Things I Learned From Movie X
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
By Edwin Davies
July 4, 2012
Like Sam Cooke, I don't know much about history, other than that it's a chronological record of events, as of the life or development of a people or institution, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events. As such, I went into Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the latest film by Timur Bekmambetov, director of other “inspired by real-life films” like Night Watch and Wanted, largely unaware of the life of the titular President. Because of this, the film revealed some surprising and illuminating facts about the life of history's greatest chin curtain enthusiast that I would never have imagined to be possible. Truly, it opened my eyes, then spat blood into them.
A house divided (by vampires) cannot stand
Holy shit, did you guys know that Abraham Lincoln hunted vampires in his spare time? I had no idea! I mean, I knew about the extracurricular activities of other presidents, such as Teddy Roosevelt penchant for hunting bears by the dozen, JFK’s famed skirt chasing abilities, and W.H. Taft’s professed love of travelling in the Adirondacks and hunting men for sport (though, owing to his considerable heft he never caught any, which is arguably the greatest tragedy of his life after that time he got stuck in a bathtub), but this information about Lincoln is news to me. Also, did you know that slavery used to be a thing?
In fact, before seeing the film, the only thing I knew about Lincoln was that he was called Honest Abe because he fessed up to chopping down an apple tree and spent many years in a Siberian prison camp for his admission. (Disclaimer: I have been known to mix up the life stories of different Presidents, as well as to mix up the lives of Presidents with those of characters in Dostoevsky novels.)
So, my interest piqued, I spent the nine hours after seeing the film watching all of Ken Burns' seminal series The Civil War, only to discover, to my disgust and horror, that there was not one mention of vampires in its entire running time. Coming from the foremost documentarian of our age, I find this omission to be shoddy, and downright disrespectful to the thousands who died to free this great nation from the claws of the Nosferatu. Next time you decide to spend the better part of a decade creating an epic tapestry of a crucial moment in American history, do some fucking research, Burns!
There is such a thing as being too prepared
So, to the plot: Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) spends his life waging a secret war against the vampires of America, led by Adam (Rufus Sewell), an unscrupulous one-percenter who (much like Donald Trump) swans around in a mansion whilst feeding on the effort and blood of the downtrodden masses, all the while denying them access to cheap, effective healthcare insurance other than the sweet release of death, which is the most comprehensive health plan going, if you think about it.