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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

A movie directed by Timur Bekmambetov

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Abe Lincoln: incorruptible man

  • Jun 25, 2012
Rating:
+4
Near the end of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, there is a scene that explains for me the ultimate message of Abraham Lincoln:  offered the tainted immortality of vampirism to use to fight for good for eternity, Lincoln deflects the suggestion with his legendary wisdom and humor without giving a second thought to the offer.  For those who may be horrified by a generation of young people learning about Lincoln from this movie (and the mashup fiction that it is based on), I would offer the suggestion that this movie can have a positive influence if these students take away nothing else but this lesson:  Abraham Lincoln was the ultimate incorruptible man.  He lived every minute of his public life with truth, trust, and integrity to the very end.

I saw the movie today in Bloomington, IL, in the heart of Lincoln country, the day after visiting Springfield and just a handful of its Lincoln sites:  The museum and the home site.   Yes, they do sell the book in the museum gift store and at the time I wondered at this piece of potential sacrilege being sold in the temple of Lincoln.  After watching the movie, I think I might read the book, I can understand why the gift shop sells the book, and I see why the movie works as well as it does:
  1. The historical Lincoln has become a legend, already larger than life.  In both the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC and the Springfield museum Lincoln is a marble man, impossible to criticize, a human deity in his martyr's death.  In a sense he already is a superhero, as no other political or public figure in American history ever has been, and perhaps ever may be (name a current public figure who might be able to carry off this adulation.....go ahead, I'll wait),  In the progression from Log Cabin to Railsplitter to Douglas Debater to Great Emancipator to  Vampire Hunter, that last step is perhaps not so hard to believe as some of the earlier historical ones.
  2. The personal Lincoln was a physical specimen ready made to become an action movie star.  At 6 feet 4 inches tall, he towered over his contemporaries at a time when the average American male was nearly a full foot shorter.  He was a powerfully build man, able to lift a heavy axe by the end of the handle and hold it horizontal in one hand, even after years as a lawyer and politician.  Seeing him wield that axe with fancy spins and kicks in the super slow-motion popular in action movies today he looks not just big, strong, and heroic, but also believably natural.  As my wife said on the way out of the theater, "Abe Lincoln was one bad-ass superhero!"
  3. The historical Civil War was a horror of both humanity (human slavery based on skin color) and politics (brother killing brother across formally open borders).  In the movie, as in contemporary historical and political commentary, the normal language used to explain human and political events failed, and terms like "demonic spirit" were used to try to put a label on what we couldn't even understand, let alone stop or control.  The movie just goes the next steps to make it literal. 
Along the way, the movie never loses the sense of Lincoln the man.  His humor and touch with the common people around him remain intact.  In the White House, in the midst of leading the nation in war by day and vampire hunting under darkness of night, we still see him suffer as a husband and father as young Willie dies (yes in the movie, vampires are involved). Even Mary Todd, so often ignored or villified from every angle in real life, is treated sympathetically.  She is pretty and witty as a young amour engaged to Lincoln's older, better known, rival Stephen Douglas (which I learned yesterday in the museum is historically accurate), and while bitter and angry at Willie's death, stays strong and has a key role to play in the climactic battle against the vampires . . .

 . . . .at the final day in Gettysburg, where Adam, the leader of the slave-owner vampire hoard, has made a deal with Jefferson Davis to supply the Confederate Army with all the undead they could call up.  While the analogy of slave-holders as vampires living off the flesh of their human chattel holds up and is in fact quite powerful, extending the spread of vampires to include the average Southern soldier is stretching the analogy beyond what it might bear.  However, the total numbers are never counted, the average southerner is not implicated and vilified in this way, and most importantly the South's own incorruptible Man Robert E. Lee is not implicated as participating in or condoning the use of the vampire soldiers, an inclusion that would have turned many Southern (and some pro-Northern) readers and movie ticket buyers away even today.   The movie wisely builds up the hero Lincoln without tearing down other heroes.

So, enjoy the engrossing story of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, and admire the real man who lived the legend.  Who knows, you might even want to learn more about both.

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June 25, 2012
good review. I wanted to love this movie but I ended up only partly liking it. It is entertaining, but there was something lacking and I guess the script bothered me since it felt rather episodic. My not having read the book may have something to do with this.  I may have to see this again when it comes out on bluray.
 
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More Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunte... reviews
review by . June 24, 2012
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** out of ****    Honest Abe himself tells us early on in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" that one very significant portion of his life will not be remembered throughout American history. The premise for the film is that he lived a double life as a slayer of vamps; a side-job that started at an early age when his mother's life was taken by one named Jack Barts. This was mere inspiration. Lincoln did not learn that you could properly dispose of vampires for good until he tried …
review by . June 23, 2012
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review by . February 12, 2013
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review by . December 11, 2012
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When young Abraham Lincoln angers a man (who happens to a vampire), the man takes his revenge by killing the boy's mother. Lincoln then dedicates his life to finding vampires and killing them with his silver-tipped ax.      I really enjoyed this movie. Yes, it's horrifically gory at times, but the clever mix of fantasy and true events is very well done and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. We follow Lincoln from store clerk to the White House. …
review by . June 25, 2012
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The summer movie season can be home to plenty of whimsical, often ridiculous premises for movies. We’ve seen movies based on comic books, toy lines, and most recently, board games. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” continues the trend with one of the most laughable titles I’ve ever read, let alone the absurd premise of the film that pits our 16th president against a horde of blood-sucking night dwellers in an alternate-history romp. That being said, I was just as surprised …
review by . June 23, 2012
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Star Rating:         Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Don’t you just love a title that plainly spells it all out for you? Say it to yourself, and you’re instantly reminded of the sci-fi/horror B-movies that sounded as if they were christened before an actual screenplay was written, like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman or Creature from the Black Lagoon or Attack of the Crab Monsters. It matters not that the film plays fast and loose with American history. If …
review by . June 22, 2012
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'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter' History + Vampires = A Winne (Video)
By Joan Alperin Schwartz   Most of the time, when you see a film, after you've read the book, you feel let down. The movie usually pales in comparison to the novel.      I am happy to report this isn't the case with 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'               The film, shot in 3D and directed by Timur Bekmambetov (I've never heard of him either) is entertaining, exciting, clever and total …
Quick Tip by . July 05, 2012
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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #38
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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