Confederate Vampires: How Abraham Lincoln Fights for the 99 Percent
I really wanted to see this movie in the South. How would scenes of Abraham Lincoln killing Confederate vampires go over in the red state land of Dixie flags and Jesus lovers? Would they boo where we cheered?
After a weak $16 million dollar, it won’t last long but Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be a cult classic. From the bloody beheadings to the stilted acting, it is a big budget camp movie that lets us laugh at the absurd mash-up of history and genre. But its secret pleasure is the way it breaks political taboos. The film makes visible the essence of slavery and capitalism. Second, it portrays our most famous president as a revolutionary serial killer who gets his hands dirty for The Cause.
The dead have always haunted the living. Panicked whispers of ghouls thirsty for blood are part of global folklore. Nearly everyone everywhere has a version of it. Unique to the Leftist tradition of critique is the use of vampires not as an image of an individual spirit but as the spirit of a whole society. In the hands of progressives, vampires are a symbol of the repressed violence that has become normalized by ideology.
“Capital is dead labour which, vampire like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks,” Karl Marx wrote in his 1867 treatise Capital: Critique of a Political Economy . One hundred and twelve years later, Third World superstar Bob Marley swung his knotty dreads and sang his 1979 hit Babylon System . “Babylon system is a vampire,” he crooned, “Sucking the children day by day.” Two years ago, Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi wrote, “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is traditional progressive storytelling. It uses an axe-swinging superhero, Abe Lincoln, to retell the Left’s primary mythos – a parasitic few live off the misery of the people. It opens with lil’ Abe working on the dock when his friend Will, a black boy (later played by Anthony Mackie), is being beaten by a slave trader. Abe’s righteousness kicks in and screaming, he picks up an axe to defend his friend. Lincoln’s mother shields them both, saying, “Until everyone is free, we are all slaves.” Vampire slave trader Jack Barts (played by Marton Csokas) backs off, evilly licking his lips and later, creeps to the Lincoln home and bites the mother, killing her.
Abe matures into a revenge driven man and nearly kills Bart, but is overpowered by him and rescued at the last moment by Henry Sturges (a smooth Dominic Cooper). He trains Abe (now played by lanky Benjamin Walker) in the art of vampire hunting. Churning the silver-edged axe like a poi dancer, Lincoln learns to splinter whole trees in one mighty swing. Sturges teaches him that vampires secretly rule the South and slake their thirst on the necks of slaves.
It’s not a subtle film. Abe hacks off limbs in a shower of blood and slow motion fights as if he was trained by Morpheus from The Matrix . The film is a strange mash-up of American history, vampire lore, action genre’s John Woo dance like combat, interracial bromances like Lethal Weapon , and white savior movies such as A Time to Kill , Avatar and Glory. Finally, it adds the orphan’s revenge fantasy from Batman.