Sure, we’ve just about reached saturation point when it comes to vampires. Whether they're campy and sexy-as-hell, as in "True Blood," or watered down and tailor-made for junior high school kids just getting over Bieber fever ("Twilight," "Vampire Diaries"), fanged creatures that melt, explode or turn to glitter when the sun hits them are everywhere.
Just when it had seemed like it’s high time to move on to a new creature (Cyclops? Bigfoot? Bring it on…), Seth Grahame-Smith penned the bizarre, best-selling mash-up "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and his book flew off the shelves. Now it’s become a violent, dark action flick -- and get ready, because the 16th President of the United States is gonna be doing a lot more with an ax than just chopping wood.
Grahame-Smith is kind of the go-to literary mash-up guy these days, and his first best-seller, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," is getting the film treatment, too. Until then -- we get Abe Lincoln battling the bloodsuckers.
Don’t worry, the film isn’t a slow period piece that’ll put you to sleep. Uptight English professors will probably cower in their seats during some of the fight sequences. Grahame-Smith put his book in the hands of Russian director Timur Bekmambetov; you don’t mess with a guy who has a name like that. His early Russian movies were mind crushers. His movies "Night Watch" and "Day Watch" are fantasy thrillers set in a Moscow where the forces of Day and Night battle each other for control. It’s like being trapped inside a video game for two hours -- in a good way.
Bekmambetov made his U.S. debut when directed Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy in "Wanted," so you can imagine the high-voltage style he’s brought to "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." It’s bloody as hell, gory, and has “a lot of flying heads,” says the director. He’s also called it “the last movie about vampires,” but chances are there will be sequels -- so maybe those will be the last movies about vampires.
Lincoln is considered a badass dude already in history books, so imagine watching him as a superhero who runs the country, holds on to his integrity and slays vampires. The movie also takes place during the violent Civil War. Add to that, vampires fighting in the war, and excess bloodshed is guaranteed. Oh, and these vampires can handle the daylight since they’ve created a skin protector that allows them to roam day and night.
Benjamin Walker won the part of Lincoln and even though he looks a little like the president, he had to lose 30 pounds and endure six hours of makeup a day to really sink into the role. The results are worth it -- he looks like a haunting, comic book version of Honest Abe. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the first lady. Remember her as the hottie manic pixie dream girl in "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"? She’s by Abe’s side as he makes it his solemn, bloody mission to stop the vampires from taking over the country. With all the bath-salt stories going around this flick hits a little close to home.
The movie hits theaters today in good old 3-D, so it’s probably a good move to plunk down the price of a ticket instead of waiting to watch it on your sad little laptop. It’s also produced by master of the macabre Tim Burton (Johnny Depp is nowhere in sight though, which is just fine) so his style meshed with Bekmambetov’s visceral action chops is well worth watching -- whether it’s the last vampire movie or not.
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