Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies
|Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies|
|Directed by||Richard Schenkman|
|Screenplay by||Richard Schenkman|
|Music by||Chris Ridenhour|
|Editing by||James Kondelik|
|Studio||Four Score Films|
|Distributed by||The Asylum|
|Running time||96 minutes|
Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies is a 2012 American action horror B movie directed by Richard Schenkman, with a screenplay by Schenkman based upon the story concept of Karl Hirsch and Lauren Proctor. Produced by The Asylum, and starring Bill Oberst Jr., the film was released direct-to-video on May 29, 2012, following its May 28 theatrical premiere screening at the Telfair Museum of Art Jepson Center in Savannah, Georgia.
After his mother Nancy Lincoln (Rhianna Van Helton), falls victim to an illness that requires her to be tied to her bed, vicious and cannibalistic, 10-year-old Abe Lincoln (Brennen Harper) sees his father Thomas Lincoln (Kent Igleheart) commit suicide at her bedside. Taking up a weapon, the distraught young Abe tells his mother that he loves her before beheading her. He then joins others in his community in containing a local zombie outbreak.
When an adult Abraham Lincoln (Bill Oberst Jr.) has become President of a fracturing United States, he is apprised of rumors concerning a prominent Confederate stronghold. He is told that a regiment of 30 men had gone to Confederate Fort Pulaski to seize it from the Confederates and only one man returned barely alive. When questioning the survivor, Lincoln discovers the soldier has an illness that seems to bring corpses back to life. He then personally leads a team of the newly established secret service of 12 men to accompany him in investigating the fort.
They get to the fort and are attacked by Confederate survivors led by General Stonewall Jackson (Don McGraw) as well as by several of the infected people. Abe kills one of his men who had been bitten by a zombie and explains to the others in his party that if they are bitten or scratched by a zombie, or if zombie's blood makes contact with their mouths or eyes, that they too will become infected and, within twenty-four hours, would no longer be considered "human". In the meantime, while downtown, Pike (Eric Galloway) and John Wilkinson (Jason Vail) are investigating an office of some sort and without warning two zombies (George Kent) and (Claire Weinstein) eat Pike, causing John Wilkinson to escape. When John Wilkinson reunites with Abe and the rest of the men, Abe encounters an old lover turned prostitute Mary Owens (Baby Norman) who is hiding a young Theodore Roosevelt (Canon Kuipers), Mary's daughter Sophia (Hannah Bryan), and their friend Annika (Anna Fricks) to protect them from the invasion.
The group makes their way back to the fort where after a dangerous attack from the zombies, Annika is bitten by a zombie and Abe shoots her in the head much to his deepest regret. When they all reach the interior of the fort, all feel the heartache and loss of their friends taking its toll. Abe then goes to Jackson, seeking help in killing the zombies. Jackson refuses to kill the zombies, believing them to only be sick and in need of care. He claims Lincoln's actions are only against the members of the confederacy.
When escaping to the fort, Mary is splashed in the face with zombie blood and soon falls ill. Meanwhile, agent John Wilkinson plots to kill Lincoln while he's alone. He recants when he catches Abe praying, as in his mind prayer would ensure Lincoln's soul going to heaven, and remains behind as the rest of the group heads into the township to kill off the zombies. Being greatly outnumbered, only Abe, Theodore, and Sophia return when the other agents are slaughtered. In the meantime, Agent Hawthorne (Nathaniel Grauwelman) and Agent Chamberlin (Ronald Ogden) are surrounded by zombies, causing them to run to the attic stairs while being pursued by zombies. Chamberlin gets bitten while Hawthorne escapes, after Hawthorne pulls the ladder up in order to keep himself and the others safe. Hawthorne falls from the roof of the building breaking only his ankle. After realizing there's no hope, he commits suicide by shooting himself in the mouth, causing the zombies to eat him. After finally realizing that Lincoln is right and escape is unlikely, Stonewall shows Abe a cache of gunpowder. They then decide to use the explosive to blow up the fort after trapping and containing the zombies inside. When the fuse goes out, Stonewall ventures down alone to re-light it, but is overrun and killed by the zombies just after doing so. Abe and Brown escape just in time and the entire place goes up. Mary accepts her fate and goes off with Lincoln to die, much to Sophia's heartbreak.
Eighteen months later, Abe goes to visit Mary who had been in the care of a doctor investigating the illness in vain hope of finding a cure. As Abe cleans wounds caused by her restraining shackles, Mary grabs his hand scratches his skin infecting him, much to his horror. Knowing he is himself uncurable, Abe requests that a message be sent to John Wilkinson, as earlier he'd discovered that Wilkinson was actually John Wilkes Booth who had a plot to kidnap Lincoln in response to the end of the war and the Union the victor. The message gives Booth the information to know exactly where Lincoln would be the following night as Abe and his wife Mary go to the theater, thus leading to his assassination at Booth's hands.
Casting took place in January 2012, Using mostly local talent, filming began on January 28 in Savannah, Georgia. Originally the script was set to shoot at a fort in Tennessee, but Savannah and Fort Pulaski were subsequently chosen for location shooting of scenes where Lincoln confronts zombies who had overrun a Confederate stronghold.
The choice of Bill Oberst Jr. in the lead role of Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies has been praised, with criticisms otherwise aimed at the film's plot, supporting cast members, character development and historical inaccuracies.
JoBlo offered that the film was what might be anticipated from The Asylum, in its being "extremely repetitive" and having a script filled with "terrible lines." Toward the cast, they made note that most of the actors "pretty much suck post-colonial wastewater", with the rare exception being the quality and believability actor Bill Oberst Jr. brought to the role of Abraham Lincoln as a "scythe-wielding zombie slayer." They also noted the film taking a plot device from Forrest Gump in the President meeting with famous persons from Civil War-era history, such as General Stonewall Jackson, lawman Pat Garrett, a young Teddy Roosevelt, and assassin John Wilkes Booth secreted as an undercover Confederate agent within Lincoln's secret service staff.
Dread Central offered similar praise of Oberst's acting being superior to the rest of the cast, by writing "If there existed an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a B-Movie, this year’s winner would easily be Bill Oberst, Jr., for his outstanding portrayal of our 16th President," and that it was "certainly the closest thing to an award caliber performance you’ll probably ever see in a movie produced by The Asylum." They observed that even when swinging a scythe to behead a zombie, he played the role with the same gravitas as might be expected from a theater production of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. In speaking toward the other aspects of the film, they noted that "overwritten dialogue scenes, wildly uneven pacing, and sometimes confusingly staged action scenes prevent Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies from fully living up to its full potential."
KDVR reported that in the film, director Richard Schenkman had created "an enjoyable little movie that is juuussttt this close to being great camp". They made note that difficult as it might have been to handle the concept of a zombie outbreak in 1863, the film came "across as a fairly straight attempt to tell a serious story," with "flashes of brilliant high camp and comedy." They also noted that what the filmmaker might have failed to provide in tone, was easily counterbalanced by the many on-screen zombie kills, concluding that it was "a fun little party movie".
Connect Savannah, in acknowledging elements of blood and gore and zombie's eating of entrails as "cheesy", offered while the film is unlikely to win any Oscars, wrote "Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies is terrible. In the best possible way." They praised cinematographer Tim Gill, and wrote he "presents Fort Pulaski and Oatland Island as starkly beautiful and perfectly creepy." In noting that the actors for the most part gave terrible Southern accents, they pointed out that some performances stood out, and offered as an example that as Abraham Lincoln, Bill Oberst Jr. "gives a believable turn as Lincoln–as–badass while imbuing the character with the president’s signature stalwart leadership; his Gettysburg Address is so compelling, you might forget you’re watching a monster movie." They also noted the plot occasionally presented "unexpected depth", through devices such as assassin John Wilkes Booth being portrayed as a double agent, and the plot itself being "a rather impressive soliloquy comparing the mindless affliction of zombiehood to the evil effects of slavery."
Starburst generally panned the film, noting that Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies was "a sluggishly directed film from a weak script". They also made note of the fictional film's historical inaccuracies, listing as examples: Confederate Fort Pulaski being attacked by Lincoln and his secret servicemen had actually been under Union control since 1862; the secret service used by Lincoln was not actually created until after Lincoln's real-world death in 1865 and did not have the duty of protecting the president until after the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley; General Stonewall Jackson, depicted in the film as healthy, had actually been accidentally shot by his own men in 1863, losing an arm and dying of complications soon thereafter; and Pat Garrett is depicted as a Confederate Corporal although he was not a combatant in real life. To underscore their point they wrote that "continuity, historical facts or the laws of physics don't apply here at the Asylum". They made further note of the poor makeup for the zombies, but explained it as a likely result of the film's $150,000 budget. In what they considered one of the film's few positive points, they noted that the director's use of Civil War reenactment groups from the Savannah area enhanced the film's production values in their scenes with authentic-appearing costumes. After stressing the film's flaws, they concluded that "aside from all the historical inaccuracies, laborious direction and bad script, it’s Bill Oberest Jr's stand out performance as Abe Lincoln that steals the show. He's worth watching and he's what saves the picture."
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
- Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and its Asylum mockbuster, Hansel & Gretel
- Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, a film about Jesus Christ's life as a vampire hunter
- Adams, Jason (June 20, 2012). "Awfully Good: Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies". JoBlo. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Foywonder (June 7, 2012). "review: Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)". Dread Central. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Kingsberry, Janay (May 28, 2012). ""Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies" screening". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Boston, David (June 5, 2012). "Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies premieres". WTOC. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- O'Neal, Sean (January 5, 2012). "The Asylum preps Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, creates satirical black hole". AV Club. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Moris, Clint (January 2, 2012). "Casting begins for…Abraham Lincoln V Zombies!". Moviehole. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Sickler, Linda (February 3, 2012). "Zombie horde attacks Fort Pulaski as key scene is shot for film". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Dawers, Bill (MAy 31, 2012). "Savannah's zombie apocalypse looks pretty good". Savannah Morning News. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- staff (June 1, 2012). "REVIEW: Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (DVD)". KDVR. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
- Lebos, Jessica Leigh (June 26, 2012). "Four score & seven zombies ago". Connect Savannah. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- Bain, Whitney Scott (May 27, 2012). "DVD review: Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies". Starburst. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website
- Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies on Facebook