I just saw the video clip below pop up in my Facebook news feed, so I thought I would give it a watch. The footage is of Bill Oberst Jr. reciting the famous “Gettysburg Address” as Abraham Lincoln. His accent and mannerisms are perfect, and his reading is flawless (the background music also adds to the flow). One would think this was taken from a historical epic, right? But what if I told you it was actually lifted from Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies? You’re probably incredulous at that prospect, but I just wanted to share this with you because I thought it was a great clip. The film may have a preposterous subplot, much like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but I guess it shows after all, that intertwined with a fantasy or horror story, there can be something good and educational located within. This is a clip I would have no problem showing to a history class, when teaching about the event and needing something to illustrate it. Perhaps I would not tell the name of the film to my students, to spare myself a classroom full of laughter and intrigue immediately before a serious subject, but I would still show it nonetheless. I was very impressed! Please enjoy:
Most interviews are planned long in advance of when they are published, few are not. Normally, it’s the spontaneous ones that make for a more interesting back story, and this one here with Emmy-nominated actor Bill Oberst Jr. certainly fits the bill. A few days ago, I wrote an article giving my thoughts on when history gets turned into horror movies, given the highly anticipated Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and a newly released mock-up of that, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies. It just so happens that Bill, who played Lincoln in the latter, read my article and told me that he enjoyed it. He also agreed with my statement of, “If you are going to mess with history, do it in a light that cannot be taken seriously; do not mask it in the form of a documentary or feature film and insult our intelligence.” He also added that it is not often he gets to step out of character, because he is so associated with horror movies, given the amount of them he has appeared in. As for all his work, he has eclipsed 70 films in total, all in the last five years, including nearly 20 that are in pre- or post-production even as we speak. I figured that if Bill could come out of character for a comment, maybe he would be willing to do an interview, so I asked him and he agreed, all this happening in the space of about an hour, due to a break in his busy shooting schedule.
What is this fascination that the B-movie industry, and now, Hollywood, has with turning our historical figures into jokes? Personally, I guess you could say I do not really mind the fact that Tim Burton is producing a film titled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, because it is an obvious horror movie and something that will obviously not be taken seriously. In case you did not know, a little war erupted on this blog in the comment section for one of the articles I had written a few weeks ago, discussing the topic of whether or not historically inaccurate movies are still good for increasing interest about the Civil War and other history, because even if the facts are not straight, it still might spark interest and prompt the viewer to look further, where they will then find the truth. While I completely disagree with this, there were a few members who felt the opposite, and an example was made of Gettysburg, by the Scott Brothers. My disagreement lies in the sense that people watch a documentary like that for information, and there should be no license taken, because although it is supposed to be entertaining, the gist behind a fact-based production should be, well, the facts. If the Scott Brothers had produced a made-for-TV movie ala Hatfields and McCoys, then by all means, give General Barksdale some rockin’ Elvis Presley sideburns and show Joe Davis as the only Confederate general to take part in Pickett’s Charge. At least now we could understand it better.