‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’ puts supernatural spin on history
Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Ten score and three years ago, a man was sent to Earth to destroy slavery, unite a broken country and vanquish vicious vampires.
Abraham Lincoln was not only our 16th president, but he was also on a lifelong mission to destroy these undead, blood sucking devils.
But the vampires that the Great Emancipator sets out to destroy are not your teenage sister's sparkly, lovesick, whining vampires. At least that's the picture painted by Seth Grahame-Smith in his novel "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
This June, a movie based on the book hits theaters. Judging by the book, the new movie, produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, will be incredible.
The book begins in a market in New York in 2010. The author is given a unique gift: ten old, leather-bound books completely filled with writing. These are the secret diaries of Abraham Lincoln. In this introduction, Smith claims that our image of Abe Lincoln is the result of varying levels of dishonesty and omission.
What follows is the life story of a Lincoln no one knew existed.
This pseudo-biography follows the 16th president from his childhood in the wilds of a young America all the way to Ford's Theater on that fateful night.
Early in his life, Lincoln discovers that vampires have been a part of American history since the first European settler hopped off a boat. Lincoln then makes a vow: "I hereby resolve to kill every vampire in America."
The future president tries to do just that. He drives stakes into a few of the vampires here. He cuts some of their heads off there. He even lights a few on fire. Up and down the Mississippi, he chops through the undead like he's clearing a forest for some creepy railroad.
Vampires don't make good books. Most vampire related media is the worst scourge against good literature. But when the vampires are getting hacked apart by the 16th president, it works. This book is different. It's not like most of the slop that has been written about vampires lately.
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is one of the most exciting, interesting things to come out in a long time.
Smith isn't content to just make things up. He blends fact with fiction in a way that makes you want everything in the novel to be true. He knits the story together like a blanket made from the threads of history, violence and myth.
It takes an expert storyteller to take a story that everyone knows and make it new. We all know how Lincoln's story ends.
But Smith makes Lincoln's life come alive in a way that other biographers couldn't. Sure he may have added more vampires than a historian would but why not? Why can't one of the greatest presidents we ever had be an axe-swinging, vampire slayer?
The new movie may be good, but it may be terrible.
The film will take a step toward making history more interesting.