Mosaic / October 16, 2008

Catalan Chronicle: Horror films abound in Sitges, Spain

If you are looking for a fun beach town that is not chock full of gaudy tourism, look no further than Sitges, Spain. Do not get me wrong, tourists do go here, but it is a better atmosphere for people my age. To get there I simply took a train from Estació de Santos in Barcelona. It took about 40 minutes and only cost 5.20 euro, and about three euro back to Barcelona. I will certainly be returning.

Juniors Carly Kauffman, Andrea Johnston, Ellie Poley and I all went to Sitges Friday for their famous October horror film festival. This year they were celebrating with many scary films, a montage of interpretations for King Kong posters, and, best of all, a zombie march.

The city center was quaint and easy to navigate. Many of the buildings were white with cobalt blue accents, with statues dispersed throughout the city. We arrived and headed down Calle de Jesus, (Jesus Street,) towards the Sant Sebastiá coastline. The beach was not too crowded and stretched for a good ways. The water was nice, not warm but one could wade around—just look out for medusas (jellyfish).

After buying our tickets we headed to the theater, Cine Prado. We were going to see a film called Intrusos en Manasés, or God’s Forgotten Town; a Spanish film, it was conveniently accompanied by English subtitles.

The film was about a crew of four paranormal journalists making a documentary about a Spanish pueblo whose citizens had mysteriously disappeared within 24 hours. To add to the mystery, a Nazi warplane carrying a South American artifact, the “Scepter of Power”, had crashed in the pueblo just before the disappearances. It was like the TV show, “The X-files”, only set in modern Spain.

As the crew sets up camp in the pueblo and starts to film, the signs of ghosts get stronger and more threatening. The filmmakers discover an innocent young girl’s ghost and a Nazi ghost set on winning the war and becoming a hero, both trapped in the town. The ghosts cannot just injure the filmmakers; they can also enter their bodies and control them for their own means.

The ghosts battle out their feud using the filmmakers’ bodies, even spilling the blood for sacrifice to the Scepter of Power. This movie had me squirming down into my seat, though the others found the plot dubious.

Afterwards director Juan Carlos Claver, actor Armando del Río, and the cameraman answered questions and we had our picture taken with del Río. We then moseyed on up the streets, stopping for coffee and pastries and a little shopping.

Finally seven rolled around and Carly and I could start getting all gussied up as zombies. Carly wore oozing wounds and I wore a dangling eyeball with much fake blood. The zombies milled around the plaza, being zombie-like. News cameras showed up to interview the zombies as well as plenty of spectators and even a superhero fighting the zombies.

The zombies came in all ages, little Spanish kids all the way to older British men. I even saw a baby with a bit of zombie makeup in their zombie parent’s stroller. There were zombie soldiers, zombie brides, zombie doctors, a werewolf, zombie punks, and even a zombie nun who went around praying.

After about an hour we started the march. We walked past onlookers as we groaned and tried to eat their fresh brains. We went down the street that lined the beach, through the plaza of the old church, Església de s. Bartomeuista. Tecla, and to the finale, a punk rock concert with zombie band Eastpak. This made me really happy; I needed my dose of punk rock.

The whole trip was wonderfully fun, though now I’ve got this curious jones for brains…

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