¡Vampiros en La Habana! (1985)

Director: Juan Padrón
English Title: Vampires in Havana

Vampires in Havana is an animated film released in Cuba in the mid 1980s. The film is about a vampire (related to Count Dracula himself) who invented a potion that can allow vampires to walk around in the daytime. It takes place in Havana, Cuba in the environment of a growing rebel movement against the dictator “General Machado” (who clearly represents Batista in the film). The main character is part of this revolutionary movement when he later discovers that he is a vampire, and then becomes caught up in a struggle between Chicago “Mobster vampires” and wealthy European vampires.

European Vampire

The plot beings to focus on the formula and the battle to get the formula by the different vampire sects. Von Dracula in the film wanted the formula to be given for free to the world, while the Chicago “mobsters” wanted it destroyed (because it would harm their real estate plans) and the Europeans wanted to make a profit. The idea of giving it to the world for free could be seen as an analogy for how medicine ought to be from a Cuban perspective in this film: instead of major companies trying to make a profit off of drugs that people need, health should be socialized. And in this film, those who want to make that profit are essentially portrayed as mob bosses. (Granted that portrayal is just as much a commentary on pre-revolutionary Cuba, but the analogy to medicine should be seen as a valid one as well).

The end of the film reveals that the main character (the son of the nephew of Dracula) does not even like blood.  Thus after a lifetime of using the formula, he essentially ceases to be a vampire or at least a long time of taking that formula makes him significantly less of a vampire.  Karl Marx often compared capitalists to vampires, and it’s certainly possible that the write of this film was also trying to make a statement that linked vampires to a regressive force in society.  Whether the writer intended that or not, the film does have certain messages that are not seen in the average animated film in a country like the United States.

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