Here at Behind the Thrills, we love us some Theme Parks. No doubt about it. However, there is a great big world out there, and sometimes we need to take a step out of the parks and look at something else. Join us as we take a look outside of the world of theme parks and into the world of movies, music, television, hotels…pretty much anything else we happen to stumble across.
However whatever we look at will have some relation to the theme park world, granted not directly…but in a round about sort of way.
So join us now as we lift up the harnesses, throw out our cup of Butterbeer and take a walk…Offsite.
This week’s Offsite Adventure-Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter
The concept of this makes normal people do one of two things…and what they do depends greatly on the type of person they are. If you are a normal person who accepts things the way you’re told, then you roll your eyes and just chalk this up as something silly. Another low for Hollywood to make money. If you’re not normal, let’s say you’re a little….off, then you raise an eyebrow. I fell in between. I am a freak for this kind of stuff, but at the same time, Abraham Lincoln’s story is pretty straight forward and well known enough that it makes it a little bit off limits. I mean you have what is pretty much the most beloved president of all history, and he was a ruthless killer? A little risque, and very unorthodox, there’ s no possible way that this could possibly come off as anything but hokey.
Of course you know that the movie comes out on June 22nd. You’ve no doubt seen the trailers and the high tight action sequences of trains on fire, trees being blown apart by Abe’s ax and many other far fetched items. It looks like a really fun summer film. But what you probably didn’t know is that the whole idea comes from a book. The book Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, is a critically acclaimed novel. It deals with the main idea that there is more to history than what the history books tell us. That Abraham Lincoln had a secret life, and a life not only harder than what the history books told us, but more ruthless as well.
Now seeing that I was looking very forward to the movie, I was staying away from everything having to do with the movie, which included the book. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the book until one day I had to catch a flight. Racheal and I were flying to Texas for the grand opening of the all new Aquatica water park, and I realized, I had nothing to do on the long flight. So in a last ditch attempt, I ran to the airport bookstore to pick up something to read. Something long, and hopefully good. To my dismay I saw a dozen or so books having to do with terrorist plots and plane crashes. I had read the first Hunger Games book, and was hoping to get a hold of the second, with no such luck. Biographies, cook books and romance novels…all crap I knew wouldn’t keep my attention for the two plus hour flight. Then there he was, sitting in front of me in his familiar pose. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, in all it’s glory. Desperate at this point to make my flight, I grabbed it, paid and ran for the gate. I knew full well that I was going to read this book and (like all movies based on books) like the book better than the movie. So…there I sat reading it.
Do not read any further if you want to avoid spoilers
Still there? I’m telling ya, it’s best if you want to go in fresh to avoid anything I’m about to say.
You’ve been warned.
We all know the story of Abraham Lincoln, the boy who learned to read in the light of a candle in the dirt floor of a cabin. We also knew of the personal tragedies in his life, from the death of his mother and sister to his own sons and eventually his tragic end. In reading the many biographies of the man’s life, we know that he had a passion for helping others and couldn’t stand to see suffering. But what the story of Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter tells us is the motivation behind all of these things. He was a great man, but he was also one of the most accomplished vampire hunters of his time. He spent much of his time tracking and killing the creatures, which made him very powerful enemies, and even more powerful allies.
Some have said that it diminishes the man, and puts terrible motivation behind his actions. It could be seen as that, but the biggest thing that it did for me was turn Abraham Lincoln into more of a superhero than he already was. Here is a man that overcame adversity, rose from a family of poor uneducated people to become the President of the United States and freed the slaves. He secretly was a slayer of vampires, and the one person who stood in the way of a wave of tyranny that would see vampires as the masters of all people…not just slaves. With his stovepipe hat and his ax, he was the visionary that changed the way the future could have ended.
Now what the story doesn’t do is make it sound like the only reason slavery was ended was because of vampires. No, slavery is looked upon in the book as an unnecessary, useless service. The slaves are looked on in only the most sympathetic light, and even Abe himself pities those who are born into servitude…and this is before he learns why slavery is legal. And it’s not until later in Abe’s life that he goes hunting vampires and freeing slaves. First and foremost, it’s because vampires are the reason for much of his suffering. Later he learns of the great calamity that slavery is about to unleash.
Slaves were never meant to be just work horses. Vampires come from a world where they were persecuted, and hunted down. If someone died mysteriously in Europe the alarms went up. Once in the new world, the alarms wouldn’t go up as quick, but they would go up. Slaves weren’t seen as people, only property. If a few slaves went missing, no one but the owners would kick up a fuss. They were a source of food that could be replenished easy, and in the day would not be missed. When talks of ending slavery picked up, the vampires went into full gear, bribing politicians and killing those in their way. But the cost of slavery would be much larger than those could bear.
The book takes well known events in Abe’s life and retells them, only with a sprinkle of vampires. The author gives reason for the actions and the tragedy that surrounded our 16th president. It ties all the loose ends together and makes a stunning story that makes monster kids giddy with delight. Abraham Lincoln was Van Helsing long before Bram Stoker put his name to paper.
Still with movies, you have to create something that is already created in my imagination. The movie looks stunning and should be a lot of fun, with tons of vampires and tons of ax swinging action. But will the story be there? The story is definitely a good one, and Abraham Lincoln was far too interesting of a man to die.