, 2011

    Ryan,

    Allow me to show other Cuban horror film and a diretor who works in the genre. These two links are part of the coverage that my friend Mário Abbade, editor in-chief of the brazilian web site “Almanaque Virtual” did about the Havana Film Festival of 2010. (I am a collaborator of the site, but right now I’m taking a little break).

    Of course you won’t be able to read it, because the articles were written in portuguese, but as a introduction, I guess they’re useful

    http://almanaquevirtual.uol.com.br/ler.php?id=26068&tipo=&MOLINA’S+FEROZZ

    http://almanaquevirtual.uol.com.br/ler.php?id=26069&tipo=&ENTREVISTA+COM+O+CINEASTA+CUBANO+JORGE+MOLINA

  16. Joao Mattos
    July 9, 2011

    Ryan,

    Allow me to show other Cuban horror film and a diretor who works in the genre. These two links are part of the coverage that my friend Mário Abbade, editor in-chief of the brazilian web site “Almanaque Virtual” did about the Havana Film Festival of 2010. (I am a collaborator of the site, but right now I’m taking a little break).

    Of course you won’t be able to read it, because the articles were written in portuguese, but as a introduction, I guess they’re useful

    http://almanaquevirtual.uol.com.br/ler.php?id=26068&tipo=&MOLINA’S+FEROZZ

    http://almanaquevirtual.uol.com.br/ler.php?id=26069&tipo=&ENTREVISTA+COM+O+CINEASTA+CUBANO+JORGE+MOLINA

  17. July 9, 2011

    Thanks, Joao! Are there any outstanding titles in particular?

  18. July 9, 2011

    Thanks, Joao! Are there any outstanding titles in particular?

  19. Alex
    July 9, 2011

    My whole family is from Cuba and … yeah, it’s pretty horrific over there, at least, in comparison to the U.S. …

    That being said, this looks like a pretty funny movie…even if it is ripping off Shaun of the dead

  20. Alex
    July 9, 2011

    My whole family is from Cuba and … yeah, it’s pretty horrific over there, at least, in comparison to the U.S. …

    That being said, this looks like a pretty funny movie…even if it is ripping off Shaun of the dead

  21. Joao Mattos
    July 9, 2011

    Ryan,

    It seems that Jorge Molina several horror shorts prior to this feature (“Molina’s Ferozz”), full of sex on it (as “Ferozz”) are a huge underground hit in Cuba, and he is not well treated by ICAIC (according to Wikipedia in Spanish). The author of the review and the interview that I exposed to you, Abbade, right now is on vacation in Los Angeles. I will send a message to him asking if he has any contact that can answer where to find these shorts. Molina also worked as an actor on “Juan of Dead”.

  22. Joao Mattos
    July 9, 2011

    Ryan,

    It seems that Jorge Molina several horror shorts prior to this feature (“Molina’s Ferozz”), full of sex on it (as “Ferozz”) are a huge underground hit in Cuba, and he is not well treated by ICAIC (according to Wikipedia in Spanish). The author of the review and the interview that I exposed to you, Abbade, right now is on vacation in Los Angeles. I will send a message to him asking if he has any contact that can answer where to find these shorts. Molina also worked as an actor on “Juan of Dead”.

  23. Alebrugues
    July 9, 2011

    Thanks for posting about Molina Ferozz. Being one of the main actors of “Juan”, I’m pretty sure he appreciates all this.
    As for the essay, I hadn’t thought about it that way. I think we don’t do horror films for the same reason latin americans filmmakers don’t do it, because it’s not what it’s “expected” from us. We’re supposed to be doing social films.
    But I don’t care, anyway. I did it. No one ever questioned me because of the genre. Because of politics? Let’s talk about it some other day.

  24. Alebrugues
    July 9, 2011

    Thanks for posting about Molina Ferozz. Being one of the main actors of “Juan”, I’m pretty sure he appreciates all this.
    As for the essay, I hadn’t thought about it that way. I think we don’t do horror films for the same reason latin americans filmmakers don’t do it, because it’s not what it’s “expected” from us. We’re supposed to be doing social films.
    But I don’t care, anyway. I did it. No one ever questioned me because of the genre. Because of politics? Let’s talk about it some other day.

  25. Faux
    July 11, 2011

    Hello, Alebrugues, director of this movie. My grandma says thank you for demolish the Focsa to see the dusk. F.-

  26. Faux
    July 11, 2011

    Hello, Alebrugues, director of this movie. My grandma says thank you for demolish the Focsa to see the dusk. F.-

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