I understand the vampire craze in entertainment. From Bram Stoker and Ann Rice, to Stephanie Meyer and Alan Ball, the lure of mythological creatures, famous in folklore for their need to feed on the blood of animals and humans for survival has existed for generations, in literature, film and TV. There’s a fine line between sex-appeal and horror, and most (successful) vampire stories walk that line, while others fall to one side or another.
Alan Ball’s True Blood on HBO is heavy in both gore and sex, but presents a strong social tale of the morality of how we treat social outcasts; while Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is more romance novel than horror tale.
The recently released “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” has chosen to use the events of the Civil War and twist them into a horror film. In the film, Abraham Lincoln picks up a rail-splitting ax with a silver edge to weed out the vampires who support the Confederate Army’s attempts to keep the slave trade active. You see, apparently slaves are a good source of blood for vampires.
It is the twisted history lesson that seems to take this film off the rails for me. In a social age where our education system is failing to adequately teach students the true history of the United States, what value does presenting one of the most critical and divisive points in our country’s history in a twisted fashion? We are still dealing with the misunderstandings of racism (particularly African-American racism) in this country, and to falsely present history seems to only reinforce negative stereotypes, and misguide audiences away from history lessons they might not truly understand. If the filmmakers intended to draw a parallel between vampires and racists, that storyline somehow is lost in to preposterous scenes of stampedes of slavering predators.
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is the cinematic telling of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2010 novel and follow-up to the equally absurd Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. He is known for mixing history, fable and fantasy.
In this movie, our 16th President had his grandfather killed by a vampire; his mother infused with the poisons of vampire blood. When he’s elected president, he leads the charge into the Civil War as a means of averting a systematic takeover of America by power-hungry vampire hordes.
I get that all of this is fantasy, and that preposterous tales are part of entertainment, but I must say I’d rather have my child soak-up the lessons what True Blood’s Sookie can teach us, rather than a confusing miss-telling of America’s war between the North and South.
As Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal says, “What I don't understand is why this extended piece of idiocy chose to sink its stinky teeth into our 16th president. If an axe-wielding hero was required, George Washington would have been the better choice, with the Redcoats as bloodsuckers.”