Awfully Good: Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies
Another big summer movie released, another cheap DTV knockoff hits shelves!
Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)
Director: Richard Schenkman
Stars: Bill Oberst Jr., Jason Vail, Ronald Ogden
Is there a plot?
Pretty much just the title.
What's the damage?
Go call your loved ones. The Mayans were right. The end of the world is upon us: The Asylum—the "studio" behind such beloved cash-ins as TITANIC II, ALMIGHTY THOR and PRINCESS OF MARS—has actually made a movie that isn't completely, offensively awful. It pains me to say it, but I kinda dug ABRAHAM LINCOLNS VS. ZOMBIES.
Missed One-Liner Opportunity: "I nominate you as my HEAD of State!"
The crucial element here is Bill Oberst Jr., the guy who plays the title character. Oberst is legitimately great in the role and his presidential chops suggest he could actually play Lincoln in a biopic that didn't involve dismembering heads every five minutes. Not only does he look and act the part, but he's also appropriately badass as a scythe-wielding zombie slayer. And with a solid captain at the helm, the plot—which sees the President leading a small group of Secret Service agents to make a last undead stand at Fort Pulaski—doesn't seem as silly. (Even if it is a bit convenient that the leader of the free world just happens to be the one person with firsthand zombie experience.) Add to that some decent kills and an enjoyably serious tone, and you can see why this flick caught me off guard. Plus, there's something to be said about the novelty of watching our 16th President ziplining away from an explosion.
"Damn zombies always messing up my croquet games."
That's not to say ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES is an actual good movie, because most other aspects of it are typical Asylum garbage. It's extremely repetitive, the script is filled with terrible lines ("Emancipate this!") and most of the other actors besides Oberst pretty much suck post-colonial wastewater. (The noticeably phony facial hair cross the board doesn't help.)
Why isn't this on the penny instead?
But thankfully there is no shortage of wacky and ridiculous things to elevate the flick to Awfully Good status:
- To keep the film from being a complete sausage fest, Lincoln and Co. stumble upon a MILF hooker and her hot prostitute daughter. It gets complicated when we find out the elder escort and the President formerly had a booty call arrangement and he's still madly in love with her. She even inspires direct lines in the Gettysburg Address.
- Like their human counterparts, the zombies fall asleep at night. While an interesting addition to undead lore, this development also makes killing them in this unconscious state laughably less exciting.
His resolve was Stonewall. His gastrointestinal system…not so much.
- The movie pulls a FORREST GUMP and sees the President run in to a variety of famous Civil War-era faces, like General Stonewall Jackson, wild west lawman Pat Garrett and even his own assassin John Wilkes Booth. Perhaps the most ludicrous of all is when Lincoln meets and mentors a young Teddy Roosevelt. The President allows him to fight with them despite the fact he's like 7 years old, giving us such memorable moments as Lincoln handing the future President a big stick and telling him to walk softly in order to kill zombies, or seeing Teddy Roosevelt on Abraham Lincoln's shoulders picking off the undead with a rifle. Also, if you ever worried that you'd never in your life see a film credit for "Zombie Decapitated by Teddy Roosevelt," you're in luck.
- Speaking of John Wilkes Booth, his character is actually an undercover agent in Lincoln's Secret Service, which is supposed to be a big twist except for the fact that the first time you see “Wikinson” at the beginning of the film you’re like, "Oh, that’s obviously John Wilkes Booth." His presence actually leads to a fun, if not clever, twist at the end. [SPOILER] Lincoln accidentally gets bitten by the now-zombie prostitute he loves (storing her in a shed SHAUN OF THE DEAD-style) and he knows he only has a limited amount of time left. So he writes to his nemesis John Wilkes Booth and asks him to "meet" him at Ford's Theater before he can turn. Scandalous! [/SPOILER]
Todd always won whenever his family played Cranium.
I've always said, if you're going to make a crappy direct-to-DVD movie like this, just embrace it and go for the gold. ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS. ZOMBIES sort of does this. There are much, much worse zombie movies out there, even from The Asylum. If you go in with low enough expectations, you might actually be surprised.
Some embarrassing line readings and equally bad one-liners.
A collection of the best and most ridiculous kills, almost all of which are decapitations.
A bit of Civil War-era prostitute cleavage, but nothing to write home about.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- There’s a beheading
- Someone is clearly not wearing period clothing
- A chicken ruins everything
Double shot if:
- Lincoln makes a rousing speech involving zombies