If BUFFY had been on the History Channel…

I’ll have a LUCY progress update tomorrow.  I didn’t get to work on it over the weekend because there was a ton of hockey stuff for V, as well as the latest in my culinary repertoire of making a roasted eggplant soup with goat cheese dumplings, which ate up (no pun intended) most of my Presidents’ Day afternoon.  Suffice to say, I was wiped by day’s end.  It also didn’t help that the soup had to cool off before you could eat it, which is why we had Thai food.

But I did manage to finish the book, then the script of ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, both by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the hit genre mash-up PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES.

I’ll start with the book. I’m a huge fan of US history, so I was looking forward to it.  K liked P&P&Z, but thought I would really enjoy this.  It starts out with an introduction told in first-person narrative, then shifts into a historical ‘record’.

It takes the concept of Lincoln having kept a journal of his vampire-hunting exploits, including how his mother was killed by one to pay a debt to a land-owner.  This is the trigger that sets up Abe’s lifetime goal: eliminate all vampires.  Clever.

It seems like Grahame-Smith started with Lincoln’s history and applied vampire elements where they would fit best, including his first love being killed by one, and the brilliant notion that vampires were the biggest supporters of slavery (and therefore the Confederacy as well).

It was a quick, easy read, and definitely would make for an entertaining movie.  I just had a few problems:

1. The cheesy-looking ‘photographs’.  Grahame-Smith even acknowledges a friend for her ‘Photoshop genius’.  I realize photography was in its infancy, but they just look silly.

2. The idea that John Wilkes Booth was a vampire himself.  Not bad, but doesn’t work for me.  I think it’s taking the vampire idea a little too far.

3.  A major character throughout the story is Henry Sturges, a vampire who helps Abe learn how to fight and defeat them (a self-imposed penance).  Henry is always offering Abe the chance to have someone he deeply loves be turned into a vampire; Abe always refuses. SPOILER ALERT!  The book ends in 1963, at Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech (in front of the Lincoln Memorial, of course), and Henry and Abe are there.  I didn’t like it.  It seems like a cop-out.

Personally, I think it would have been better to have Henry assisting other prominent figures as vampire hunters through history (Teddy Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis come to mind.  Admit it.  Elvis as a vampire hunter would absolutely kick ass.)

Now for the script, which was on last year’s Black List.  It takes almost the same approach.  It’s all told as history, but with a ton of Lincoln narrating in voiceover.  Maybe a little more than necessary.

It also does a bit of jumping around, chronologically, just to establish the Lincoln-vampire backstory/connection.  This is followed by some big sequences, including when Lincoln met Henry, Lincoln with Mary, and pretty much the latter half revolving around the Civil War.

What I found very interesting was that for the most part, the script started out very similarly to the book ( at least from a historical record point of view), then seemed to take a wild turn into flat-out action-adventure. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it came across as very in-your-face about it. “Hey, this is the exciting part, so pay attention!”

And since every story needs a bad guy, the idea of a ruling vampire is introduced.  I realize he’s the brains behind the vampire movement, but he doesn’t appear in that many scenes, so his role in the story isn’t as big as you would expect.

After the big showdown, it really speeds through to the end.  There’s only one scene regarding the assassination at Ford’s Theatre, and even that’s barely half a page, then it jumps ahead to 1965, with Henry and Lincoln side-by-side in Washington DC.  Again, I didn’t care for it.

It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made before this hits the big screen, which it appears it’s going to.

Tentatively scheduled for a June 2012 release, directed by NIGHTWATCH, DAYWATCH and WANTED’s Timur Bekmambetov, with Benjamin Walker as Abe.  I suspect this will be more popular on Netflix than in theatres.

I once again suggest that if this can be made into a feature film, then why not my idea of THE 3 STOOGES: UNDERCOVER G-MEN?

Movie of the Moment:  V’s afterschool is doing several dance numbers (none of which she’s involved in), including a Wizard of Oz storyline, which includes ‘Ease on Down the Road,” so we watched THE WIZ.

It was okay, but probably would have better to see the full-on Broadway version.

And you don’t know what difficult is until you try explaining 70’s black culture to a 21st-century child.

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