Maybe witches aren’t your thing, so you won’t be seeing Hansel and Gretel as part of your Steampunk Halloween. But everyone likes vampires, right? In 2010, author Seth Grahame-Smith penned an alternate history featuring America’s favorite president and pitted him against the forces of darkness. His vision became a movie in 2012 and it is another awesome choice for any steam-inspired fright fest.
What is it About?
Abe’s (Benjamin Walker) sojourn into the vampiric underworld starts when he is a child, though he doesn’t know it. His mother falls victim to a mysterious disease after his father stands up to his ruthless his boss, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Even as a child, Abraham knows that Barts is somehow behind his mother’s death. Once he is grown, he tries to take his revenge. To his shock, his bullets have no affect on Barts. Abe has to be rescued by a stranger whom he just met in the bar. The man calls himself Henry (Dominic Cooper) and tells Lincoln about how vampires are deeply involved in the slave trade as their source of food.
Abe is only interested in his own vendetta. But agrees to be a vampire hunter under Henry’s guidance in order to gain the skills he needs to finally take down Barts. After hunting a series of vampires one by one, Lincoln decides he can make a much bigger difference in the world as a politician than by wielding his special silver-bladed axe.
His life takes the shape of the history we know for a while, including his marriage to Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), presidential election, and the outbreak of the Civil War. But when the Southern politicians ally themselves with the vampires, unkillable soldiers start to tip the scales towards a Southern victory. Abe must confront them and the mastermind of their ascent to power (Rufus Sewell).
What I Thought of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Whether or not you know anything about the real Abraham Lincoln, this is a really fun and entertaining film. The effects are very special, and the lighting and camera work are Gothic and moody. This was a much better film than I expected just based on the premise. And as it turns out the author did a great job of integrating vampire lore into the politics of the mid-19th century and documented historical events.
Plus, it is a great action film. There is a fight scene that takes place during a stampede of horses, and a struggle on a speeding train that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It does not have the same ratio of dark comedy to action as Van Helsing or Brothers Grimm, but there are still some good lines and ironic twists that will make you smile. I will definitely be re-watching it to bring some “spook” to my “steam” again this year.