He Freed The Slaves, and Killed Vampires!
July 2, 2012

Curiosity killed me. I knew nothing about it. I had to see it. I laughed at the concept. But Tim Burton produced it. It couldn't be that bad could it? Besides, good or bad, it would be material for this column. So I did it. I plunked down $5.25. I saw Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

History taught us a lot about Abe. We know that he lost his mother when he was young. But we know now that what kept him going as a youth was to avenge his mother's death. See, vampires killed her. After the opening scene where Lincoln witnesses his mother's death, Abe (played by Benjamin Walker) is now a young man, minding a store in Springfield and reading law books. Then, in the middle of the night, he goes out and kills vampires, and even though we don't see the next part, he is able to get plenty of rest and go to class the next day.

He learns that in order to vanquish (they actually never use that word in the film, thank goodness) as many vampires as he can, he has to have no family, and no friends. But one day, a very attractive woman named Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) comes into the store, and they are attracted to each other instantly. On one date, Abe admits to Mary that he hunts vampires, and she laughs, and never suspects a thing, until it turns out that vampires also killed their son Willie. Todd, interestingly, who had a lot of problems in her real life, comes across as quite normal, and a dedicated wife. I thought that character was going to go in a completely different direction.

I was expecting the movie to be more campy, but the film takes its vampires and vampire hunting very seriously. I didn't see the 3-D version, but I imagine the effects would be pretty spectacular, with fangs, and blood, and the occasional decapitation flying straight at you. There are some funny moments, but I don't think they are intentional. Vampires apparently have all sorts of powers, and even Lincoln himself is able to jump from horse to horse during a stampede.

As you might expect, the film focuses more on the vampire hunting than slavery and emancipation, but certainly the issues of the day are a big part of the film. Not to give too much away, but because the South was pretty much left alone prior to the Civil War, that's where the greatest concentration of American vampires lived. We learned that they were fighting on the front lines for the Rebels, and since you can't kill a vampire (except for a silver bullet or stake through the heart, etc.), that's why there were so many Union casualties. If the vampires weren't wiped out by Gettysburg, the South would win for sure.

The movie wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be, and I suppose some credit should be given to the minds that come up with ideas like this, but the story developed slowly, and I had one urge to walk out about 20 minutes in. It got a little “better” though, even though the first reaction to most scenes is to laugh and think this is stupid. One of the aspects that I thought was pretty cool, though, was that all the vampire hunting had to be done with the tools of the day. Loading and reloading a musket is not something Lincoln was very good at, and we know that he was much more skillful with an ax.

So, as the United States gets ready to celebrate its independence, we learn that the Great Emancipator is prejudiced against vampires. But we also learn that perhaps the greatest president this country has ever had was fighting two wars—one that would reunite the nation, and the other to wipe out the immortals living among us. Honest, hard working, intelligent, and great vampire hunter. That's our Abe.

Other Stuff: Maybe it's because I follow sports, but it seems like the Nathan's Famous July 4 International Hot Dog Eating Contest has become as synonymous with Independence Day as fireworks. If you want to see “professionals” stuff hot dogs in their throats, the event will be televised by ESPN at noon Pacific Time. American Joey Chestnut is the record holder—eating 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

Getting Political Here: Agree or disagree with the Supreme Court's decision on “Obamacare”? I don't have health insurance and can't afford it right now (I hope to change that soon), but I am not against a mandate as long as the basic requirement is affordable and fairly comprehensive... I saw a story that Republicans are saying President Obama shouldn't get any credit for the recent fall in gas prices. I agree, but how come Republicans (especially the Gingrich campaign) were blaming Obama when prices were going up? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Dodger Blues: For my short sports segment, I got three days off in a row, just in time to watch the Giants-Dodgers series on TV from San Francisco. I hadn't seen the Dodgers on TV in awhile. They couldn't score a run? Not one measly run? The Giants shut out the Dodgers three straight for the first time ever, dating back to the late 1800s. Well, at least I got to see history... How is it that Andre Ethier didn't make the All-Star team? Last I looked, he was leading the National League in RBIs. I was reading an article about the guys that got snubbed, and Ethier wasn't even mentioned in there. He was snubbed from the snub list!

In the military, then drafted: Okay, another quick sports segment. Cleveland may no longer have LeBron James, but the Cavaliers just selected Bernard James in Thursday's NBA draft. Bernard James is not your typical rookie. He graduated from Florida State but is 27 years old, and served some time in the Air Force. I wrote about him before during the NCAA Tournament. Part of his military career was at Beale Air Force Base, just outside of Marysville. The crowd at the draft chanted "U-S-A, U-S-A" when his named was called... With the final first round pick, the Golden State Warriors selected center Festus Ezeli from Vanderbilt. Ezeli is from Nigeria, but lives in Sacramento, and as a kid, visited his uncle in Marysville. Small world.

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