Photo: Stephen Vaughan / 20th Century Fox
Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln who moonlights as a vampire hunter in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
Vampires and zombies will be forever pitted against one another. Between HBO’s “True Blood” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” this summer’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and next year’s Brad Pitt-vehicle “World War Z,” the dichotomy is only becoming clearer.
In the Tim Burton-produced film, Honest Abe is reimagined as a nighttime vampire hunter, taking down blood-sucking evildoers. He’s the country’s finest leader during the day and the nation’s greatest assassin come nightfall.
Yet Lincoln himself may fall into the category of "vampire."
Like the blood-sucking creatures, he’s smart and charismatic, debonair and independent. He leads with adroit aplomb and destroys evil beings with sexy smoothness -- his well-worn top hat earns him fashion points while the axe he so gracefully wields creates macabre destruction that’s pleasing to the aesthetically-discriminating eye.
If Lincoln were a zombie, he wouldn’t be able to create the beautiful chaos that Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the book on which the film is based, claims he brought about. He would be a myopic plodder, seeing blurry visions of incoming assailants, unable to retaliate with cunning or with any thought at all.
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" comes out June 22nd.
This is not to underestimate the zombies of our society. While our presidents and philanthropists are more vampire than zombie, the world's movers and shakers are often groups with a common mission: take Occupy Wall Street, for example, or that group of angry moms who want yet another stop sign in the neighborhood. These "zombies" achieve their missions in large groups, taking down mere individuals who stand in their way.
In Marc Forster’s upcoming movie “World War Z,” the task of stopping a zombie pandemic falls to Gerry Lane, a United Nations worker played by Brad Pitt. While the movie has been having its fair share of budget-related troubles as of late, a zombie apocalypse could spell out even greater trouble. Zombies, with their undead arms extended, wreak havoc en masse, easily collecting a nearly unstoppable group hell-bent on mindless destruction -- a feat that eludes the self-absorbed, hedonistic vampires.
Lincoln may be a vampire but perhaps the real power lies in the masses -- groups that have a common goal, a common faith or a common enemy.
Director of “Quantum of Solace,” Forster takes on this zombie idea from Max Brooks’ novel of the same name with a sense of seriousness, telling the Los Angeles Times that the film has “the grounded, gun metal realism of, say, Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’.” In fact, “World War Z” achieved such a serious realism that the Hungarian Anti-Terrorism Unit raided a warehouse that housed the film’s prop weapons during shooting in Budapest, thinking they were smuggled weapons.
Clearly, zombies are serious business. So who would come out on top if zombies and vampires faced off?
Initially, zombies would seem to be at a great disadvantage. Their lumbering, soulless bodies are often too slow and their lack of intelligence or rational thought makes them prone to falling for tricks and cleverness. However, while vampires are fast, seductive and smart, their egos can easily be exploited. They are obsessed with their own desires, putting their wants above any sense of morals or principle goodness; they're easily corrupted and unable to control themselves.
Indeed, it’s extremely difficult to pick a winner between the two (but that hasn't stopped some from trying). “World War Z” has an A-list actor and a budget nearly twice that of “Vampire Hunter,” but that doesn’t mean “Vampire Hunter” won’t be able to better market its witty concept to outdo “World War Z” at the box office.
Who, then, is superior? Heroic individuals like Lincoln? Or the inspired masses?
That's for you to decide, but both films hold the vampire characteristics of sleek, seductive and funny. They'll just need to channel their inner zombie if they want to attract the necessary hordes of excited theatergoers.
"Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" opens June 22. "World War Z" was recently postponed until 2013.
Who do you think has the upper hand: vampires or zombies? Will you see "Vampire Hunter" and/or "World War Z"? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.