If you’re not particularly knowledgeable about our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, Hollywood has set itself up to be your tutor. The Oscar winning “Lincoln” focuses on the president’s political maneuverings to pass the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution. Cable television’s recently broadcast “Killing Lincoln” examines the converging paths of Lincoln and his assassin John Wilkes Booth. However, a new DVD release now available at your Roanoke County Public Library tells the most shocking and secret Lincoln story yet.
With a title as preposterous as “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” you know going in that you must be more willing than ever to suspend your disbelief. Many will no doubt be outraged up front and think it the stupidest possible concept or even blasphemy. Yet don’t dismiss it without first giving it a chance if it at all piques your interest. The movie looks at its subject seriously and because of this actually gets you to accept it as a decent horror-action-adventure movie.
The story opens with Lincoln as a young boy witnessing his mother’s murder by a vampire (Marton Csokas) and vowing revenge on the monster. Later, as a young man, Lincoln encounters Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) a self-proclaimed vampire hunter who trains Lincoln to become one dangerous dude with an axe. Ultimately he learns of a plot led by the father of all vampires (given a touch of classy villainy by Rufus Sewell) to take over the United States.
Benjamin Walker does a serviceable job portraying Lincoln as a young idealist and romantic, a statesman and of course the bane of bloodsuckers. The movie also does a surprisingly nice job of blending historical fact with fiction. We see a confederate vampire army decimate Union troops on the battlefield. We also learn that the death of Lincoln’s young son Willie was brought about by a vampiress. If only the movie would have taken more care with blending fact and fantasy and establishing story elements and spent less time on standard seen-it-everywhere-else fight scenes, it would be even more enjoyable.