Much to my great disappointment, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a thoroughly socialist film, even more so than the book was. Harnessing any anti-capitalist resentment, the film seeks to make the audience identify with slaves and identify our employers with vampires. What the film does and does not do are very important in this election year, so let's carefully examine the basis of the socialist vocabulary and how they are re-writing American history to make their point. First, how do we know this is a socialist/anti-capitalist film?
To begin with, the very first vampire we see (and we know he is because it's decades before the Civil War and this man wears dark sunglasses so they are out of place for the time period) is beating a young black slave Will (Anthony Mackie) who will become Abraham Lincoln's (Benjamin Walker) main assistant in bringing down vampires and we are to see President Obama in Will Johnson's person. The first vampire is a slave holder and it's this relationship of "oppression" and "freedom" which the entire film depends and basis its interpretation of history upon.
October Revolution that transformed Russia into the Soviet Union, rather than the French Revolution which did away with the upper class.
The fourth and last reason I am going to discuss about identifying the film as anti-capitalist and pro-socialist is Adam (Rufus Sewell), the vampire from whom all the others were made. No, he doesn't refer to that Adam of the Garden of Eden, although the film attempts to lay a Christian foundation we will discuss more below, rather, Adam the vampire is really, . . . Adam Smith author of The Wealth Of Nations, the classic economics textbook which lays out the foundations of successful free markets and capitalism and makes the case that these two elements are more beneficial for societies and individuals. "Adam, from whom all others come," as Henry says, is Adam Smith who created all other capitalists, specifically in America.
The road Henry and his wife were on is the road of destiny, the "path of life." Henry symbolizes early Americans and his wife symbolizes early America (just as immigrants came to America to a new life, a woman's body gives "new life" because she can give birth). The carriage "stopping" is the engine of the economy and the vehicle of what makes the country "run" (as in work and produce). She says that just because the carriage has stopped doesn't mean that we have to, and that is a reference to us today, that the economy has stopped but she wants to continue on with capitalism (please remember a similar instance in the socialist film The Descendants when Elizabeth is in a coma because she "stopped" so the country has to switch from a capitalist system to a socialist one, because capitalism doesn't work anymore; the film reasons, although it's not reason to me). The vampires coming are capitalists, and turning Henry into a capitalist (i.e., a vampire) is turning the population of America into capitalists.
Let's take a minute to examine Vadoma. As the beautiful sister of Adam, she symbolizes glamor because she is a dead woman that cannot give life (like Henry's wife or Mary Todd). In the scene pictured just above, she is using a cloak or cape with which to "blind" Abraham so he can't see her and she can defeat him; according to socialists, and I agree with this to a degree, the glamor of material wealth is deadly, it can kill people and that's why Vadoma is the one who kills Abraham's son, little Willie: Willie, even at his tender young age, according to the film, has been "bitten" by the luxury of life in the White House and so he's all ready dead. In the scene taking place above, Vadoma uses her skills to try and blind Abraham but he won't be blinded by wealth and fancy living. Vadoma wears purple, the color traditionally associated with a harlot or whore because purple was the most expensive dye for clothing to produce and only the very, very rich could afford it, suggesting that they had prostituted themselves to worldly living to have luxury goods.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments, tells us that we have to be interested in the welfare of others or our self-interests won't prosper. In other words, if Joshua was really a good capitalist, instead of a lazy, mediocre one, he would be interested in Will's predicament and that would actually benefit Joshua just as letting Abraham room with him is to Joshua's benefit. If we were better capitalists, in still other words, then socialists, like vampires, wouldn't be able to show their face in the light of day because there would be no one to listen to their complaints; it's because we have been such bad capitalists that we are now at risk for becoming socialists and the answer to our problems, ironically, is to more fully embrace capitalism the way it was meant to be practiced (as is evidenced by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in The Avengers.
|This post builds on an earlier post reviewing the book upon which the film is based, What Is 'Freedom?': Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter and I see the film as being even more socialist than the book. I am so deeply disappointed, there was so much hope that this could have been a great film that my heart is really broken. If I lapse into angry observations, please forgive me, but this is a particularly emotional review for me to have to do and I hope I never have to do a similar one. As stated in the book review, I am completely willing to suspend my disbelief about vampires--they are an important artistic tool and I have given great attention to them on this blog, beginning with an interpretation of Bram Stoker's novel, For the Dead Travel Fast: Dracula and how very important they have been to expressing social ills.|
|This shot depicts the moment when Adam kills Henry's wife and then turns Henry into a vampire. Please note the road behind him and the carriage on the side of the road as these are the important symbols to understanding the "socialist interpretation" of American history. This is an important scene because Adam tells Henry what it means to be a vampire and specifically thet silver destroys a vampire because Judas received 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus to the Jews. Christians have a very definite theology in understanding that "transaction," specifically going back to the Old Testament and Joseph being sold by his brothers for 20 pieces of silver. But more importantly--and validating the referece to Adam as Adam Smith--is the reference to another economic theory being "fed" to the audience in this scene: The Judas Economy: The Triumph Of Capital & the Betrayal of Work by William Wolman and Anne Colamosca. Wolman is the chief economist for Business Week.|
|This is the abandoned Atlanta plantation in which Adam and his sister Vadoma. First, they are at the bottom of the staircase, and a staircase always symbolizes an ability to "rise to a higher level" and that is meant in terms of spiritual contemplation and self-reflection. That Adam and Vadoma sit at the bottom of the stairs shows they are intent at remaining "at the bottom," that is, the region of the appetites, not the region of greater thought and virtue. What Vadoma symbolizes will be discussed below, but what her name means is very interesting and a real slap to capitalists. Vadoma refers to a tribe in Zimbabwe in Africa, and they have a particular defect in their gene pool resulting in "claw feet" because of deformity of the toes. Interestingly, this makes it easier for those with the clawed feet to climb trees; how does this fit in? The climbing of the social ladder that capitalism symbolizes and makes desirable.|
|Vadoma using her cape as a weapon because she's going to try and "blind" Abraham with luxury and wealthy living as she will later kill Abraham's son with the bite of living in the White House.|