‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ Trailer & New Images

3 years ago by  

20th Century Fox has made the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer and several new images available to us. You can view the videos via the player below.

As mentioned in our piece on the possibility of an Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter sequel, we were one of a few outlets included on a journey to Lincoln’s tomb and presidential library in Springfield, IL (keep an eye out for our interview with director Timur Bekmambetov and star Benjamin Walker as well as further details on the event).

The Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer is now online, and Screen Rant has the first look at this hybrid fantasy/historic drama:

As you can see, the emphasis in the teaser is establishing our 16th president as a but-kicking, name-taking supernatural hero. The filmmakers want to invite you into an imagined world in which everything is quite far from “what it seems.” Yet the trailer also hopes to maintain the iconography of Lincoln’s incredible and indelible true history.

While in Springfield, we were invited to screen the trailer and featurette as well as several sequences from the film with Bekmambetov, Walker, Seth Grahame-Smith (Writer/Author), and Jim Lemley (Producer) on hand for a Q&A. Producer Tim Burton made an appearance via a sufficiently strange and engaging black-and-white greeting from London (where he is finishing his work on another vampire offering, Dark Shadows). During his introduction, Burton stressed (in his own Burtonesque way) his passion and enthusiasm for the project. (How I wish I had that video to share with you today, reader. Alas, I will leave you with this: there was snow, Victorian cosplay and two frightening and beautiful human-mannequin women.)

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Exclusive 280x418 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer & New Images


Each member of the panel sought to clarify the film’s tone. “The title is the joke,” Walker said at one point, “the film is the fulfillment.”Meaning, they took a notion which is inherently somewhat silly and sought to ground it in such a way that it would resonate as real to an audience while still delivering on the action and entertainment elements.

Each reference to the actual honest Abe, however, is re-formed to establish him as what Grahame-Smith refers to as “the first real American hero…as an action hero.” The hat becomes an indication of a man who will take no prisoners, his axe a tool in a dark and hidden war against unspeakable horror. Lincoln’s words and speeches are utilized in the narrative as well, both in an out of their historical context. An unexpected side-effect of the smokey and haunting V.O. in the teaser, for me, was a burning need to hear a good amount of Johnny Cash music. I digress.

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The footage that we screened reflected some of the contemporary and impactful action that Bekmambetov is known for. There were also moments of humor between Ben Walker’s Lincoln and Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as a glimpse of the hero-by-night, lawyer-by-day as he attempts to come into his own as a slayer of all things evil and nefarious under the tutelage of  Dominic Cooper’s Henry Sturgess.

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The scene between Mary and Abe takes place in the first blush of their courtship. He, a young lawyer, takes his lady on a sweet romantic picnic. She, in a state of concern for his seeming constant state of exhaustion (and with perhaps a bit of feminine pique) asks what he has been doing with his nights. Being honest Abe, he opts to tell her the truth: he’s been busy slaying five, no wait six, vampires… She laughingly plays along with him, thinking it one big game, and the scene makes for a light and charming exchange between Walker and Elizabeth Winstead, giving us the sense, as the audience, that theirs may indeed be a relationship that we can become invested in.

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The scene between Sturgess and Lincoln takes place when Lincoln is a young man still grieving over the death of his mother (who was murdered by vampires before his helpless eyes). A Yoda-like Sturgess charges Lincoln with harnessing his rage (which serves as untapped power) in order to chop down a tree with one blow. Lincoln digs deeper and deeper to discover that his most potent emotion springs from his own inability to stop the creatures. With a single burst of nearly inhuman strength, visually depicted as a blast of light, he cuts down the tree, at which point a relentless Sturgess instructs him to now “do the rest of them” meaning, the forest.

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A third scene finds Lincoln on his first quest to hunt a vampire. He stumbles in his pursuit of a pharmacist to the the undead and is quickly sent through a trap door where he finds himself hanging upside down beside several unfortunate humans who have become blood Slurpee’s for the demon. We are left to wonder how the future preserver of the “united” in United States will find his way out of the mess. We hope it includes turning the tables on the nasty little shopkeeper, though. It’s bad business (and just plain rude) to drain the life’s blood from your clientele.

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“It’s gonna be very bloody,” Grahame-Smith promised horror fans. “Parts of it are gonna be very scary. But more than that – and this is a point of personal pride with me as a horror fan my whole life – this movie puts vampires back where they belong. And that’s as bad guys and not heartthrobs. They should be beheaded with an axe and not kissed by tweens. That’s what you can expect: badass vampires getting treated like the killers that they are.”

The film weaves the vampires into the real-life-story of the man in the same manner that Grahame-Smith integrated the reality of Lincoln’s legacy into his horror-fantasy. The Confederate army is infiltrated by the undead, who have a significant role to play in the cause and evolution of the Civil War. In fact, one of the scenes we saw depicted a marauding brood of vamps-as-Confederates charging (and violently decimating) the Union soldiers at Gettysburg. They are able to fight during the day, we were told, via the use of special sunglasses and the invention of sunscreen. (The pharmacist that Lincoln encountered seems to have been the creator of the vampire-grade #two-million SPF.)

Rufus Sewell and Eric Wasson Triumph over Ben Walkers Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer & New Images

Rufus Sewell (Adam) and Erin Wasson (Vadoma) temporarily triumph over Ben Walker's Abraham Lincoln.

Though the bulk of the film follows the same trajectory as Graham-Smith’s novel, there were some adjustments made to create a more cinematic rendering. Rufus Sewell’s Adam was introduced in order to create a central villain that the audience, through Lincoln, can focus on as a distinguishable foe to best. The other shifts were implemented in order to give the film a sizable climax, as well as to open it up to (potentially) become a franchise. We are not privy to the details of the altered ending, however. For that we will have to wait for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to open in theaters on June 22nd, 2012.

Stay tuned for more from the filmmakers as well as our trip to Springfield.

Follow me on twitter @jrothc

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  1. Looks really entertaining. Not expecting it to be the perfect story (much like wanted) but it looks great really excited to see this one.

  2. Stupid CGI fest with Matrix action… is no one able to make a real vampire movie anymore?

    • Daybreakers?

    • what is your idea of “a real vampire movie”?

    • Hey at least it’s better than Twilight.

  3. “Are you a patriot or a vampire?” Awesome tagline. So excited to see the book on screen (especially since the author is involved with the adapted screenplay). The trailer didn’t quell my excitement.

  4. Umm ahh NO

  5. Damn it, I was really hoping they weren’t going to go completely ridiculous with the action. That just killed the credibility for me entirely. Yeah, this is the guy who directed “Wanted” but that’s in a universe where that stuff is even feasible. This is Abe Lincoln we’re talking about, not Neo.

    • I agree Knight. The figthing in this look way too over the top. In the book Abe’s figthing was strong but it was rough and realistic. If he didn’t take a vampires head off in one blow then he was going to get his ass kicked. I can already tell this movie is going to draw out every fight in to some ridiculous set pieces. I am not too excited for this movie anymore after seeing this trailer.

    • What credibility? It’s Abe Lincoln fighting Vampires, not Abe Lincoln fighting slavery. It’s supposed to be an over the top action movie, that’s the whole point.

      • Zach,

        I haven’t read the book this is based on, but the point it if they’re going to use Abraham Lincoln, then where in the HELL did he get super-strength?


        • Abraham Lincoln is a Daywalker just like Blade thats how he got super-strength lol :)

        • Vic,
          I have read the book. He didn’t have super strength. He relentlessly trained to fight and was strong, but not super-human like the scene in the trailer with the tree. That’s why I liked the book. If Lincoln didn’t strike hard and quick, he got severely beaten and had to “luck” into his victory or be saved by outside interference. I’m hoping that scene is either a promotional shot for the trailer or a dream sequence, because there was a few of those in the text.

          • I shouldn’t say “luck” more like wait for the perfect moment to strike after being bloodied and battered almost to death.

          • If you research Abraham Lincoln, he was actually an extraordinarily strong person,EVEN for a strong person. He was a farmer. Think of it this way. At his best of days, he could probably take on today’s super weight champion…and win. Many people in his day considered his stregnth “super human”. It’s in historical texts. For a example, an insert from one of his many biographies:…”He enjoyed the brief distinction his exhibitions of strength gave him more than the admiration of his friends for his literary or forensic efforts. Some of the feats attributed to him almost surpass belief. One witness declares he was equal to three men, having on a certain occasion carried a load of six hundred pounds. At another time he walked away with a pair of logs which three robust men were skeptical of their ability to carry. “He could strike with a maul a heavier blow – could sink an axe deeper into wood than any man I ever saw.” is the testimony of another witness.”… So there u have it. Don’t blame the producers if they did their research and you didn’t. Sure, even I find it difficult imagining him do a triple spin jump from a chair with an axe! But if anyone mortal from that era could do it, it was Abe Lincoln. And hey, it’s Hollywood for Christs sake!

      • The fact that they keep going on and on about historical accuracy and being true to the character of Lincoln, and all of a sudden it’s just an over-the-top action film. I even feel a little cheated. They could have gone the slow, steady, suspenseful vampire flick with intrigue and some short, strong action mixed into Lincoln’ character development as a national hero. But no, they turned it into a political cartoon.

  6. Still looks great but not enough to go on in that trailer. Keeping fingers crossed.

  7. I’m predicting this will be the sleeper hit of the year.
    Sure those of us who follow sites like Screen Rant or have read the book know what’s coming but the average movie watcher has no idea that we are only a few months away from watching Honest Abe whoop on some Vamps.
    On a side note, I have to say I love the roles Mary Elizabeth Winstead has taken the past few years. She seems like the new go to actress for action films. To bad The Thing was pretty awful though.

  8. Oh wow, They seem to have dropped the ball here. This movie looks as stupid as that 3D musketeers movie. Even if they rebound with a “storyline” trailer that was semi-interesting it would do nothing for me based on these silly action sequences.


    • agreed >:(

  9. having read the book, i’m concerned about the ation set pieces and changes being made, but i still cant wait for this movie. the author made changes he wanted to make it seem more film quality. i hope the intimate stuff is still there. whether it be his encounters with henry or the vamps in the dark. to me still to this day, the scariest part of the book was the sequence when ae’s son is kidnapped. no spoilers on how it happened or how it turns out, but i still get chills when i think about it. i read it when my daughter was nearly one yrs old. so it creeped me out.

  10. Abraham Lincoln is actually Abraham Van Helsing that explain it all now LOL

    • This trailer sure looks as bad as that god-awful Van Helsing atrocity. It all ads up.

  11. this movie puts vampires back where they belong. And that’s as bad guys and not heartthrobs

    That’s what I’m looking for. I couldn’t see the trailer but will try to bring it up when I get home.

  12. one word: Awesome

  13. @roth what did you and the other people their think of the footage? Did you enjoy it?

  14. I’m geussing most people who commented on this post didn’t enjoy wanted…. cause if you were expecting anything less than slow motion insane action fight scenes from timur you were mistaken.

  15. I loved Wanted, everything aside from the cartoonish scene skipping flow of the flick was awesome especially the hyper-stylized physics of the world.

    -Please don’t compare this kaka to Wanted.

    • The fight scenes and their filmed is like wanted that’s all I was comparing.

  16. lmFao this is the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a while

  17. Looks alright to me. I just hope the finish poduct works out well.

  18. Looks like FUN. That’s what I was hoping for with this movie. Love the Johnny Cash bit too.

  19. Trailer’s pretty okay, it set a pretty good tone for the film – at the very least I’m sure it’s not some ridiculous parody-type film. If they can rein in the action then it’ll look to be a great film I think – I’m not looking for gritty realism in this, only plausibility, good acting and proper action.

    I can see they’re doing the hat thing right though. It’s pretty iconic.

  20. I was excited for this, but that trailer was meh

    • totally, his fighting should be raw axe hitting head bursting not fancy choreographed like matrix.

      • You know they’re not going to let ole honest Abe walk in there without mastering mastering every form of martial art

        • they ruined the character

  21. is it me or does every new trailer does the same thing. avengers amazing spider man this snow white and the huntsman and many more trailers follow exactly same pattern.

  22. I was already skeptical … now I am saddened.

  23. Waiting for the presidential sequel, “Teddy Roosevelt: Werewolf tamer”. Charging up San Juan hill to eliminate werewolves with the Rough Riders.


    JFK engaged in cold war space race with the Russians to prevent them from using aliens to conquer the free world. “JFK vs. E.T.” The cuban missile crisis was a Russian front for a tropical space port to transport aliens and their weapons.

    • We already revisited the Cuban Missile Crisis in X-Men: First Class.

    • They’ve already done it with the other Roosevelt. FDR: American Badass!. In it he fights Nazi Werewolves in his wheelchair of death. Been waiting for that one for awhile. :)

  24. So Lincoln was a super powered Vampire Hunter but a simple man killed assassinated him with a bullet? PASS!

  25. Looks like a good time to me. I also wouldn’t have minded a more horror-themed version of the premise, with old-school Nosferatu or Bram Stoker-style vampires (rather than Underworld-esque vampires as hinted in the trailer).

  26. Yay. Another Vampire flick. Just what the world needed. Hopefully these Vampires don’t sparkle when exposed to Sunlight. *ugh*

  27. Why am I getting a slight ‘Van Helsing’ vibe? Please “Sweet Baby Jesus” say it aint so!!