I really enjoy Halloween, I have to say. It's actually always been a favorite holiday of mine, something about the idea of eating copious amounts of candy, or, as we grow older and wiser, drinking copious amounts of alcohol that's been created to taste like candy as we sit around in funny outfits and watch movies whose primary dialogue is screaming. I guess I just like all the costumes, really, even those that observe the now-famous slut rule (I swear, I'm just waiting for the slutty nun and slutty saints costumes, my GOD girls, put those things AWAY). So I find it rather sad that I've spent at least two out of my 22 Halloweens away from the United States. (To be fair, however, I can't really remember my first 5 Halloweens, so those are lost to me as well. There, that's 7. Damn.)
When I spent my Halloween in Russia I was living with a group of Russian students who delighted in the concept of Halloween and practically forced us at gunpoint (or at vodka-point, much more dangerous), to have a party. However, something about running around a soviet-area apartment building in a Hedi-of-the-Swiss-Alps costume seemed, I don't know, romantic, dashing, totally insane, take your pick. Again, there was vodka, so it's all kind of a blur. But this year, here in the struggle that is Spain, I just wasn't feeling the Halloween magic. Something about the holiday just didn't resonate with me this year. Perhaps the idea of dressing up as someone else isn't as appealing when your own life is a mess, I don't know, sort of an anti-escapist thing. Or maybe it's because I don't know anyone here in Madrid who would really get my June Carter circa 1967 costume, complete with go-go boots and a painkiller addicted sidekick. I don't know. But really, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself.
Luckily, my Spanish teacher had told me about a vintage movie theater in Madrid which shows movies in their original format. The strange fact about Spanish cinema is that they tend to dub absolutely everything in theaters, and as fun as the idea of watching rapid fire Spanish come out of Kathrine Hegel's mouth is, well, I'm not really willing to pay 10 euros for the privilege. So instead of catching up on the latest in romantic comedies, I've been watching classic American films for less then 3 euros a piece. So for Halloween, when all of Madrid was wandering around in various (terrible) costumes, my friend Ashly and I (hi Ashly!)went to el Cine Dore for an evening of Roman Polanski's classic, hilarious, totally dated film "The Fearless Vampire Hunters". However, something rather odd about el Cine Dore is that, unlike the rest of this country, it always always always starts on time. So when we were five minutes late, well, the rest of the audience stared at us like we had more then one head. Additionally, and maybe quite a bit get's lost in translation, but I have to say, I was one of the only people laughing in the entire theater. I mean, this is a movie that contains a Jewish vampire, sex jokes galore, funny accents, and, to top it all off, an extremely young and hilarious looking Roman Polanski. I mean, how is that not the best thing ever? Seriously.
Getting a drink afterwards with Ashly only highlighted the crazy that is the Spanish interpretation of Halloween. Gazing at the streets filled with terrible costumes and roving gangs of crazies, well, one has to conclude that there are certain things we of the USA really do better then anyone else.
Leah Franqui is a fairly interesting person/director/writer/reader/eater/drinker. She likes ugly dogs and dislikes her hair in the morning. She's a sucker for environmental causes and plays hardball with deals on chewing gum. She is a struggle.