Vampire Flick Revisits Obama’s HLS Days

‘Barackula’—complete with musical numbers—will be released next Monday

If Barack Obama can fight off a pack of Harvard Law School vampires, beating Hillary should be a piece of cake.

That’s what the current presidential candidate does in “Barackula,” a short film to be released online next Monday in which Obama resists the advances of a secret society of vampires after becoming president of the Harvard Law Review.

The project began last year when a group of friends in Los Angeles decided that one of them, Justin M. Sherman, looked a lot like a young Obama.

At his friends’ prompting, Sherman wrote a script called “Mr. Obama Goes to Cambridge” about Obama’s years at the Law School and his time as president of the law review. But according to the film’s director, Mike S. Lawson, the script lacked conflict.

The solution was easy: add vampires.

Along with the addition of a bit of campy horror, the team added two musical numbers at the suggestion of producer Brooke E. Shirey.

Despite the film’s setting, none of the participants have ever seen Harvard’s campus, instead relying on pictures to help them transform Pasadena, Calif.—the home of a friend’s parents—into Harvard circa 1990.

The group spearheading the project recruited other friends to serve as dancers and vampires.

“That was the easiest part,” said Lawson, an actor who is making his directorial debut with the film. “They’re all our friends.”

The crew spent two action-packed days shooting the film.

“The whole experience was pretty memorable,” said Shirey, who also played Shelly, one of the vampires, and performed as a backup singer. “I guess being there until five in the morning in vampire makeup is memorable enough.”

Though the group does not consider the film a political movie, many of the participants are Obama supporters.

The presidential candidate had a stellar weekend, winning primary contests in Washington, Louisiana, and Nebraska on Saturday and the Maine caucuses last night.

“There’s just this energy about him,” said Lawson, who voted for Obama in the primaries. “He’s very positive.”

The creators also hope Obama would feel as favorable toward them.

“I think he would find it humorous,” Shirey said of the film. “I don’t think he would be offended.”

Sherman said he hopes that at the very least the film, which will be released on the group’s Web site, Barackula.com, will inspire young people to learn more about the candidates.

“Hopefully it gets people talking about politicians, even if it is in a superficial way,” said Sherman.

—Staff writer Lauren D. Kiel can be reached at lkiel@fas.harvard.edu.