Alternative histories/Monstrous pasts

So, I’ve just seen the new trailer for Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter. Firstly, I had no idea that Tim Burton was involved. Which I should have guessed really, but he’s already involved in another vamp project this year, Dark Shadows, so one assumed….anyway. The other thing the trailer (and the whole film) made me think about was why there is the current trend to take historical figures, or classic texts, and add an ‘edge’ to them by adding monsters. This suggests several things:

1. The historicity of the texts and figures adds an authenticity of sorts to the monster tales.

2. Monsters are still capable of adding something ‘interesting’ to the mix.

3. We’re running out of new ways to present monsters in texts (particularly vampires) so we’re recreating past histories, but in a more monstrous way. So, history isn’t gory or gruesome enough as it is – add some vampires, and you have a story worth telling to the audiences of today.

I’ve seen many others: Android Karenina, Jane Slayer, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies….there’s quite a list. Another vampire series that sees an alternative history is Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula which adds a bloody twist to all the usual historic events. With all these remakes and retellings of past events, it seems like we need a new way of looking at monsters….

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2 thoughts on “Alternative histories/Monstrous pasts

  1. I think that of your three points, the third one is probably the one that rings most true. Which is kind of sad to some degree.

    Although it will be interesting to see how the world would react to a movie about Jesus and monsters.

  2. Not sure if I’ve ever suggested/proffered/forced you at gunpoint to read Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series – perhaps the best and best-known alternative history of the world. With Mina Harker as the lead, no less. The monsters are from fiction, the heroes are from fiction, and our history is told through these dabblings in fiction. It’s also a colossal game of spot-the-reference, which is fun.

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