Starved, sexually abused, kept in basement: Teen's horror revealed

Mike Vega shows the site where he found the teenage girl

It's a case that has the nation asking: How could this happen?

Police say a 15-year-old girl was kept for years in a Madison, Wis., basement, beaten and starved by a father and stepmother who often forced her to eat her own feces and drink her own urine. And, they say, her stepbrother had been sexually abusing her in the cellar since she was just 10  years old.

Moreover, it appears that child protective services had repeatedly been called to the home or otherwise alerted to something amiss.

On Thursday, the girl's father, Chad C. Chritton, 40, and stepmother, Melinda J. Drabek-Chritton, 42, were charged with reckless endangerment, child abuse and child neglect, according to the Madison State Journal. The girl's stepbrother, Joshua P. Drabek, 18, was charged with sexual assault and child abuse, the newspaper reported.

The girl, whose name is not being released, is in protective custody. Two other children have  been removed from the home, although there were no immediate reports on their condition.

The girl, who escaped this month, told law enforcement authorities that she had been virtually trapped in the unfinished basement. Video equipment was trained on the cellar door, and it was rigged with an alarm that would go off if it opened, according to a police affidavit obtained by the Associated Press. The girl said that if she was caught eating without permission, she would have to throw out -- or throw up -- the food as punishment.

On Feb. 6, the day she escaped, she had been let out of the basement by her stepmother so she could clean up some papers. When the girl did not do so quickly enough, the stepmother threatened to cut her throat and throw her back in the basement. Fearful of what would happen next, the girl said, she escaped out a window, according to

The 15-year-old was wandering the streets of Madison, barefoot and in her pajamas, when she was spotted by motorist Mike Vega, above. He stopped the car. Instinctively, he knew something was terribly, terribly wrong. She was so slight -- authorities later said she weighed about 70 pounds --  that he initially took her for an 8-year-old. The girl was bleeding from a gash on her face.

Vega called police.

"It was the most shocking thing I have ever seen," he told "I've never seen anybody look like that."

But the horror of what had happened to the girl was only just beginning to reveal itself.

A neighbor next door and another across the street each said they had called child protective services after catching a glimpse of the rarely seen girl -- and suspecting something was wrong. One of the neighbors, Mark Stuntebeck, said he made the call after watching the girl take out the garbage and then scavenge through it for food.

"She seemed to be hiding and munching on crumbs or remnants of something," he told the Wisconsin State Journal.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Mike Vega points to the site in Madison, Wis., where he found a starving 15-year-old wandering the streets in her bare feet. Credit: Todd Richmond/Associated Press

Facing outrage, Josh Powell's family gives up on burial near sons

Josh Powell's family has abandoned the plan to bury him in the same Washington state cemetery as the two young sons he killed in a gas-fueled explosion almost two weeks ago.

Kirk Graves, the brother-in-law of Josh Powell, told the Associated Press that the family had been divided over the plan and ultimately succeeded in convincing Powell's mother, Terrica, to reverse course.

"We felt very strongly that it wasn't appropriate to put him anywhere near the boys, and we did our best over the last 48 hours to convince her to do something different," he told the news service. "It wasn't that hard to convince her -- she just got started off on the wrong path."

Terrica Powell later released the following statement to the media:

"We have tried so hard to be loving and considerate and respectful in making Josh’s burial arrangements," Terrica Powell wrote in the statement posted by the Salt Lake City Tribune. "We love our little Charlie and Braden and want their resting place to be a place of peace and comfort.

"We have made the determination that Josh will not be buried at Woodbine Cemetery, but are in the process of making other arrangements.

"Thank you to all who have so lovingly supported us in this time of inexpressible anguish. Our hearts go out to all of you who -- like us -- are reeling with shock and grief."

An uproar had followed the revelation that Powell's family was trying to buy a cemetery plot that would allow him to be buried near sons Charles, 7, and Braden, 5. The city of Puyallup put any such purchase on hold after the maternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, said they would take legal action to keep that from happening.

Then, Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping law enforcement fight crime, purchased the plotsaround the single grave shared by Charles and Braden Powell. Until Terrica Powell's announcement Thursday, it still remained a possibility that the family would try to bury Powell someplace else inside the cemetery.

Even if Powell's family managed to purchase the plot, his grave would not see any peace: Threats of vandalism and worse were already being rumored amid the outraged public. Still to be determined, however, is where Josh Powell will ultimately be laid to rest.

Powell remains the chief person of interest in the disappearance of Susan Powell, who vanished under mysterious circumstances back in December 2009, when the family was still living in Utah.

After his wife's disappearance, Powell took the kids and moved in with his father, Steve, in Washington state. Steve Powell was later arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and voyeurism, which led the state to hand over custody of the boys to the Coxes. Josh Powell had been fighting ever since to regain custody but had recently been told he first had to submit to a psychosexual evaluation and a polygraph after authorities said they had discovered "incestuous" porn on his computer.

This dire legal scenario provided the backdrop for what happened next, some say: Powell took an axe to the children and then triggered an explosion that killed them all on Feb. 5.


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Photo: The gravesite of Charles and Braden Powell is shown still covered by a cemetery canopy as of Wednesday at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup, Wash. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Bury Josh Powell near sons? 'Unthinkable,' family attorney says

Josh Powell's family members want him buried in a Washington state cemetery just a few strides  from his two sons, the same boys that he chopped with an ax before killing them and himself in a fiery explosion more than a week ago.

But an attorney for the boys' maternal grandparents says she will stop at nothing to ensure that the plan isn't carried out.

"For him to be buried near those kids is just unthinkable," Seattle attorney Anne Bremner told the Associated Press. She represents the boys' maternal grandparents, Charles and Judy Cox. Adding to the outrage, of course, is that the Coxes' daughter, Susan Powell, disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 2009, with Josh Powell being the chief person of interest.

"For God's sake, for them to lose Susan first, and then the boys, and now this? Just give these people a break," Bremner told the news service.

Powell's relatives selected a plot at Woodbine Cemetery that's  about 25 feet from the plot where Charles, 7, and Braden, 5, were laid to rest Saturday. Their funeral was attended by more than 1,000 people.

Puyallup City Manager Ralph Dannenberg told The Times on Wednesday that the sale is now on hold while Bremner follows through on her plans to seek a restraining order.

The city doesn't have any guidelines for proceeding in such a thorny situation, Dannenberg said.

"We are a municipal cemetery, we don't have anything in our codes or procedures about denying anyone" a plot to purchase, he said. "But with legal action pending, it's in the best interest of both parties to hold off."

The cemetery fight is the latest twist in a case that began in 2009, when Susan Powell vanished in the middle of the night while the family was still living in Utah. At the time, Josh Powell told the authorities that he decided to take the boys on a last-minute camping trip even though it was the middle of winter. When he returned, he said, his wife was gone.

Powell's family members have contended that Josh Powell is the victim in this saga, wrongly accused of killing his wife and then subjected to a  witch hunt by law enforcement.

As for the boys, they'd been at the center of a custody battle between Josh Powell and the Coxes --  complete with allegations that Powell was an unstable figure in their lives and newly discovered evidence that he possessed incestuous pornography. Days before Powell killed himself and his sons, he was told that he couldn't have his children back until he submitted to a psychosexual exam and a polygraph.

Some surmise that the court decision triggered Powell's murder-suicide plan. On Feb. 5, during what was supposed to be a supervised visit, he locked out the social worker accompanying his sons, took an ax to the two boys, then killed them and himself in a gasoline-fueled explosion.

The deaths have triggered an outpouring of support for the Coxes, with people holding "love" signs lining the funeral route on Sunday. The tragedy has also led to outrage aimed at the Powell family, which continues to maintain a low profile.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: People line the street as the hearse passes bearing Charlie and Braden Powell on Saturday in Tacoma. Credit: Alan Berner / The Seattle Times / Associated Press

Best in show: How the Pekingese breed earned 'Lion Dog' nickname

Malachy wins best in show

Best in show honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday night went to Malachy, a Pekingese who did proud a truly ancient breed. Dating back to the 8th century and the Tang Dynasty, the breed once held court as the lapdog companion of emperors.

Do not be fooled by the teeny tiny dog that rarely hits 15 pounds. The Pekingese breed is actually quite muscular, and its regal bearing and fierce loyalty helped earn it the nickname Lion Dog.

Legend has it that a long, long time ago in "the mists of time," a lion fell in love with a tiny marmoset monkey. But such a love was impossible. The lion begged the deity that ruled the animal kingdom to shrink him down to size so he could marry his true love. But his heart remained its original size, according to Asian, and it is from this union that the Pekingese, or Fu Lin -- Lion Dog -- was born.

PHOTOS: Westminster Kennel Club dog show

In reality, the site says, DNA studies show that the Pekingese breed closely mimics the genetic composition of wolves and is among the purest breeds of dogs on Earth, making it a very ancient  breed indeed.

The dogs' appearance is marked by a long-haired coat and ears that lend a heart-shaped look to their  otherwise wide, flat head. They may look dainty and delicate, but they're surprisingly muscular and stocky, according to the American Kennel Club.

"Pekingese possess a regal dignity, intelligence and self-importance, making them good-natured, opinionated and affectionate family companions," according to the American Kennel Club.

Some other facts about Lion Dogs: They are front heavy. They can be any color. They are difficult to housebreak. They are relatively "inactive," which makes them ideal for indoor or apartment living. They're also prone to developing Small Dog Syndrome, that human-induced disorder that allows small dogs to think they run the joint. And those coats, as you might imagine, need plenty of brushing.

Pekingese get their name from the ancient Chinese city of Peking, now known as Beijing. Chinese art through the centuries -- ink drawings, bronze figures, clay sculptures and the like -- often celebrated the Pekingese. At one point in history, Lion Dogs could be owned only by royalty and were rarely seen outside the emperor's palace. (Stealing such a dog resulted in death.)

That changed when the British invaded in 1860, according to Pedigree UK. Upon entering the Forbidden City, troops found Empress Tzu'Hai dead on the floor after committing suicide rather than submit to invasion of the West. Guarding her body were five Pekingese dogs. When the British returned home, they took the breed with them.


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A little dog wins big at Westminster

Best in show at Westminster dog show: A pipsqueak, Malachy

-- Rene Lynch

Photo: Yep, I'm top dog: Malachy poses for photos moments after winning best in show at the Westminster Kennel Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Credit: Michael Nagle / Getty Images

Best in show at Westminster dog show: A pipsqueak, Malachy

Best in show, that most coveted of all honors at the famed Westminster dog show, went to ... how should we describe it? A fallen cloud? A hair ball? A pug stuck inside a pom pom? Let's just call it what it is: a Pekingese named Malachy.

The 4-year-old champion at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show seemed to realize his coronation as the crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City shouted out his name. The Associated Press noted Malachy was reveling in all the attention as his handler held him up while his pink tongue expressed itself amid all that fur, his "eyes sparkling like black diamonds."

It's worth noting that Malachy doesn't really win much -- he gets a silver bowl. There is no prize money. But the allure of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show transcends the notion of ribbons and bows and baubles. Malachy's title puts him into the history books, and perhaps his name will forever be uttered in show dog circles with awe and reverence. And wealth will come in time for Malachy's owners, with all the breeding opportunities afforded the winner.

PHOTOS: Westminster Kennel Club dog show

Malachy beat out dogs big and small Tuesday night to capture the throne, including a Dalmatian, a German shepherd, a Doberman pinscher, an Irish setter, a Kerry blue terrier and a wire-haired dachshund.

Since then, the court of public opinion has weighed in on Malachy, not all of it nice. But because Malachy can't read, we'll tell you: "Cute little dustmop/ Looks very huggable," said one comment on Twitter. "I'm sorry, but the thing that won Westminster is NOT a dog. It's more like an animatronic troll doll with extra hair," said another Twitter comment.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was not without criticism and controversy.

Advocates for mutts and strays and rescue dogs have long decried the focus on pedigrees. They fear it encourages puppy mills when there are already so many dogs in need of a home. "They kill shelter dogs' chances," says PETA, which this year launched several protests surrounding the event. Some members even tried to infiltrate the show itself before they were halted.

Another protest took aim at the man who could be our next president: Mitt Romney. The Republican candidate has riled dog lovers everywhere with his story about traveling with his Irish setter, Seamus, back in 1983 and strapping the dog's crate to the roof rack for a 12-hour drive.

When Romney told the story, many people found it amusing. But animal rights activists didn't laugh about what they say must have been a harrowing, wind-whipped ride for the canine. On Tuesday, they held signs saying "Dogs Aren’t Luggage" and "I Ride Inside."

It's a good bet that Malachy never gets strapped to a roof rack.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Malachy sits in his trophy after being named best in show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. Credit: Seth Wenig / Associated Press

Empire State Building throws same-sex weddings on Valentine's Day

The Empire State Building and its sweeping New York City views offered enviable backdrops to two couples who made history this Valentine's Day -- becoming the first same-sex couples to marry atop the landmark.

All weddings are special, of course, and a wedding on Valentine's Day is especially sweet. But only Stephanie Figarelle, 29, and Lela McArthur, 24, two personal trainers from Anchorage, Alaska, can say that they were the first-ever same-sex couple married at the Empire State Building.

They were followed by three other couples, including another same-sex couple, all of whom were  winners of an online contest that played out on Facebook, with fans voting on planning details. Winners had their dream events designed by celebrity event planner Colin Cowie, who makes regular appearances on "The Today Show" and "The Ellen Degeneres Show."

The four couples received wedding rings from DeBeers, gowns from Kleinfeld, hair and makeup by Estee Lauder, a two-night stay at a posh Manhattan hotel, the services of a celebrity photographer and, as the commercials say, that's not all! Each couple has the chance to win $100,000 if they get the most Facebook votes following the nuptials, according to Huffington Post Weddings.

The ceremonies took place in an events area on the 61st floor, and were followed by a photo shoot on the observation deck that looks out on Manhattan's famed skyline from the 86th floor.

"I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you,” Figarelle said to her partner as they exchanged rings, reported the Associated Press. "I will always love you forever, with every beat of my heart,"  McArthur, who is taking her partner's name, was quoted as saying.

Figarelle, who wore a black tuxedo to McArthur's strapless white gown, wanted to travel to New York to get married in part because of all the goodies, but also because same-sex marriage became legal in the Empire State last year. The pair hope Alaska will one day follow suit.

Later, New Yorkers Phil Fung and Shawn Klein became the second same-sex couple to take the plunge. They wore matching suits and ties, according to the wire service. Two other couples also tied the knot in Valentine's Day ceremonies atop the landmark: Angela Vega and Lubin Masibay of San Francisco and Paula Cubero and Enrique Catter of Greenwich, Conn.


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-- Rene Lynch
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Photo: Lela McArthur, left, and Stephanie Figarelle, of Anchorage walk down the aisle after their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony at the Empire State Building. Credit: Richard Drew/Associated Press

'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' winning over Lincoln historians

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" won't be in theaters until June 22. But the horror-meets-history thriller that re-envisions our 16th president as an ax-wielding fang-fighter already has an unexpected fan base: historians.

But that fan base didn't develop overnight. When the experts at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., first heard about the fictional book "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," by Seth Grahame-Smith, they were not exactly pleased. Would it make a mockery of the Great Emancipator? Would it ignore Lincoln's pivotal role in history? Would it portray him as a cartoonish figure in a stovepipe hat?

"There was a lot of skepticism, let's just say that," library spokesman Dave Blanchett told The Times.

But "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" appears to be winning over historians with its attention to fact and detail even as it swings wildly into the fantastic and the fictional.

The trailer for the movie was posted online Monday by 20th Century Fox, timed to coincide with  the official observances of the 203rd anniversary of Lincoln's Feb. 12, 1809, birth.

That trailer was a mere morsel for the masses when compared to the banquet served up Friday night at the library.

Director Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted," "Night Watch") and actor Benjamin Walker, who plays Honest Abe, personally introduced several scenes from the movie to library staff and movie critics who flew in as part of a Hollywood junket. Producer Tim Burton couldn't make it, but he sent the next best thing, Blanchette said: a black-and-white digital message with several Burtonesque touches that seemed to thrill those in attendance.

Continue reading »

Valentine's Day spending hits a sweet new high: $17.6 billion


Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach an all-time high this year -- at least $17.6 billion. That's a lot of chocolate, cards, jewelry and unmentionables.

Those planning to celebrate the holiday are expected to drop an average of $126.03 per person, up 8.5% over last year, according to the National Retail Federation's annual survey. That's the highest total in the 10 years that the survey has been conducted.   

Valentine's Day is "one of the biggest gift-giving holidays of the year," federation Chief Executive Matthew Shay said in a statement. "It’s encouraging that consumers are still exhibiting the desire to spend on discretionary gift items, a strong indication our economy continues to move in the right direction."

The average male celebrating the holiday will spend $168.74 for the works -- flowers, dinner, gift, etc. By contrast, women will spend an average of $85.76.

Here's what all that spending looks like, according to the survey: Just over 35% of those surveyed will buy flowers, and 35.6% will treat someone to dinner. Nearly 19% of those surveyed will buy jewelry, and 13.3% will give their sweetheart a gift card. (We're pretty sure that those who give a card will not have an especially memorable Valentine's Day evening, but the survey did not explore that question.)

And just over half -- 50.5% -- of all Valentine's Day celebrants will buy candy.

One beloved chocolatier, See's Candies, sees about 3 million pounds of chocolate fly off its shelves this time of year. (See's, which recently celebrated its 95th anniversary, was the training ground for Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance in the famous "I Love Lucy" conveyor-belt scene.)

It might surprise you to know that Valentine's Day is not the company's biggest selling holiday, or even its second-biggest. Valentine's Day ranks No. 3, behind Christmas and Easter.

"Valentine's is a fairly short-selling season," See’s President Brad Kinstler told The Times. "The real sales don't start coming in until Feb. 1. And then it's a lot of activity compressed into a few days."

By contrast, the Christmas selling season begins after Thanksgiving and lasts until Dec. 24. And Easter is all about chocolate and candy, unlike Valentine's Day, which can also be about baubles and roses.

Kinstler said See's outlets will be jam-packed all day Tuesday with customers -- mainly men -- who woke up and realized they were about to be in the doghouse unless they came up with something super sweet, super fast.

When asked whether he was bringing home something sweet for someone special, Kinstler said: "Oh, I know what I am required to bring home." (See's dark chocolate butterchews are his wife's favorite.)

"But I did my shopping already, I didn't wait," he said.


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Photo: Red roses waiting to be shipped. Credit: AFP / Getty Images

Slain boys: Radio host gets death threat for deal with Westboro

Washington state-based radio host Bobby D says his job is pretty simple -- entertain listeners each morning with pop music, celebrity interviews, saucy banter and general zaniness. In other words, he's probably the last person you'd expect to find brokering the deal that kept Westboro Baptist Church protesters away from a funeral Saturday morning for two slain children.

But Bobby D did just that when he agreed to turn over a portion of the Bobby D Show on Monday morning to Fred Phelps Sr., founder of Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist. The church has gained notoriety for its extreme anti-gay views -- views that lead church members to protest outside funerals for U.S. soldiers.

The deejay's efforts earned him a death threat. "Yeah, someone threatened to blow us up," Bobby D told The Times. But many more people hailed him for stepping in and putting a stop to what likely would have become a media circus of protesters, counter-protesters and grief-stricken relatives.

Some of the comments posted on the blog for the Bobby D Show:  "Thank you…It was a gift to be able to celebrate the lives of two beautiful boys without any negativity." "Thank you for proving that good can triumph over evil." "Thank you sir, for displaying what true Christianity looks like."

Here's how events unfolded: 

Josh Powell horrified Washington, and indeed all of America, on Feb. 5 when he took an axe to his children -- Charles, 7, and Braden, 5 -- and then killed all three of them in a gasoline-fueled inferno in Graham, Wash. The deaths were the culmination of a disturbing family drama that dated back to the 2009 disappearance of the boys' mother, Susan Powell, when the family lived in Utah.

While this tragedy was playing out in headlines, Washington state legislators were on their way to approving same-sex marriage legislation that Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law Monday.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church connected the dots between these two seemingly unrelated events. They laid the blame for the deaths on Gregoire and announced that they would protest outside the boys' funeral to remind everyone that the boys died because of the country's increasingly permissive attitude toward gays and lesbians.

That led counter-protesters to promise to be a buffer between Westboro members and grieving relatives. The boys' maternal grandparents, meanwhile, pleaded with everyone to stay away so the family could grieve in peace.

Bobby D said he was watching the events unfold much like any other Washington state resident -- it had nothing to do with him. Then, he came across an article that noted that Westboro congregants have increasingly been employing a new strategy: They agree to call off protests in exchange for radio time, which they believe gives them a broader audience.

"I thought, 'Hey, maybe I could do something here,' " Bobby D said. He knew the deal probably wouldn't gain him new listeners and would no doubt offend many. But he said he remembered an especially dark time during high school when he lost his mother, and then his best friend. He said he couldn't imagine how painful it would be to have Westboro congregants -- or anyone else -- causing a ruckus outside those funerals.

"On one hand, I didn't want to give these guys a venue to spew their hate," he said. "On the other, I thought, 'Man, I can stop these people from doing this.' "

Bobby D contacted Westboro, and church members agreed to halt the protest in exchange for air time. Bobby D interviewed Phelps on Friday and promised to air the conversation Monday morning, but only if Westboro steered clear of the funeral. Both sides kept the bargain, and the interview was broadcast as planned.

(Bobby D. also told Phelps that, during the interview,  he could not use the F-word -- referring not to the four-letter F-word, but the three letter F-word used as a pejorative for gays.)

You can listen to the interview here, as well as read more about Bobby D's decision.

The interview was difficult, Bobby D said. He had genuine questions for Phelps but also had to rein in his outrage at some of Phelps' answers. Bobby D said he didn't want to antagonize Phelps and trigger congregants to relaunch their protest plans.

Not everyone agreed with Bobby D's move, as evidenced by other comments left on his blog: "You’ve turned extortion into a business deal." "Bobby, you've been played." And "Trading air time for protests saves Westboro money in travel expenses and gives them a much wider outreach."

But Bobby D said he has no regrets. "I’d rather people be mad at me and hate my show than have these people ruin a day that was already going to be so horrible," he said.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Bobby D at work. Photo credit: The Bobby D Show

Abraham Lincoln gets a Hollywood reboot -- as a vampire hunter

Abraham Lincoln is known by many labels. The Great Emancipator. The Rail Splitter. The 16th president. Honest Abe. "That guy on Mt. Rushmore." And the face of the $5 bill.

But this summer he'll be reintroduced to America with a new moniker: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."

20th Century Fox honored Honest Abe on Monday by posting online a trailer for the hotly anticipated summer movie "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."

Compare that with -- yawn -- the various ways the rest of the country is honoring the 203rd anniversary of Lincoln's Feb. 12, 1809, birth. Some schools are giving students the day off; some states are shutting down all city, county and state offices; and no doubt the countless memorials and monuments erected nationwide in Lincoln's honor will see increased foot traffic all this week.

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is a fantasy-fueled horror-thriller that re-engineers Lincoln as a politician who, in his spare time, wields a battle ax in his bid to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers. Lincoln is also out to avenge his mother's death at the hands of such a supernatural creature.

Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln in the movie, which is based upon the book of the same name by author Seth Grahame-Smith. The fictional tome expresses itself through Lincoln's previously undiscovered journal of his quest for vengeance, a quest that takes him all the way to the White House. (Not familiar with this new history-marries-horror genre? It's also given birth to the likes of "Alice in Deadland," "George Washington Werewolf," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.")

The film is produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted," "Night Watch") and you can see both influences in the action-packed trailer, which is creating a lot of buzz online Monday. It's slated for release June 22.

Happy birthday, Abraham Lincoln.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch


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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal

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