Monday, February 18, 2013

The White House Runs Red : 12 Representations Of American Presidents, In American Horror!


The great thing about horror movies is that there is pretty much one for every holiday of the year.  Whether we're dealing with killer bunnies, pumpkins, turkeys or Santas, there's always at least a little something something to help inject ample amounts of blood and guts into the holidays.  And the smaller holidays, like Presidents Day, are no exception.

Though we've yet to see a horror movie that actually takes place on P-Day (don't worry, it's coming real soon...more on that in a minute!!), there have been a handful over the years that have combined iconic American presidents with the red stuff.

Today being Presidents Day and all, let's take a quick journey through the world of presidential horrors, shall we?  Any one of these would make for fine viewing, on a night like tonight!


I'm willing to bet that most people reading this have never seen, or even heard of, the 1985 slasher flick Horror House On Highway 5.  Nevertheless, it is (as far as I'm aware), the very first film to mash together the vastly different worlds of presidents and horror.  In the film, a group of college students are stalked by a mad father and his two whacky sons (one infested with brain parasites, the other a necrophiliac), and the father rocks a Richard Nixon mask, which he jacks from one of his victims.  In the credits, the father is listed as 'Richard Nixon', and the role humorously credited to 'Ronald Reagan'!


Two years later came Blood Diner, a totally oddball horror flick about two brothers who are instructed by their deceased serial killer uncle to slaughter young girls, and steal their body parts as part of a sacrifice to bring back an ancient goddess.  How does this madness relate to presidents?  Well, in one scene early in the film, the brothers don Ronald Reagan masks, and come in guns blazing on a room filled with topless cheerleaders, who they proceed to riddle with bullets.  Gotta love it!


In 1990, Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout was released onto VHS, a workout tape hosted by the iconic scream queen, which included several horror themed skits.  In one of the skits, a group of young girls are stalked and bumped off one by one by a dude rocking shoulder pads and, like the killers in Blood Diner, a Ronald Reagan mask.  Actually, it's not really a dude.  The killer turns out to be Quigley herself!  #spoileralert

Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout has yet to be released onto DVD, but I hear it's on its way!


2002's utterly brilliant Bubba Ho-Tep took the idea of infusing a president into a horror film to a far whackier level than ever seen before.  In fact, it's the first to actually depict an American president in it, rather than a killer merely wearing a mask of a president.  Well...maybe...

Set in an old folks home, Bubba Ho-Tep is about two senior citizens that are tasked with fending off an asshole sucking mummy, who is hell bent on consuming the souls of everyone in the place; one who claims to be Elvis, and looks the part, and the other who claims to be John F. Kennedy, who doesn't quite look the part.  In fact, he's a black dude.  His explanation?  He survived the assassination attempt that we've all seen footage of, and had his skin dyed black by Lyndon B. Johnson, so that everyone would think he was dead, and LBJ could become president.  Now there's a conspiracy theory for ya!

Whether or not these two old folks are just senile and out of their minds, or one or both of them is actually the dead American icon they claim to be, is entirely up to the viewer.  Personally, I like to believe that it truly was Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy that saved the Shady Rest Nursing Home from the Egyptian ass sucking cowboy.  It's just more fun that way.


David Arquette stepped into the director's chair in 2006, for the throwback slasher film The Tripper, about a killer in a Ronald Reagan mask, slashing up hippies in the woods.  The title was derived from Reagan's nickname, 'The Gipper', and the concept inspired by Reagan's outspoken stance against the hippie movement.  Certainly one of the more clever concepts for a slasher film in recent years, even if Linnea Quigley beat Arquette to the punch on the whole slasher villain wearing a Reagan mask thing, nearly two decades prior!


Director Peter Medak's (The Changeling) season two episode of Masters of Horror takes the twisted liberty of depicting our first president, George Washington, as a cannibal.  Titled The Washingtonians, the 2007 episode begins with a man finding a letter behind a portrait of Washington, in his deceased grandmother's house, which is signed 'G.W' and talks of eating children and turning their bones into tools.  The discovery sets forth a series of horrific events, as the man and his family are stalked by a group that calls themselves The Washingtonians, cannibals who are dressed in George Washington wigs and Revolutionary War attire.  They eventually reveal that Washington himself was a cannibal, and that he planned on converting the whole country to flesh eaters.

Speaking of taking serious liberties with American history...


The most well known presidential horror film is of course last year's big budget adaptation of the book Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter, a Tim Burton produced tale of Abraham Lincoln's top secret second life, as a vampire slayer.  Story goes that Lincoln's mom was killed by a vampire, and so he sets out on a life long pursuit to bring an end to all blood suckers.  In the meantime, he becomes president, hopeful that he can wield his political power, rather than an axe, to abolish slavery and defeat the Confederates and the vampires, who we realize are in bed with one another.  Ultimately, he's forced to utilize his vampire hunting skills to get the job done, in this wild re-telling of American history that's as entertaining as it is batshit crazy.  If history were taught this way back in high school, I probably would've paid more attention!


As they often do with big Hollywood movies, production company The Asylum released this 'mockbuster' of Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter, one month prior to its theatrical release.  In their version, it is zombies that Honest Abe does battle with, zombies who killed his mother when he was a child.  Sound familiar?  Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies goes through pretty much the same motions as Abe vs vamps, though of course, in a far less entertaining or enjoyable fashion.  In the end, Abe becomes a zombie, and is shortly thereafter assassinated.


I've yet to see Dear God No!, the grindhouse style exploitation throwback flick that everyone has been raving about, but from what I understand it's a totally over the top blood soaked tale about killer bikers, who end up getting picked off one by one by Sasquatch.  I don't know how they fit into all this, but the movie also features gun toting topless chicks in Richard Nixon masks, the iconic long nosed ones that were often worn by people who didn't agree with Nixon's politics, during his presidency.  The same style mask was also worn in the aforementioned Horror House On Highway 5!

Sasquatch and naked chicks in Nixon masks ... can somebody explain to me why I haven't seen this movie yet?!


With Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter beginning the trend of presidents moonlighting as monster hunters, it was only natural that other presidents would soon follow suit.  And it didn't take long.  At the tail end of last year, Screen Media Films released FDR : American Badass, which pit Franklin Delano Roosevelt against werewolves .... Nazi werewolves, to be exact.

Playing our 32nd president in this over the top romp is Barry Bostwick, and the plot sees FDR contracting polio from a werewolf bite, which confines him to a wheelchair.  From there, he goes on a full on war path against the werewolves, joining up with other historical figures along the way, and outfitting his trusty wheelchair with heavy artillery.

If you haven't seen the hilarious trailer, you should probably remedy that!


It's not a movie, but season 5 of True Blood introduced a group of characters referred to as "The Obamas", who wear Barack Obama masks and aim to kill any and all supernatural beings, be they werewolves, vampires or shape shifters.  The use of Obama's likeness proved to be quite controversial, and got a whole lot of panties in a whole lot of wads.

If you're asking me, it should've been Barackula masks they were rocking, rather than the standard Obama masks!


Presidents Day is finally given its very own horror movie this coming April, courtesy of filmmaker Chris Lamartina.  The low budget film, which shares a name with today's holiday, is set at the fictional school Lincoln High, during class president election season.  The campaigns turn into a body count, when a killer dressed like Abe Lincoln starts carving his way through the teenage politicians.

President's Day hits DVD April 9th.  Check out the trailer, and pre-order it over on Amazon!

By the way, if you're wondering if the toy pictured at the top of this post is real, I'm happy to report it is.  Lincolnstein is part of the Presidential Monsters line of toys, which features the likes of Zom-Bush, The Phantom of the White House & Monster from the Watergate Lagoon.  You can order them all over at Heroes In Action Toys!

Happy Presidents Day, y'all!!


sepsisvideogrind said...

If you're counting president masks, you left off Blood Diner's awesome nude aerobics mass shooting. Also Linnea Quigley dons a Reagan mask in Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout. I made a killer Ronald Reagan themed music video in college.

Johnny said...

Thank you, I knew I'd miss some. Gonna update the post when I get home from work! =)

Alex said...

Glad to see a shout out to Chris LaMartina's President's Day. Fun, low budget, throwback slasher.