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Vampires In Havana (free)

  • Chazen Museum of Art 750 University Avenue Madison, WI, 53706 United States (map)

Vampires battle for a sun-proofing formula in Juan Padrón's satirical animated feature. Info


The best part of director Juan Padrón's horny 1985 animated film Vampires In Havana is the music from Arturo Sandoval, the great Cuban trumpeter, which blasts from main vampire Pepito's horn. Pepito (hereafter, Pepe) doesn't know his grandfather fed him a formula that hides his vampire powers and lets him dabble in human affairs under Havana's sun, partying all day and battling police officers under the command of dictator Gerard Machado. When a European vampire business conglomerate and a Chicago vampire mob boss hear about the formula, they both target Pepe. Through elaborate and sometimes hilarious hijinks, the competing factions push and pull Pepe, who finally must match his allegorical antagonists at their own violent game. The political commentary here paradoxically requires some background knowledge but also doesn't really provide much more for anyone who has read up on the Cuban Revolution, as Vampires In Havana finds much of its humor in stereotypes and sexism. That said, using the wonders of cheap animation as an excuse to jam together vampires, the 1930s Havana jazz scene, enlightenment-style science,  Cuban history, critiques of capitalism, Fritz The Cat-style eroticism, and the strange music of Chicago accents in Spanish makes the film at the very least a wild curiosity. —Reid Kurkerewicz