Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a 2012 American action horror film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and based on the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, depicting a fictionalized history of the American Civil War with the eponymous 16th president of the United States reimagined as having a secret identity as a lifelong vampire hunter fighting against a caste of vampiric slave owners. Benjamin Walker stars as Abraham Lincoln with supporting roles by Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, and Marton Csokas.

Abraham Lincoln:
Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTimur Bekmambetov
Screenplay bySeth Grahame-Smith[a]
Based onAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Produced by
CinematographyCaleb Deschanel
Edited byWilliam Hoy
Music byHenry Jackman
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • June 18, 2012 (2012-06-18) (New York City)
  • June 22, 2012 (2012-06-22) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$69–99.5 million[2][3]
Box office$116.4 million[2]

The film was produced by Tim Burton, Bekmambetov, and Jim Lemley, with Simon Kinberg as an executive producer. Filming began in Louisiana in March 2011 and the film was released in Real D 3D on June 20, 2012 in the United Kingdom and June 22, 2012 in the United States. The film received mixed reviews, with critics praising the visual style, action sequences, originality, Walker's performance and Henry Jackman's musical score, but criticism was aimed at its screenplay, the overly serious and inconsistent tone, overuse of CGI, and pacing. The film also failed to meet expectations at the box office, grossing $116 million worldwide against the budget of $69-$99 million.


In 1818, Abraham Lincoln lives in Indiana with parents Nancy, and Thomas who works at a plantation owned by Jack Barts. There, Abraham befriends a young African-American boy, William Johnson,[4] and intervenes when he sees Johnson being beaten by a slaver. Because of his son's actions, Thomas is fired. That night, Abraham sees Barts break into his house and attack Nancy. She falls ill, dying the next day. Thomas tells Abraham that Barts poisoned Nancy.

Nine years later, Abraham decides to get revenge. He shoots Barts at the docks, but Barts, who is actually a vampire, overpowers him. However, before Barts can kill him, Lincoln is rescued by Henry Sturgess, who had earlier met him as a gun fell out of Lincoln's pocket. Sturgess explains that vampires exist, and offers to teach Lincoln to be a vampire hunter. Lincoln accepts and, after a decade of training, travels to Springfield, Illinois. Sturgess tells Lincoln that the vampires in America descend from Adam, a powerful vampire who owns a plantation in New Orleans with his sister, Vadoma. Sturgess also tells Lincoln of the vampires' weakness, silver, and presents him with a silver pocket watch.

In Springfield, Lincoln befriends shopkeeper Joshua Speed, and meets Mary Todd. Though Sturgess warned him not to form close relationships, Lincoln develops romantic feelings for Mary. While in Springfield, Lincoln hunts vampires named in letters by Sturgess.

Lincoln successfully finds and defeats Barts. Before dying, Barts reveals that Sturgess is also a vampire. Lincoln confronts Sturgess, who reveals that, several years ago, he was bitten by Adam. Because Sturgess' soul was impure, he became a vampire, and that prevented him from harming Adam or other vampires (since "Only the living can kill the dead"). Sturgess has since been training vampire hunters, hoping to destroy Adam.

Disappointed, Lincoln decides to abandon his mission. However, Adam learns of his activities and kidnaps Johnson to lure Lincoln into a trap at his plantation. Adam captures Lincoln and tries to recruit him, revealing his plans to turn America into a nation of the undead. Speed rescues his friends, and they escape to Ohio.

Lincoln marries Mary Todd and begins his political career, campaigning to abolish slavery. Sturgess warns Lincoln that the slave trade keeps vampires under control, as vampires use slaves for food, and if Lincoln interferes, the vampires will retaliate. After Lincoln's election as President of the United States of America, he moves to the White House with Mary, where they have a son, William Wallace Lincoln. William is later bitten by Vadoma and dies.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis convinces Adam to deploy his vampires on the front lines. Lincoln orders the confiscation of all the silverware in the area and has it melted to produce silver weapons. Speed, supposedly believing that Lincoln is tearing the nation apart, defects and informs Adam that Lincoln will transport the silver by train.

On the train, Adam and Vadoma, who have set fire to an upcoming trestle, attack Lincoln, Sturgess, and Johnson. During the fight, in which Speed is killed, Adam learns that the train holds only rocks. Lincoln reveals that Speed's betrayal was a ruse to lure Adam into a trap. Lincoln uses his watch to punch Adam, killing him, and the three escape the train before the burning trestle beneath it collapses. Meanwhile, Mary and the ex-slaves have transported the silver to Gettysburg through the Underground Railroad.

The now-leaderless Confederate vampires stage a final, massive assault and are met head-on by the Union. Armed with their silver weapons, the Union soldiers destroy the vampires and eventually win the war. Before the battle, Mary recognizes Vadoma and avenges her son by shooting Vadoma in the head with a silver necklace bearing the sword of one of William's toy soldiers.

Nearly two years later, on April 14, 1865, Sturgess tells Lincoln that the remaining vampires have fled the country. Sturgess tries to convince Lincoln to allow him to turn Lincoln into a vampire, so he can become immortal and keep fighting vampires, but Lincoln declines.

In modern times, Sturgess approaches a man at a bar in Washington, D.C., just as he once did Abraham. Upon slapping his back, a gun falls to the floor.


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.[12] Fox beat other studios in a bidding war for rights to the film the following October.[13]

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.[5] Additional actors were cast in the following February.[7][9][14] Filming began in March 2011 in Louisiana.[5][14] The film had a budget of $99.5 million and was produced in 3D.[3]


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.[15][16] The movie premiered in New York City on June 18.[17] 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 1,800 sailors aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, just before its Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News, Virginia.[18] 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 servicemembers.[19]


As of November 9, 2014, Rotten Tomatoes reports a "rotten" approval score of 34%, based on 190 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."[20] The movie also garnered a "mixed or average" score of 42 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 35 reviews.[21]

Richard Corliss of Time magazine stated that "The historical epic and the monster movie run on parallel tracks, occasionally colliding but never forming a coherent whole."[22] Christy Lemire of Associated Press meanwhile, commented 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.[23] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal agreed, writing, "Someone forgot to tell the filmmakers ... that the movie was supposed to be fun. Or at least smart."[24]

Joe Neumaler of New York Daily News gave 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."[25] The title was praised by Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, who added, "it's too bad someone had to spoil things by making a movie to go with it."[26]

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."[27] USA Today reviewer Scott Bowles remarked, "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.[28] Further acclaim came from Joe Williams of St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who called it "the best action movie of the summer," praised the film for presenting "a surprisingly respectful tone toward American values and their most heroic proponent", calling "the battlefield scenes [...] suitably epic" and commended leading star Benjamin Walker, "a towering actor who looks like a young Liam Neeson and never stoops to caricature."[29]

Box officeEdit

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.[2] On its opening domestic weekend, it grossed $16.3 million from 3,108 theaters. In its second domestic weekend, it suffered a 63.1% drop, while gaining one theater. On its third weekend, it lost nearly half of its theater count, and another 67.6% in gross.[30]

Home mediaEdit

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D in the United States and Canada on October 23, 2012.[31]


Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2013 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Supporting Young Actor Ten and Under Cameron M. Brown Nominated [32]


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.[33][34] 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".[35] 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.[36]

1."Childhood Tragedy"0:54
3."What Do You Hate?"1:15
4."Power Comes from Truth"2:29
5."You Are Full of Surprises"1:15
6."Mary Todd"1:56
7."The Horse Stampede"3:15
8."Henry Sturges"0:55
10."Rescue Mission"1:15
12."All Slave to Something"2:49
14."Haunted by the Past"3:00
15."Battle at Gettysburg"0:49
16."Forging Silver"1:40
17."80 Miles"1:52
18."The Burning Bridge"3:41
19."Not the Only Railroad"1:38
20."The Gettysburg Address"2:22
21."Late to the Theater"2:00
22."The Rampant Hunter" (iTunes exclusive)5:30
Total length:45:32
Promotional single
23."Powerless[37]"Linkin Park3:44

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Simon Kinberg was credited for screenplay with Grahame-Smith, but later went uncredited, only serving as an executive producer.


  1. ^ "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 11, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)". Box Office Mojo. September 20, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Budget Info". Louisiana Economic Development. June 15, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Randee Dawn (June 20, 2012). "Anthony Mackie stakes claim to role in 'Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter'". today.com. Today (American TV program). Retrieved January 12, 2021. Mackie said his character, onetime slave Will Johnson, is based on a real individual who was freed and employed by the president.
  5. ^ a b c Abrams, Rachel; Oldham, Stuart (January 27, 2011). "Ben Walker is Abe Lincoln, 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety.
  6. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (March 2, 2011). "'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' star Anthony Mackie: Our movie will be educational". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ a b Abrams, Rachel (February 17, 2011). "Fox finds Mary Todd Lincoln for 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety.
  8. ^ Abrams, Rachel (April 12, 2011). "Rufus Sewell to play villain in 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety.
  9. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (February 25, 2011). "Jimmi Simpson joins 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety.
  10. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (March 17, 2011). "Alan Tudyk joins 'Vampire Hunter'". Variety.
  11. ^ "Cameron M. Brown". IMDb.
  12. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (March 2, 2010). "Tim Burton to produce 'Abraham Lincoln'". Variety.
  13. ^ McClintock, Pamela (October 4, 2010). "'Abraham Lincoln' logs film rights sale". Variety.
  14. ^ a b Abrams, Rachel (February 10, 2011). "Dominic Cooper stakes key role in 'Abe Lincoln'". Variety.
  15. ^ McClintock, Pamela (October 29, 2010). "Fox's 'Vampire Hunter' to open in 2012". Variety.
  16. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer Hits the Web". Release Date.net. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  17. ^ ""Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" Holds NYC Premiere". GossipCenter. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  18. ^ Shapiro. Michael Welles (March 28, 2013). "USS Lincoln arrives at Newport News shipyard". Daily Press.
  19. ^ McKay, Hollie (July 15, 2012). "'Abraham Lincoln' cast sets new precedent by screening film for troops deployed in Middle East". Fox News. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  20. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". Rotten Tomatoes.
  21. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". Metacritic.
  22. ^ Corliss, Richard. "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Four-score and Seven Corpses". Time.
  23. ^ "Review: 'Abraham Lincoln' a murky, joyless hunt". The Kansas City Star. June 20, 2012.
  24. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (June 21, 2012). "Pixar's Disneyfied 'Brave' Plays It Safe". The Wall Street Journal.
  25. ^ "Review: 'Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter' is a mis-stake". Daily News. New York.
  26. ^ Dargis, Manohla (June 21, 2012). "Slaying With Silver in 19th-Century South: 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'". The New York Times.
  27. ^ "Film Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". Austin Chronicle. June 22, 2012.
  28. ^ "'Abraham Lincoln' finely dices history". USA Today. June 22, 2012.
  29. ^ Williams, Joe. "Honest Abe slays demons in 'Vampire Hunter'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  30. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Box Office Mojo". BOM
  31. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  32. ^ "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on April 3, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
  33. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Henry Jackman". iTunes Store. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  34. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Various Artists: Music". Amazon. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  35. ^ Bowar, Chad (June 18, 2012). "Linkin Park's 'Powerless' Featured in Trailer for 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Movie". LoudWire. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
  36. ^ "Powerless ("Book of the Lincoln / secret" ending theme movie) – Single LINKIN PARK". iTunes Store. October 31, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  37. ^ Gallo, Phil (June 13, 2012). "Linkin Park Score 'Abe Lincoln' End Credits". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2012.

External linksEdit