THE Screened Review by Matthew Marko
Smarter than its premise ever looked on paper, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is genuinely entertaining genre fare. The idea might look dumb, but the seriousness with which it plays out as an actual, non-ironic story is refreshing in its honesty and ultimately more worthy than most will give it credit for.
|Timur Bekmambetov director||previously directed Wanted|
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.
Tom Hardy was approached for the title role of Lincoln, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with The Dark Knight Rises. Later, Eric Bana, Timothy Olyphant, Adrien Brody, Josh Lucas, James D'Arcy and Oliver Jackson-Cohen were considered to play the role before Benjamin Walker was cast.5 More Trivia
17 More Quotes
I'm going to destroy the myth of Abraham Lincoln, so that history will forever know you not as a man but as a monster!
|Benjamin Walker||Abraham Lincoln|
|Dominic Cooper||Henry Sturgess|
|Mary Elizabeth Winstead||Mary Todd Lincoln|
|Anthony Mackie||William Johnson|
|Jimmi Simpson||Joshua Fry Speed|
|Marton Csokas||Jack Barts|
|Jaqueline Fleming||Harriet Tubman|
|Robin McLeavy||Nancy Hanks Lincoln|
|See Full Credits|
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter retells history with a fantasy twist. It has received a polarizing reception with reactions on all ends of the spectrum. It has been dubbed by many to be a cult classic.
The story of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was first written in a book form (titled Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter) by Seth Grahame-Smith in his high profile follow-up project after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The novel reads like a history book, with much of the humor coming from its ironically dry and detached style of storytelling. Smith also wrote the movie's story and screenplay, but decided that the history book format wouldn't work for a movie and instead made it a dramatic action film, with much of the humor coming from the deadly serious tone it uses on its absurd subject matter.
The movie opens with a voice-over from Abraham Lincoln reading a passage from his diary. He begins by telling about his childhood.
As a boy, Abraham Lincoln lives in Kentucky where he is friends with a slave named William Johnson. One day, William is being sold and taken away from his family. William is being whipped and Abraham runs in to help him. When the slavemaster turns on Abraham, Abraham's father (Thomas Lincoln) intervenes. This causes buisnessman and slave-trader Jack Barts, who owns William, to get Thomas fired. Barts then says that since Barts owes him money he needs to pay him back by tonight or Barts will find another way to collect. Thomas is unable to pay because he doesn't have money (something Jack Barts knows).
That night, Jack Barts visits the Lincoln home and murders Nancy Lincoln (Abraham's mother) and drinks her blood as Abraham, supposedly asleep in bed, watches in horror.
Thomas makes Abraham promise not to do anything rash. As long as his father is alive, Abraham stays with him. However, when Abraham is a young man Thomas dies and Abraham goes out to find Jack Barts and avenge his mother.
Abraham tracks down Jack Barts and is in a bar getting wasted in preparation for killing him. A man comes up to Abraham and says "the only time a man gets that drunk is when he wants to kiss a girl or kill a man." The man then asks Abraham which reason it is for him and pats him roughly on the back. A gun Abraham had hidden in his coat falls out.
Abraham goes to the docks where Jack Barts is chatting to two other well-dressed southerners about a "new shipment." When the two people leave, Abraham follows Barts to kill him. When he finds Barts, Barts has just sexually assaulted and murdered a woman and is about to drink her blood. Barts sees Abraham and attacks and Abraham shoots Barts in the face, lodging the bullet directly in Barts' eye. Barts doesn't die, though, and instead attacks Abraham. Just as Abraham is about to die, the man from the bar comes and uses incredible strength to battle Barts, who runs away. Abraham then passes out from his injuries.
Abraham wakes up in a sizeable house. Abraham hears cries and walks to one room, accidentally walking in on the man who saved him having sex. After the man's lover leaves, the man introduces himself as Henry Sturgess and says that this is his home. Henry then explains to Abraham that Jack Barts is a vampire. Henry says that he can teach Abraham to be a vampire hunter if he agrees not to begin any kind of close relationship with someone, as they might get hurt. Abraham agrees.
Abraham modifies an axe (a tool he is skilled in the use of) to be an anti-vampire weapon. It has a silver coated blade and a hidden gun barrel. Henry teaches Abraham how to fight vampires with it over the course of a year. Henry explains that all vampires are descended from one very powerful one named Adam. Henry explains that silver is a vampire's weakness (due to it being silver that Judas betrayed Jesus for) and presents Abraham with a silver pocket watch.
Abraham goes to Springfield where Henry says a vampire is. Henry promises to mail Abraham instructions in a few weeks. While looking for lodging, Abraham meets a shopkeeper named Joshua Fry Speed who offers him a free room and a meager wage if he joins him in the business. Abraham and Joshua become friends.
Abraham gets his first target, a vampire who is working in a shop in Springfield. Abraham attacks the vampire at night in the shop, but is disabled and tied up over a basin (headfirst). The vampire tries to use a straight razor to cut Abraham's throat so as to drain all of his blood, but Abraham has a hidden knife and is able to cut himself free. After a brief battle, Abraham is able to kill the vampire.
Abraham meets a pretty woman named Mary Todd when she comes into the store. Though at first Mary Todd is courting Stephen Douglas, she soon breaks off the relationship after becoming friends with Abraham. After attending a party and dancing, the two begin courting each other. i
Abraham receives instructions from Henry every few weeks on vampires to kill. He tracks them down (all the vampires work as ordinary citizens by day in Springfield but hunt by night) and is able to kill them.
One day, Abraham's childhood friend William Johnson comes into his shop. After Abraham and William reunite, William says he is a free man but some slave hunters believe he is an escaped slave and are coming to bring him back. Abraham confronts the men and beats them up, forcing to them to leave.
Jack Barts comes to town, looking for some of his colleagues who have been killed by Abraham. Abraham finds him and the two confront each other (Barts still has the bullet Abraham shot lodged in his eye). Unfortunately, Barts is a far more skilled and powerful vampire than Abraham is used to fighting. Barts smashes open a barn and causes a stampede of cattle. He then runs off through the stampede telling Abraham he is going to kill Mary Todd if Abraham can't stop him. Abraham chases Barts through the cattle and the two have a lengthy fight, in which Barts throws a cow at Abraham. In the end, Abraham is able to kill Barts. As Barts dies, he says that nothing will stop the vampires and that Henry is one of them!
Abraham goes to find Henry to see if it is true. He finds Henry killing and drinking the blood of a rapist. Henry explains that years ago (but probably after 1800) he was happily married and traveling with his wife when his carriage was ambushed by a group of vampires led by Adam. It is clear that Adam is one of the two people Barts was talking to when Abraham first tried to kill him. Adam bites both Henry and his wife and drinks a little of their blood. Henry's wife dies and Henry attempts to kill Adam for it. However, he finds himself unable to do so. Adam explains that vampires cannot kill other vampires. He says that since Henry's wife had a pure heart she died when bitten, but since Henry had an impure soul he has become a vampire. Adam says "welcome to the family" and leaves. Henry has been searching for someone he could train to be able to kill Adam ever since.
Feeling angry and betrayed, Abraham leaves.
Adam visits Barts grave with a few vampire companions, including his second-in-command, Vadoma. Vadoma discovers that in Bart's hand is the silver watch Abraham was carrying. Using this information, they realize this is Henry's doing and are able to find out where Abraham is.
Adam has William captured and brought to his plantation in the Deep South to try and lure Abraham. Abraham explains to Joshua the existence of vampires and the two go on a riverboat to try and rescue William (Joshua is skeptical, but loyal).
Abraham goes into the plantation just as Adam and forty other vampires slaughter slaves. Abraham charges in to rescue William and has a lengthy battle with the vampires. Abraham successfully kills many of them (with William's help), but is eventually overpowered and pinned to the ground by Vadoma. Adam explains that the whole institution of slavery in the South has been set up by vampires to help feed them. He says that everyone has a weakness (his being his immortality and bloodthirst) and it is impossible to resist. He then says he wants Abraham to join him and become a vampire. He says he knows Abraham will comply as he has found one of his weaknesses and then threatens to kill William.
Fortunately, Joshua then bursts in on a wagon and Abraham, William, and him manage to escape. They hide into a church where they meet a group of fugitive slaves, one of whom is Harriet Tubman. The vampires cannot enter a church and thus don't search there.
Abraham marries Mary Todd. Henry Sturgess shows up at the wedding. Abraham tells Henry his intention is to become a politician and end slavery once and for all. Henry says that this is a bad idea as slavery is a compromise that allows the vampires to keep from overrunning all of America. Abraham refuses and becomes a politician anyway.
Time passes. Abraham is now much older, has children, and is elected president on an anti-slavery platform. The Civil War breaks out. One day, Vadoma sneaks into the White House and finds Abraham's son William Wallace Lincoln playing with toy soldiers, one of which is armed with a tiny silver sword. Vadoma plays with him for a little, and then abruptly bites him.
When Henry hears the news, he comes to visit. Mary Todd is confused by William's illness and Abraham is forced to explain the existance of vampires. Mary Todd is furious. Henry offers to turn William into a vampire. Mary Todd demands that he does it, but Abraham refuses to let him as he doesn't want his child's soul corrupted.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis (of the rebels), realizing he losing the war, recruits Adam's help. Adam agrees and raises a vampire army, declaring his plan to give vampires a country of their own. They begin to decimate the Union forces.
Abraham decides that the only way to fight them is with silver. He has all the silver in the major Union cities taken and also has General Sherman take all the silver from Atlanta (a Confederate city). He devises a plan to smuggle it to his troops, which are gathering for a colossal fight at Gettysburg.
Joshua contacts a vampire to send a message to Adam. Adam agrees to see him. Joshua explains that though Abraham is his friend he can't let the country be torn apart by war and is thus going to reveal where the silver is. He says that William, Abraham, and himself are going to be on a secret train going to Gettysburg on a little used railway.
As the train is going to Gettysburg, Henry shows up and explains that Abraham has been betrayed. Abraham says Henry has no idea what he is talking about. Adam attacks the train with a large squadron of vampires. William and Abraham fight valiantly to keep them off, but eventually corners Abraham on the roof of a train. He says he will turn Abraham into a vampire so he will forever be remembered as a monster. However, when Adam attempts to bite Abraham, Henry puts his hand in between and takes the venom himself (it has no effect on him, since he is already a vampire).
Abraham reveals to Henry and Adam that it was all a trick William, Joshua, and himself had devised to lure Adam into a combat. They explain that there is no silver on the train and it is all being transported by Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Abraham then uses the silver watch to kill Adam.
Vadoma sneaks into the Union Camp when she sees they are unloading silver. Mary Todd recognizes her and loads a musket with the silver sword for the toy soldier and shoots Vadoma in the face with it. Most of the vampires are killed at the Battle of Gettysburg by the silver, and the rest flee, knowing the US will "forever remain a nation of the living."
A few months later, Abraham is preparing to go the theater with Mary Todd (where history has told us he will die). Henry offers to turn him into a vampire so they can fight side by side for eternity. Abraham says there are other ways to be immortal and gives Henry his journal. He then walks away.
In modern day, a man is in a Washington, DC bar getting wasted. Henry comes up and tells him that a man only gets that drunk when he wants to kiss a girl or kill a man. He pats the man on the back and a gun falls out of the man's coat. Henry has found the next great vampire hunter.
Filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov announced that they had obtained the film rights to the novel Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter in March of 2010, the month of the books release. The book was an instant success and Burton and Bekmambetov agreed to let its author, Seth Grahame-Smith, write the movie as well. Burton was so happy working with Smith on ALVH that he quickly signed him on to help write Dark Shadows, a passion project Burton was directing.
20th Century Fox made a deal with Burton and Bekmambetov to fund and distribute the film after preparing a detailed presentation and winning a bidding war with several other distributors. In January of 2011, Bekmambetov (who's biggest film prior to that was the surprise hit Wanted) signed on to direct the picture; Burton and him would both produce it.
The lead role of Abraham Lincoln was first offered to Tom Hardy, but he turned it down as it conflicted with his work as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. The lesser known Benjamin Walker was cast instead after the studio considered Adrien Brody, Josh Lucas, James D'Arcy, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. All of the major cast members were signed on by the end of February 2011. The movie started shooting in March of 2011 in Louisiana, a popular spot for film-making due to its scenic locale and tax incentives from the state.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter decided on an unusual location for its world premiere. The movie debuted to an audience of 1800 (mostly American serviceman) aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, which was stationed in the Middle East. Many of the films stars, including Anthony Mackie, attended the screening. Benjamin Walker was there in costume as Abraham Lincoln himself!
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was deemed a mild box office disappointment when it debuted in June of 2012. The film opened to only $16 million in the US and closed there with just $39 million. Overseas, the picture earned an additional $78 million. This was easily enough to cover the relatively small production budget of $69 million, but was less than distributor 20th Century Fox had reportedly hoped for when they made the picture. However, it has been noted by many that R-rated action films tend to reach a larger audience on DVD and digital download.
Trailer: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The Washington Monument wasn't completed until the 1880s. Apart from that, this film appears to be 100% historically accurate.
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|review||Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (A-) (4 out of 5)||VioletEyedDragon|
|review||Far from a Chernobyl. (4 out of 5)||femiboy34|
|news||BOX OFFICE: It's All About Brave||staceywi|
|review||A little to serious (2 out of 5)||MrMazz|
|review||Surprisingly Refreshing (4 out of 5)||MasterPr0phet|
|news||In Theaters: June 22nd||staceywi|
|Name||Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter|
|US Release||June 22, 2012|
|UK Release||Aug. 2, 2012|
|AUS Release||June 21, 2012|
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