The last couple of years have shown a sharp surge in the Cuba’s passion for brain eating zombies in art, video games, film and more.
The art world got a taste of zombie-ism in 2008 with Spanish sculptor Eugenio Meriño’s piece “Viva Fidel Zombie” (right). The silicone art piece shows the leader dressed in a torn track suit, his face distorted in a flesh eating grimace, and one eye bulging out. “Everybody in forums, newspapers etc. have referred to him as a zombie. I thought ‘why hasn’t anyone thought of this yet!?’ said the sculptor.
More recently we saw the dictator this time as a zombie hunter in the latest release of the ‘Call of Duty’ saga, where alongside JFK, Castro (as manned by players in a Pentagon map) must repel endless waves of cold war era zombies using a vast array of weapons.
This week, zombies and parts of zombies started crawling out of every corner of Havana. The local salsa and bachata has been replaced with chomping noises and disturbing groans and moans. 50 years after the Cuban revolution, Cuba is buried knee deep in a Zombie Revolution. And the hero is called Juan.
‘Juan of the Dead’ is the biggest budgeted movie in the history of the island, but a very low budget film by Hollywood’s standards.
The hero Juan is a bit of a slob who sees a chance to make a buck in the midst of zombie madness. For a fee, he and his even dimmer partner Lorenzo, will eliminate those loved ones gone monster for you. For a little extra, they also clean up the mess.
The writer-director Alejandro Brugues calls it a zombie comedy, but also a very Cuban movie. “We [Cubans] always do the same thing in the face of trouble, first we try to make some money out of it. Then we try to leave the country. And so, that’s what our heroes do throughout the film.”
In the movie, Cubans suddenly turn violent after 50 years of Fidel. They’ve run out of food to eat, so they turn to human flesh. In response to the zombie outbreak, the government blames dissidents and imperialist yankees. Cubans try to flee the island, but they can’t.
The movie will be ready to hit theaters next year, but filmmakers are hoping to secure a coveted spot at one of the prestigious film festivals first.