Abraham Lincoln Face-Off: Spielberg vs. The Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter20th Century Fox

It’s only natural the Obama presidency would trigger a national re-evaluation of race in America: we now have a counterweight to our shame about slavery. And what better way to articulate it than with tales of The Great Emancipator?

One year after Obama took office, Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter hit the bookshelves. By 2012, the film version of that historical mash-up was released, beating out Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln by a few months. The latter was penned by a more intellectual writer, Tony Kushner. It was showered with accolades, and more than doubled the take of its supernatural sibling.

Makes sense, when you think about it. A film depicting our higher selves should entail high-culture storytelling. But where the historical version walked us to the edge, the pop version said out loud what we know to be true: slavery is colonial vampirism.

There’s no point in being binary, I suppose. Films for the most part are pop culture, even historical ones. So we got to have it both ways, plain spoken and erudite. And why not? We deserve to bask in the story of this significant pivot away from our past.

Personally, I dug the dude with the axe.

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