Updated date:

"Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies" Review

Author:

I have a weakness for cheesy, "so bad they're good" low budget horror, sci-fi or action movies. I watch'em so you don't have to!

it-came-from-the-bargain-bin-abraham-lincoln-vs-zombies-2012

"Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies" (2012)

Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Baby Norman, Jason Vail

Directed by: Richard Schenkman

The Asylum, the low-budget B-movie makers famed for their cheap knockoffs of big-budget studio films, hit one out of the park with 2012's Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies.

In case it isn't immediately obvious, this was a not-so-subtle bite (pun not intended) off of 20th Century Fox's 2012 historical horror flick Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. When AL vs. Z. landed at my local RedBox kiosk, I had a free rental coming to me, so I simply couldn't resist picking it up. Rest assured, when the Great Emancipator meets The Asylum, historical accuracy gets firmly knocked on its ass!

Trailer:

The Story...(WARNING: Spoilers!)

Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies' prologue introduces Honest Abe as a young boy working in the fields at the family homestead. When his beloved Mama unexpectedly becomes zombie-fied, it's up to poor Abe to put her out of her misery with his handy-dandy scythe. Betcha that's gonna leave some mental scarring. When we rejoin Abe (Bill Oberst Jr.) after the opening credits, he's now President of the United States, preparing to travel to Gettysburg to deliver his famed Address. Before he can board his carriage to take him there, however, he receives a report of a failed Union attack on a Confederate fort, and he's told that the lone survivor of the battle has begun to exhibit peculiar tendencies... like, for example, an urge to munch on human flesh. When Lincoln sees the "infected" man he immediately recognizes the problem and takes charge of the situation, assembling a squadron of 12 Secret Service agents to join him on a mission deep behind enemy lines to destroy the source of the zombie outbreak.

Honest Abe... Action Hero!

...so that's the setup, and Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies wastes little time before getting into the zombie action. Lincoln and his men are besieged by the undead virtually from the moment they step off their train, and have to battle their way inside the nearly-deserted Confederate fort. Once inside the relative safety of the fortress, they meet a handful of Confederate survivors, including General Stonewall Jackson (Don McGraw, in a hilarious fake beard), none of whom are exactly thrilled to see Abraham Lincoln in their midst. The Confederates think the zombies are merely "sick" people in need of medical treatment, and it takes some time for Abe to convince them that there's only one way to "cure" a zombie.

From there...well, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies follows this pattern: Lincoln and his men get attacked, they kick some zombie ass. They get attacked again, they kick more zombie ass, lather, rinse, repeat. When Abe makes his way to a nearby town in hopes of contacting help via telegraph, he encounters his former love Mary Owens hiding out in her cellar with some other survivors, including a pre-teen Teddy Roosevelt. (In an apparent effort to make high school history teachers palpitate with rage, Western cowboy legend Pat Garrett and future Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth also make appearances.) Abe pledges to get them out of there alive and brings everyone back to the fort, where General Jackson and his men have finally come around to Abe's way of thinking about how to deal with the undead. Thus, the Union men and the Confederates put aside their differences and work together to set a final trap in hopes of putting an end to the zombie threat. I will leave it up to the viewer to discover the final result for themselves, but I will add that the ending of the film provides some new insights into the so-called "conspiracy theories" behind Lincoln's eventual assassination.

So Is It Worth A Look?

Obviously, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies is a fairly ridiculous film, but despite the low-budget presentation and outlandish concept, I have to admit that I actually rather enjoyed it. As Asylum films go, this may be one of their better ones - it looks like the studio actually put some time and effort into it. Bill Oberst Jr. does a particularly nice job with his portrayal of Lincoln - rather than camp it up in the role, he portrays the 16th president as soft-spoken and dignified, yet still ready to open up a can of 19th century whoop-ass when one is needed!

This is also one of the few Asylum films that doesn't feature "stunt casting" of any has-been television or film actors from days gone by, which actually works to the film's advantage. By using a cast of unknowns, "Abraham" won't garner much name recognition, but on the other hand, the audience might actually pay attention to the film itself rather than constantly pointing at the screen and saying "Hey, look! It's Greg Brady! How'd he end up in this thing?" I sincerely doubt that the costumes and set pieces are 100 percent historically accurate but hey, at least it looks like they tried. The film was shot in Savannah, Georgia, and as I understand it the production had some help from groups of local Civil War re-enactors to get the film's "look" right. As for the zombies, there sure are a lot of'em but they're generic looking at best; the extent of the zombie "makeup" appears to be liberal amounts of pancake face powder and lots of fake blood. If you're expecting vivid, gory "Walking Dead" style details, look elsewhere.

In the end, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies provided more than a few chuckles and sometimes that's all you need to have a good time with a B-movie. If you've already seen Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and can't get enough of our 16th president as a slayer of supernatural beasts, then Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies will provide an entertaining extra dose of tongue-in-cheek historical horror.

© 2012 Keith Abt

Comments

M. T. Dremer from United States on September 27, 2014:

I remember seeing this movie on Netflix. But, sadly, I never watched it. I was disappointed by the movie adaptation of Vampire Hunter (the book is surprisingly good). So I didn't have very high hopes for this knock-off. However, after your review, I think I'm going to start looking for it again. Voted up!

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on September 25, 2012:

Hey Hunter... glad you enjoyed and honored that you used my recommendation to pick your movie... hope you win your weekly contest!! Let me know how it turns out.

Hunter on September 25, 2012:

Thanks for reviewing Abraham Lincoln Versus Zombies, FatFreddysCat! I have a weekly contest with a couple of my coworkers at DISH to see who can find the best/worst B movie. After reading your review I had to add it to the top of my Blockbuster @Home rental queue, so I should have it in a day or two; just in time for the contest. This movie looks bad, but I hope it’s enough to beat last weeks “winner”, FDR: American Badass, but that’s going to be a tough one to top. What is it with all of these presidential horror spoofs?

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on July 29, 2012:

Haha, cool. It's definitely worth a few laughs.

Liv Carradine from Los Angeles, CA on July 28, 2012:

Man, this movie just showed up on my Netflix today. My daughter thought it sounded so stupid she wasn't going to watch it. I told her the fact that it was released this year and is already on video means it was a drag. We haven't watched it yet but maybe I will after reading this hub. I could use a few laughs.

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 08, 2012:

Yep, I'd say "silly fun" is the best way to describe this one. Thanx for the comment, Robwrite.

Rob from Oviedo, FL on June 08, 2012:

This sounds like silly fun. It's interesting how Honest Abe is becoming so popular in films lately (Speilberg's Lincoln Bio-pic and the 'Vampire Hunter' films coming out, as well as this cheesy film) almost 150 years after his death. I guess zombies and vampire stories are appropriate for a President who's body was once grave-robbed.

Thanks for the review,

Rob

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 08, 2012:

I have yet to see "Bubba" though it's been on my radar for a while, love me some Bruce Campbell so I will get to it eventually!

FreedomMetal from Somewhere In Time on June 08, 2012:

I just may check this one out! I am looking forward to the real one. On a similar note, have you seen Bubba Ho-Tep? Elvis (Bruce Campbell as Elvis) and JFK (Ossie Davis) vs a mummy, great flick!

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 08, 2012:

I wouldn't be surprised if it turns up on SyFy Channel the same weekend that the "real" Abraham Lincoln movie opens, Shawn... so check your local listings, as the saying goes. Thanks for stopping by!

Shawn Dudley from Los Angeles, California on June 07, 2012:

I'll probably wait until Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter comes out before checking into this one. But it does peak my interest. Thanks for the entertaining review!

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 06, 2012:

Thanx alwritea!

Lisa Sumner from Vancouver on June 06, 2012:

Wow, very thorough and top notch review! Sounds like it might be worth a chuckle...

Voted up, funny and awesome!

Keith Abt (author) from The Garden State on June 05, 2012:

It's a hoot! Hope you enjoy it!

DS Duby from United States, Illinois on June 05, 2012:

Hilarious review, I may just have to check this one out.

Related Articles