Tag Archives: history

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith A Novel Review

11 Jun

Four score and a few months ago, while awaiting the showing of The Hunger Games–I discovered what film I wanted next to see. While my girlfriends gawked excitedly at the preview for Titanic in 3D (and I grimaced, recognizing my old foe that caused my still deeply ingrained fear of sailing…) I found myself instead in awe of the trailer that followed it: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. I felt my nerdiness rise to the surface to gasp asthmatically. No, that, was a movie worth seeing. Something old–made new. Not just with 3D slapped into it! An entirely unique concept.

It was later to my great joy that I was told that this movie that looked both absurd and would feed my inner nerd, was also a book. So that’s when I found myself tumbling toward the book store, eager to get my hands on a copy. It did not disappoint.

Created by the author who is known for, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this dark fact-ion kept my pouring through the pages. I couldn’t put it down. Which was a pleasant surprise.

When I started reading the novel, I at first worried that it would be too factual to be interesting–but I was so wrong. This novel’s beauty lies in its well-researched narration of the life of one of our nation’s most infamous presidents, Abe Lincoln. What feels like common knowledge about this man: that he started off in a poor family, that his life was riddled with loss and passion, and that he stood as a symbol of freedom for all men regardless of color is painted in a close, very personal way that makes (a usually dull subject for me) history interesting.Where do the vampires come in–you ask? Well, where it makes sense of course.

Abe and our readers are introduced to the concept of those blood-sucking demons, vampires, from the very beginning. As history tells, a strange unidentified illness takes Abe’s mother from him when he is very young. Grahame-Smith is clever enough to take advantage of the plot holes that history has left him, and plugged in the only “logical” answer–vampires. A vampire gives Abe’s mother a “fool’s dose” of vampire blood, killing her painfully as vengeance for his father’s unpaid debt. Abe never seems able to forgive his father for this. Nor vampires of course. And thus begins our story.

The reader is guided through Abe’s difficult life in a very factual way, making some of the fiction difficult to separate from the fact. (Sometimes it’s not–and it’s just plain hilarious.) We encounter Abe’s view of Slavery throughout his life (and mind you, he is never fond of it.) But upon discovering that the slave trade is literally feeding the vampire population, Abe’s resolve to end slavery (and by extension vampires) is solidified.

I absolutely recommend picking this up if you like fact-ion. (And non sparkly-vampires.)

Look forward to seeing my review of the movie which premiers June 22nd!

“I must endure. I must be more than I am. I must not fail. I must not fail her.”

Advertisements

Dinner and a Who-vie

21 Jan

Work this week was filled with the usual monotony and the occasional marijuana-filled rants of Rainbow Dash in his cubicle behind me. After a trip to Jamaica on his honey moon several years ago, he and his wife have been returning there every year. As someone who never spent time killing my brain cells that way–it can get a little uncomfortable. Yet somehow, it always manages to make me laugh. I mean, he’s old enough to be my father and still talks about his involvement in two separate rock bands, and having the munchies. He’s the king in his own mind. Good for him–I suppose I can’t help but admire that sort of self confidence. (Though not necessarily the way in which he earns it. haha)

 

I had intended to write yesterday, but it turned out to be a much more adventure packed evening than I had origionally anticipated. My boyfriend and I had already planned yesterday to be a outing for the two of us, and then we were both invited to a group of old friend’s house in Ashmont. There are three of them living there together and it seems like a fairly nice place. Nicely sized, clean and open. It is a place packed with possibilities. It makes me jealous in some ways. Anyway, we could only stay for about an hour as we didn’t want to miss the show we planned to see that night. We played Pictionary, chatted and caught up, and agreed to meet again next weekend before trekking back to the train.

The plan we had laid out for last night had included a trip to a place called Charlie’s Kitchen in Cambridge; but the thing about plans is–they never really go off as they were supposed to. Due to bitterly cold weather, and a general lack of knowledge of the Harvard Square area, we ended up eating in your standard Bertucchi’s instead. As this is a chain restaurant, and all of them are exactly the same–I didn’t find my inspiration in their food. (Although, I must admit their Chocolate Budino, was heavenly. A creamy, rich chocolate mousse in a tiny v-shaped cup. ) Though I was disappointed that we didn’t reach the restaurant I had hoped for–I was not disappointed for long.

The key to our evening last night, and the highlight, ended up being what I thought I would enjoy the least. My boyfriend has been a huge fan of a British Television show called, Dr Who, ever since he was small. As of recently, this show has become increasingly popular here in America among children and adults of all ages. I personally, am not very into the show. The premise: A man from outerspace (a humanoid alien called a TimeLord) traveling with a companion (usually a human woman, or I am told a useless robotic dog) in a spaceship that is called the Tardis. The Tardis looks like a british policebox on the outside, but the inside is apparently in a different dimension (just go with it) and is easily the size of a house. This police box apparently can hop through time with the alien or as he calls himself,
“The Doctor”, where he fixes or sometimes messes with time and ultimately saves the day.  And oh yes, the most important part–if The Doctor finds himself in trouble and dies–he doesn’t actually die. Instead something that is known as “regeneration” occurs, in which The Doctor becomes a completely different person.

 

Last night, as he and I stood in the cold outside of the Brattle theater, I was made distinctly aware of the extent of the love Dr Who fans have for the series. Shivering and chatting excitably, clumps of adults and kids alike bore various signs of the love for the show. I saw kids in red Fez hats and bow ties(who mimics the 11th Doctor. I couldn’t believe there had been that many!), a woman in a long coat, a tie, men’s pants and converse sneakers (Who I am told resembles the 10th Doctor. ) and multiple people bearing the same ultra long, multi-colored scarf of the 4th Doctor. The reason they were all braving the cold dark night in January? Dr Who. I am told that yesterday was the birthday of the actor who played the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker. (Which ultimately explained why the theater aired three of his old episodes last night.)

The Brattle Theater is located n 40 Brattle Street in Cambridge. If you aren’t looking for it–you probably won’t find it. Attached to Brattle Hall and a restaurant called Casablanca; The Brattle Theater is tiny and a line full of Who Fans stretched from the crowded lobby all the way to the steps that lead you down to the entrance past Brattle Hall. According to their website, the Brattle theater is also, fairly old. Origionally bought by the CSU in 1889 for a free reading room and other social activities, the Brattle Theater didn’t become a movie theater until 1953. For years it housed drama clubs, speakers and stage performances and has a rich cultural history behind it. Even before reading up on the history, you feel very much aware of it upon entering.

The lobby of the Brattle Theater is as I had said, tiny; not being much larger than your standard walk in closet these days.You pay for your tickets the same way people in the 50’s would have–outside of the theater. (And only $7 a person!)  Upon entering to your left you are greeting by the staff and the smell of freshly popped popcorn. Not only does the Brattle boast its own freshly popped non-greasy popcorn, but also the ability to sell alcohol to its patrons. (Which I felt was an added bonus.) To the left are the stairs which lead you up and around the corner to the seating. The stairs are narrow and carpeted, and upon reaching the top, a staff member is waiting to tear your ticket stub and welcome you. I did not expect to be in an old playhouse upon arrival. It is dusty and painted a drab grey-blue color that I don’t have a particular name for. Old stage lights hang coated with a layer of grime from years of disuse, but still point to the small, high ceiling stage in the front and center of the room. Where the lobby lacked space–the theater did not. The room is wide (though not necessarily up to par of todays’ standards for a playhouse) with metal and fabric, standard movie theater seats in three sections across the floor. Above, there is more, similar seating on the balcony. (Which the younger patrons immediately claimed and began unwinding their long Doctor scarves to touch the patrons below.) The floors show proof of having once been beautiful, a sheen of polished wood glows from the less traveled parts of the floor, but is muddy and scuffed beyond repair where past visitors have over and over again trod their feet.  The stage itself is set back, and now boasts a projector screen, rather than what we are used to in a movie theater, that makes no attempt to fill the entire stage space. The arch around the stage is painted with a bold clean-looking stripe of red that seems oddly new and out of place among the somewhat unloved-looking walls. To the left of the stage, a large 50’s diner style clock, lit softly in neon purple from within shows the time. The effect of the theater all together might have some cringing and displeased–but not me. This theater charmed me with its quiet stoic pride of age, and its old-fashioned arrangement. There is a certain sense of stubbornness that the building gives off that I appreciate. A building that withstood multiple owners and re-purposing along with time, it is the sort of place I wish we had more of.Even the bathrooms made me smile. Instead of wallpaper, the walls are layered with old movie posters which have peeled off in some places, adding to the charm. (The restrooms by the way, are inside the theater  to the far right, rather than  in the lobby. Which was a relief after not finding them downstairs.)

I must warn you though–the Brattle Theater is not for just any movie lover. Do not go to the Brattle theater expecting any newer movies to be showing, because they only show old movies. That’s right–old–just like the building. (Hence the cheaper prices) The Brattle shows old movies, foreign films and even helps local students premier their films. If you’re looking for a very Vintage night out in Cambridge, head to the Brattle Theater and maybe catch a classic creature double feature for only $12 a person. Personally, I am considering returning to the Brattle Theater again soon. According to their film schedule, The Princess Bride airs next month, along with a classic Bugs Bunny Cartoon marathon.  Not only is it cheap and pleasant, but any money paid to this place helps to keep it running as they are a non-profit organization.

Help support the Brattle Theater by checking out their old flicks! And check out their website to find out what they’ll be playing next.

http://brattlefilm.org/