Monday, January 27, 2014

Brain Dead?: Juan of the Dead

I can check another Country off of my Horror Film Bucket List.  Today's film is Juan of the Dead, a Zombie Film that comes to us from Cuba.  That place has been through a lot of change in the last Decade or so.  One Castro (Fidel) is out and a new one (Raoul) is in.  The Country has seemingly-gone a long way from being a place that was conspiring with Russia to destroy us in the Cold War (or so we're told).  So, with that in mind, let's give this fledgling democracy(?) a chance.  The film tells the tale of Juan, a lovable slacker in Cuba.  When shit starts to go down, him and his crew of miscreants/family decide to try and make a living in this new world.  Why are there Zombies?  There just are- deal with it.  Yeah, I have to kind of make peace with the fact that some films just don't bother to tell you why it happens.  Is it worse than films with incredibly-stupid explanations for it?  I'll get back to you on that.  You want to know if this film- which no doubt at least one person has told you to check out- is worth a look.  To get a relatively-SPOILER FREE answer from me, read on...
Juan and his friend live the slacker life in Cuba.  It's less glamorous and cool when you are nearly-middle-aged and have grown children, of course.
Speaking of which, Juan's daughter really doesn't like him.  She's planning on jumping ship- literally, when you live on an island- to Miami.  Juan's not happy, especially since he really has no intention of ever leaving Cuba.
 Juan and his gang- which includes a crossdresser, their blood-shy giant and his friend's son California- are planning on just getting by in this not-so-nice island paradise when...
Zombies!  In a nice touch, we see the government blame the incidents on actually being the work of U.S. paid dissidents.  They'll soon learn the truth.
 The Zombie epidemic hits home.

In my 2nd favorite scene, our heroes aren't sure what exactly the mutated person is.  As such, they try Garlic, staking and Crucifixes.  Nice touch of 'realism' there.
Everyone gets the hint and tries to get the hell out of 'dodge' (or Cuba).  Our heroes have a better idea: use this to make some money!
As you can see, the water is not exactly inviting.  You might as well stay and make money killing peoples' zombified relatives.  Hi, shark.
Things look bad until this mysterious man and his truck arrive.  I wouldn't dare SPOIL what he does though.
Things look bleak for our heroes and they must make a choice: stay or go.

What do they decide?  You'll have to watch the movie to find out.
Kudos to Cuba!  I wasn't sure how to feel about this one initially.  There are some good Horror Films from other Countries out there.  Good, that is, as viewed by this American here (not necessarily on general quality).  There is a smaller number of Horror Comedies out there- again IMHO.  So, bearing that in mind, finding a Foreign Horror Comedy that I liked was very unlikely.  In spite of that, I really liked this one.  Is it perfect?  No.  Some of the tonal Comedy can be lost in translation.  The big thing is whether or not you like Juan and his friends.  Given some of their behavior, it is understandable that some of you out there will not.  I get it.  Putting that aside, the whole thing is fun, has enough serious moments to work and just generally feels fresh.  There are some really good and unique moments in the film.  There are also alot of moments that were inspired by/ripped off from other films to boot.  Juan of the Dead is a good movie and a sign that more good things can come from that country.  Now if they would just lay off Bloggers...
Up next, after two Mondo films recently, it only seems fitting to see an obscure parody of them.  From the mind of one SNL Writer comes...completely-random insanity.  Stay tuned...

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