Start celebrating Halloween early this year by visiting Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery tonight. Here, George Melford's Spanish language version of Drácula, which was shot on the same set as Tod Browning's 1931 film starring Bela Lugosi, will screen as part of a fundraiser for the cemetery. The evening is presented by Take-Up Productions in conjunction with All-Star Video.
Sue Hunter Weir, president of Friends of the Cemetery, says she was approached by John Moret, who does cinema programming for Take-Up at Trylon Microcinema and around town. Moret wanted to do something that would support the cemetery. They all agreed that the Spanish-language version of Drácula was more fun than the Bela Lugosi movie, which has "been seen a millions times," says Weir.
Interestingly, the two films were made at the same time. While the Bela Lugosi's Dracula was shot during the day, another crew would come at night and film the same scenes in Spanish. The production had Spanish speaking actors and crew, and a separate director, George Melford.
Weir hopes that the event will be a draw for the large Latino population in the neighborhood. She also wants the event to serve as a reminder that the Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery has been about immigration since the 1860s.
The cemetery's first burial was in 1853. In the 1860s, the cemetery began burying a handful of Scandinavian immigrants. By the 1880s, hundreds of people had been buried there. There were a couple dozen burials as late as the 1950s (most were transplanted New Englanders from New Hampshire and Massachusetts).
The Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery is on the National Register. "You can pretty much trace the history of south Minneapolis in the different stones," says Weir.
In recent years, there have been several big events at the cemetery, including concerts by LOW and Jeremy Messersmith, as well as theatrical performances.
Next summer, Friends of the Cemetery hopes to have one movie screening a month, starting with Buster Keaton's The General on Memorial Day weekend. The details still have to be worked out, but there's a possibility that there will be some musicians who will compose a soundtrack to play during the film.
Weir says that a lot of young people don't go to cemeteries anymore. "It's a different kind of generational thing," she says. This may be spurred on in part by the higher numbers of people who are cremated. Still, Friends of the Cemetery has 800 followers, and the numbers continue to rise.
The nonprofit is taking steps to appeal to younger people. For example, at tomorrow's event, they'll have a smart phone history tour where folks can scan QR codes on graves to get biographical information (for people without smart phones, there's also a self-guided tour in paper format).
IF YOU GO:
Drácula in the Cemetery $5 suggested donation Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Movie screens at 7:30 p.m. 2925 Cedar Ave. (at Lake Street) The film will be presented with English subtitles. There will be a Taco Taxi food truck at the event. Bring a blanket and/or lawn chair (no coolers, alcoholic beverages, or pets).