Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Anti-Lost Cause

With Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter?

Take it for what it is: a historically-themed slayer fest rife with creative license, blood-spurting, and entertainingly cheesy action.  After all, the film I speak of is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I was highly amused by the depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg in the film--which depicts Federal troops gaining the upper hand once their fresh supply of silver Minie balls and canister arrives.  As one might guess, there is no shortage of indulging or farcical moments in the movie.  That said, the film draws strong lines of distinction between "good" and "evil."  This is no Gods and Generals.  For instance, in its more serious moments the Lincoln action flick pulls no punches in regard to the horrors of slavery.  The Confederate cause is depicted with zero redeeming qualities in any regard.  Until recently, I had thought of the TV movie Andersonville as the most anti-Confederate film to be produced.  (That film thinly veils the Civil War prison as the predecessor to concentration camps.)  But this slayer movie changes that view somewhat.  

Here, Confederates are portrayed as nothing but pure evil as slave-owning southerners (including President Jefferson Davis) ally themselves with the proverbially evil vampire appropriately named Adam.  All absurdities aside, the movie reflects a slow reversal in popular culture against anything Confederate.  Just think how ALVH is the polar opposite of productions like The Birth of a Nation or even Gone with the Wind.  There appears to be less and less tolerance for the old moonlight and magnolias method of film making in which the romantic old South was deemed more desirable.  Certainly, one could anticipate another emancipation-themed saga in Steven Spielberg's upcoming Lincoln biopic.  The public's perceptions about the past (whether accurate or inaccurate) are shaped more by film than any other medium or venue.  Even when history movies feature the "undead" in 3D, they can still shape the way people think about the past.  Unbelievable but true.  As Lincoln's character himself claims, "History prefers legends to men."  Ain't it the truth?

 "I want YOU to join the Slave Powers!"

1 comment:

  1. I recently saw the film and was amused, particularly with how the Gettysburg saga was handled. I read the book on which this film was based a couple of years ago and was actually impressed by how the author blended Lincoln's early years with the wild fiction of a western frontier teeming with vampires. The author had the "real" history own pat, and the book did a better job of making the tale plausible - or as plausible as one can make such a story. I went into the theatre expecting not to buy into the film version, and in that sense I was not disappointed. Still, I did enjoy the film for what it was... Pure escapist entertainment. I saw the 3d version, which added to the fun.