Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

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Abraham Lincoln:
Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Produced by Tim Burton
Timur Bekmambetov
Jim Lemley
Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith
Simon Kinberg
Based on Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter 
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Starring Benjamin Walker
Dominic Cooper
Anthony Mackie
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Rufus Sewell
Marton Csokas
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Edited by William Hoy
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 20, 2012 (2012-06-20) (United Kingdom)
  • June 22, 2012 (2012-06-22) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $69 million[2]
Box office $116.4 million[3]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a 2012 British-American dark fantasy action horror film directed by Timur Bekmambetov, based on the 2010 mashup novel of the same name. The novel's author, Seth Grahame-Smith, wrote the screenplay with Simon Kinberg. Benjamin Walker stars as the title character with supporting roles by Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, and Marton Csokas. The real-life figure Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States (1861–1865), is portrayed in the novel and the film as having a secret identity as a vampire hunter.

The film was produced by Tim Burton, Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley. Filming began in Louisiana in March 2011 and the film was released in 3D on June 20, 2012 in the United Kingdom and June 22, 2012 in the United States. The movie received mixed reviews, praising the action sequences and originality, but criticized for its overly serious tone, overuse of CGI, and pacing.


In 1818, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) lives in Indiana with his parents, Nancy (Robin McLeavy) and Thomas (Joseph Mawle), who works at a plantation owned by Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). There, Lincoln intervenes when he sees his friend, a young African American boy, William Johnson (Anthony Mackie) being beaten by a slaver. Because of his son's actions, Thomas is fired. That night, Lincoln sees Barts break into his house and attack his mother. Nancy falls ill the following day, and dies shortly afterwards. Thomas tells Lincoln that Barts poisoned her, but asks that he promise not try to avenge her death.

Nine years later, after his father's death, a vengeful Lincoln breaks his promise, and attacks Barts at the docks, but Barts, who is actually a vampire, overpowers him quickly. However, before Barts can kill him, Lincoln is rescued by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper). He wakes up in Henry's home, and Sturges explains that vampires have existed in the New World for centuries, and offers to teach Lincoln to be a vampire hunter. Lincoln accepts and, after a decade of training, travels to Springfield, Illinois, one of many vampire-infested cities across the United States, armed with a modified silver-bladed axe. Sturges explains that the vampires in America all descend from Adam (Rufus Sewell), an ancient vampire who now owns a plantation in New Orleans with his sister, Vadoma (Erin Wasson). Sturges also tells Lincoln of the vampires' sole weakness, silver, and presents him with a silver pocket watch as a gift and a reminder of his mission.

In Springfield, Lincoln befriends shopkeeper Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson), getting work and lodging in his shop, while going out at night to hunt vampires, burying their bodies outside the city limits. Though Sturges warns him not to form any close relationships, Abraham meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) for whom he develops romantic feelings, despite the fact that she is currently engaged to Stephen A. Douglas (Alan Tudyk).

Lincoln finds and defeats Barts though not before learning that he knows about Mary. Before dying, Barts reveals that Sturges is also a vampire. Lincoln confronts Sturges, who reveals that, centuries ago, he and his wife were both attacked and bitten by Adam. Henry's wife's soul was pure, thus the bite killed her, but because Sturges' soul was impure, he became a vampire, and that prevented him from harming Adam or any other vampire ("only the living can kill the dead"). Henry spends his life finding and training vampire hunters, hoping to one day destroy Adam.

Disillusioned, Lincoln abandons his mission. However, Adam learns of his activities and kidnaps Johnson to lure Lincoln into a trap at his plantation. He captures Lincoln and tries to recruit him, revealing he plans to turn the United States into a nation of the undead. He then prepares to force Lincoln to help him by threatening to kill Johnson. At the last minute, Speed rescues his friends, and they escape to Ohio.

Months later, Lincoln marries Mary and begins his political career, campaigning to abolish slavery. However, Sturges warns Lincoln that the slave trade has kept the vampires under control, as they use slaves for food, and that if Lincoln interferes, the vampires will retaliate. Leaving the warning unheeded, after Lincoln's election as the 16th President of the United States of America, he moves into the White House with Mary, where they have a son, William Wallace Lincoln (Cameron M. Brown). But William's room is infiltrated by Vadoma, disguised as a maid, where she bites him off-screen. As Lincoln mourns his loss, Henry appears and offers to turn William, thus restoring him. Lincoln is unsure, when Mary enters and voices her approval, having found and read the journal that Lincoln had kept hidden. She blames Abraham for the misfortune brought upon them.

With the onset of the American Civil War, Confederate President Jefferson Davis (John Rothman) convinces Adam to deploy his vampires on the front lines, in exchange for the expansion of his clan into the North. The appearance of the vampires on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg terrorizes the Union Army as their weapons prove ineffective on them.

In the White House, Lincoln contemplates leaving Washington, then laments that the North's forces are as ineffective against the vampires as a fork. Instantly reminded of silver's potency towards vampires, Lincoln orders all the silver in the North to be melted for ammunition. However, Speed, believing that Lincoln is tearing the nation apart, defects and informs Adam that Lincoln will transport the silver by train.

As the train crosses the countryside, Lincoln, Johnson, and Speed stay to protect the silver. Adam and Vadoma, who have set fire to the upcoming trestle, send their men to attack Lincoln and Johnson. During the fight, Henry appears, attempting to fend off Adam, who has personally boarded the train. But, in the course of the fight, Adam learns that the train holds only rocks, not the silver. Speed then appears, and reveals that his betrayal was a ruse planned by him and Lincoln to lure Adam into a trap, though Adam kills Speed for this, in front of Lincoln. The bridge begins to collapse under the blaze, and Lincoln, with Johnson, make their escape, leaping over the collapsing train cars towards the locomotive. As they near the end, Adam pulls them down onto the support beams. Lincoln and Adam engage in a climactic fistfight on top of the train, ending with Lincoln punching his silver watch into Adam's chest, killing him, and Sturges helps the two escape the train before it explodes. Questioning Lincoln on the lack of silver, Johnson comments that there is more than one railroad in the nation. Meanwhile, Mary and the ex-slaves have transported the silver to Gettysburg through the Underground Railroad. There, Mary spots Vadoma, attempting to claim one more life from Lincoln, and kills her by shooting her in the head with a shotgun loaded with her son's toy sword, avenging William's death. The now leaderless Confederate vampires stage a final, massive assault and are met head on by the Union. Armed with their silver weapons and ammunition, the Union Infantry destroy the vampires and eventually win the battle for the North.

Nearly two years later, on April 14, 1865, with the war coming to a close, Sturges tells Lincoln that the remaining vampires have fled the country, as far as the Orient. Sturges tries to convince Lincoln to allow him to turn Lincoln into a vampire, so that he can become immortal and continue to fight vampires, but Lincoln declines before departing to with his wife for their evening at Ford's Theatre. In modern times, Sturges approaches an unknown man at a bar in Washington, D.C., as he did Lincoln, hinting that the man may be the next vampire hunter.


Benjamin Walker, who plays the titular role in this film, gets into character before touring the USS Abraham Lincoln.


The film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was first announced in March 2010 when Tim Burton and Bekmambetov paired to purchase film rights and to finance its development themselves. The book's author, Seth Grahame-Smith, was hired to write the script.[11] Fox beat other studios in a bidding war for rights to the film the following October.[12]

In January 2011, with Bekmambetov attached as director, Walker was cast as Abraham Lincoln. He beat Adrien Brody, Josh Lucas, James D'Arcy, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen for the role.[4] Additional actors were cast in the following February.[6][8][13] Filming began in March 2011 in Louisiana.[4][13] The film had a budget of $69 million and was produced in 3D.[14]


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was originally scheduled to be released in 2D and 3D on October 28, 2011, but was later pushed back to June 22, 2012.[14][15] The movie premiered in New York City on June 18.[16] Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter also made an unconventional debut with a screening for troops deployed in the Middle East. The movie was screened to over 1800 sailors aboard the Navy aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, which is now receiving a complete overhaul in Newport News, Virginia. Several of the film's stars attended the screening, including Anthony Mackie, Erin Wasson and Benjamin Walker, who dressed in character as Abraham Lincoln. The screening marks the first time that a major motion picture made its debut for United States servicemen and women.[17]


The film received generally mixed reviews. As of November 9, 2014, Rotten Tomatoes reports a "rotten" approval score of 35%, based on 181 reviews, with an average score of 4.9/10. The consensus reads that the film "has visual style to spare, but its overly serious tone doesn't jibe with its decidedly silly central premise, leaving filmgoers with an unfulfilling blend of clashing ingredients." Emanuel Levy of EmanuelLevy.com wrote that "Though original, this is a strenuous effort to combine the conventions of two genres."[18] The movie also garnered a "mixed or average" score of 42 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 35 reviews.[19]

Richard Corliss of Time magazine elaborates, saying that "The historical epic and the monster movie run on parallel tracks, occasionally colliding but never forming a coherent whole."[20] Christy Lemire of Associated Press meanwhile, comments on the film's tenor and visual effects, saying "What ideally might have been playful and knowing is instead uptight and dreary, with a visual scheme that's so fake and cartoony, it depletes the film of any sense of danger," awarding the film a rating of 1.5 out of 4.[21] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal agrees, saying, "Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers ... that the movie was supposed to be fun. Or at least smart."[22]

Joe Neumaler of New York Daily News gives the film a rating of 1 out of 5, writing, "This insipid mashup of history lesson and monster flick takes itself semi-seriously, which is truly deadly."[23] The title is praised by Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, who adds, "it's too bad someone had to spoil things by making a movie to go with it."[24] The title is further commented on by Barbara VanDenburgh from the Arizona Republic, who says, "The problem with movies based on a single joke is that a single joke is rarely funny enough to sustain the running time of a feature-length film".

Tony Kushner, the script writer of the actual Abraham Lincoln biopic released that same year, has stated that he thought the film was a "godforsaken mess", although this opinion had nothing to do with a historical perspective.

Positive response meanwhile, came from Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has heart to spare, and the occasional silvered bayonet to run it through."[25] USA Today reviewer Scott Bowles remarks, "A stylish slasher of a movie, a monster flick that does its vampires right, if not their real-life counterparts," giving the film 2.5 out of 4.[26] Further acclaim came from Joe Williams of St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who calls it, "The best action movie of the summer," and praising the film for presenting "a surprisingly respectful tone toward American values and their most heroic proponent", calling "the battlefield scenes [...] suitably epic" and finally commending leading star Benjamin Walker, "a towering actor who looks like a young Liam Neeson and never stoops to caricature."[27]

Box office[edit]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter grossed $37,519,139 at the domestic box office and $78,952,441 in International Markets. It received a worldwide total of $116,471,580.[28]

Home media[edit]

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States and Canada on October 23, 2012.[29]


Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
2013 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor Ten and Under Cameron M. Brown Nominated [30]


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Henry Jackman
Released June 12, 2012 (2012-06-12) (Australia)
Recorded 2011-2012
Genre Soundtrack, film score
Length 45:32
Label Fox Music

Tim Burton
Timur Bekmambetov
Jim Lemley

Singles from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  1. "Powerless"
    Released: October 12, 2012

The soundtrack to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as composed by Henry Jackman was released digitally on June 12, 2012 and set to be released physically on July 3, 2012.[31][32] In addition, Linkin Park's song "Powerless", from their 2012 album Living Things premiered in the official trailer to Abraham Lincoln and was the first song to be played over the closing credits, followed by "The Rampant Hunter".[33] However, the song was not featured in the soundtrack,[citation needed] but still the song was released as a single under the name of soundtrack in Japan.[34]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "Childhood Tragedy"   Henry Jackman 0:54
2. "Vampires"   Henry Jackman 3:06
3. "What Do You Hate?"   Henry Jackman 1:15
4. "Power Comes from Truth"   Henry Jackman 2:29
5. "You Are Full of Surprises"   Henry Jackman 1:15
6. "Mary Todd"   Henry Jackman 1:56
7. "The Horse Stampede"   Henry Jackman 3:15
8. "Henry Sturges"   Henry Jackman 0:55
9. "Adam"   Henry Jackman 1:28
10. "Rescue Mission"   Henry Jackman 1:15
11. "Inauguration"   Henry Jackman 1:52
12. "All Slave to Something"   Henry Jackman 2:49
13. "Emancipation"   Henry Jackman 0:45
14. "Haunted by the Past"   Henry Jackman 3:00
15. "Battle at Gettysburg"   Henry Jackman 0:49
16. "Forging Silver"   Henry Jackman 1:40
17. "80 Miles"   Henry Jackman 1:52
18. "The Burning Bridge"   Henry Jackman 3:41
19. "Not the Only Railroad"   Henry Jackman 1:38
20. "The Gettysburg Address"   Henry Jackman 2:22
21. "Late to the Theater"   Henry Jackman 2:00
22. "The Rampant Hunter" (iTunes exclusive) Henry Jackman 5:30
Total length:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER | British Board of Film Classification. Bbfc.co.uk. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  2. ^ BoxOffice® — Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Boxoffice.com (2012-06-22). Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  3. ^ Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012). Box Office Mojo (2012-09-20). Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  4. ^ a b c Abrams, Rachel; Oldham, Stuart (January 27, 2011). "Ben Walker is Abe Lincoln, 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety. 
  5. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (March 2, 2011). "'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' star Anthony Mackie: Our movie will be educational". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ a b Abrams, Rachel (February 17, 2011). "Fox finds Mary Todd Lincoln for 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety. 
  7. ^ Abrams, Rachel (April 12, 2011). "Rufus Sewell to play villain in 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety. 
  8. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (February 25, 2011). "Jimmi Simpson joins 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety. 
  9. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (March 17, 2011). "Alan Tudyk joins 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety. 
  10. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4377062/
  11. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (March 2, 2010). "Tim Burton to produce 'Abraham Lincoln'". Variety. 
  12. ^ McClintock, Pamela (October 4, 2010). "'Abraham Lincoln' logs film rights sale". Variety. 
  13. ^ a b Abrams, Rachel (February 10, 2011). "Dominic Cooper stakes key role in 'Abe Lincoln'". Variety. 
  14. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (October 29, 2010). "Fox's 'Vampire Hunter' to open in 2012". Variety. 
  15. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer Hits the Web". Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ ""Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" Holds NYC Premiere". GossipCenter. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  17. ^ 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' screens film for deployed troops - 06/15/2012 | Entertainment News from. OnTheRedCarpet.com (2012-06-15). Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  18. ^ Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes
  19. ^ Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More - Metacritic
  20. ^ Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Movie Review: Four-score and Seven Corpses | Entertainment | TIME.com
  21. ^ Review: `Abraham Lincoln' a murky, joyless hunt - KansasCity.com
  22. ^ Brave | Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter | To Rome With Love | Pixar Plays It Safe | Film Reviews by Joe Morgenstern - WSJ.com
  23. ^ ‘Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter,’ with Benjamin Walker, is not a bloody good combination - NY Daily News
  24. ^ ‘Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter’ - NYTimes.com
  25. ^ Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Film Calendar - The Austin Chronicle
  26. ^ 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' finely dices history – USATODAY.com
  27. ^ Honest Abe slays demons in 'Vampire Hunter'
  28. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=abrahamlincolnvampirehunter.htm
  29. ^ Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Blu-ray. Blu-ray.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-25.
  30. ^ "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved 2013-03-31. 
  31. ^ "iTunes - Music - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Henry Jackman". Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Amazon.com: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Various Artists: Music". Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Linkin Park’s 'Powerless' Featured in Trailer for "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" Movie". Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Powerless ("Book of the Lincoln / secret" ending theme movie) - Single LINKIN PARK" iTunes October 31, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  35. ^ Gallo, Phil (2012-06-13). "Linkin Park Score 'Abe Lincoln' End Credits". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 

External links[edit]