Vampires Are Descending on Havana With Carlos Lechuga’s New Film

Read more

Cuban director Alejandro Brugues’ international zombie sensation Juan de los muertos (Juan of the Dead) may have turned a lot of heads with its (relatively) big-budget mix of popular humor and schlock horror, but even great Cuban directors of yesteryear like Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Julio García Espinosa and Humerto Solas got their kicks mashing up big ideas with genres like slapstick comedy, melodrama and westerns.  Now, director Carlos Lechuga will be following up his award-winning social realist feature debut, Melaza, with a sexy vampire flick about coming of age in Havana after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Why not?

In a recent interview with the Cuban daily, Granma, Lechuga revealed that his next project will be titled Habana: Territorio Vampiro (which may or may not be translated to Havana: Vampire Territory), and is being produced by the same Havana-based 5ta Avenida production house that brought the world Juan de los muertos and Melaza, with Brugues himself forming part of the production team.

Carlos Lechuga
Read more

However, despite superficial similarities with Juan de los muertos and even that classic of Cuban animation, Vampiros en la Habana (Vampires in Havana), Lechuga insists that Habana: Territorio Vampiro won’t be intended as a comedy. Instead, it seems Lechuga was inspired by the layers of sexual subtext that have characterized the vampire genre since it first reared its head in prude, Victorian England. The story follows an overprotected, 18-year-old mama’s vampire trying to get by during the lean years of the mid-90s, when even vampires were forced to ration blood in order to get by. When his whole family is killed, our vampire-hero teams up with a sensual adolescent she-vampire and embarks on a journey of vengeance and sexual discovery.

In the great tradition of vampire horror, Lechuga stated that he intends to both frighten and disgust viewers with this film, and will focus on the dark corners, caves and tunnels of Havana to create its unsettling atmosphere. While Habana: Territorio Vampiro has yet to begin production, it already sounds like a worthy addition to a new generation of Cuban independent cinema, while continuing in the great tradition of generations past. Stay tuned for more on Habana: Territorio Vampiro, this is definitely one to look out for.