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.
The same person who defended Gettysburg was the same person who ridiculed Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Conspiracy for being “ridiculous”. That is a film which I defended, firstly because it is a children’s movie, and secondly, because the conspiracy was fictitious, and not pretending to be something more. That is why films such as the Burton spectacle above, and now a newly released, straight-to-DVD mock-up Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, do not really bother me. Do I have the intention of seeing these films? No, not really. Maybe I would rent them one day, but I surely would not go out of my way for them. These are films that are supposed to be there for people to go, “What the…!” and then move on and say, “Wow, how creative that was!” and nothing more. People may be surprised at my opinion on this, but hopefully you understand where I am coming from: 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.
In getting to this zombie film that involves our 16th president, in case anyone out there actually does want to see it, the film stars Bill Oberst Jr. as Lincoln, who people may remember from the History Channel special Sherman’s March, in which he played the titular role, back in 2007. I guess you could say that was his “big break”, because he has appeared in 70 (count ’em, 70) films since then, most with the same cheesy substance as this latest one. The film takes place after the Gettysburg Address, so if you scan the cast of characters, you may be surprised to find Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson as one, like I was. I said to myself, “I know this is not supposed to be accurate, but Jackson around after Gettysburg? They couldn’t even get that right?” It was then that I realized…Jackson is one of the zombies! One arm and all! (Pictured below wearing a uniform that could be purchased in any tourist-trap gift shop or Wild West town.)
While I remember, I also would like to recommend a type of these movies that I have actually seen. Yes, that’s right—yours truly who usually rips these kinds of things like there is no tomorrow actually had the presence of mind to Netflix one of them last year. It is titled, “The Washingtonians”, a 2007 episode from Masters of Horror, which runs about an hour and can be bought/rented on its own. It involves a man finding a painting of George Washington with a letter hidden in the frame, revealing some information that the Founding Fathers were actually bloodthirsty cannibals who liked to eat little children, and what’s worse, there are a group of people still keeping the dream alive in modern times. Only watch this if you really have nothing else to do…and happen to feel like seeing Washington and Jefferson gorging on human intestines. It’s a real feast for the eyes!