Ever since production for "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" began, a lot of friends or mine have been asking me how I feel about the movie. Primarily because when I was in college, I wrote a screenplay called "Abe Lincoln's War" - Which depicted President Abraham Lincoln as a badass action hero, very similar to his character in ALVH.
In no way I am accusing the people who made "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" from stealing any ideas from me. In fact, the movie is based on a book that predates my script anyway (I was unaware of the book until the film started getting buzz). Besides, my story and idea for "Abe Lincoln's War" is pretty different than "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" - It basically tells the story of the Civil War with all of the rules of historical accuracy thrown out the window - Whereas ALVH focuses more on Lincoln's life and personal battles.
Aside from "Army of Darkness" and "History of the World, Part I", the movie that inspired my idea was Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards", which hit the theaters the summer before my screenwriting class. I remember seeing an interview with Tarantino on TV, and he talked about how he was not that concerned with making a historically accurate movie like "Saving Private Ryan" or "Braveheart" - He wanted to have fun with "Inglorious Bastards" as opposed to presenting a factual story from World War II.
You can read my script here. Basically, President Abraham Lincoln is always angry and yelling at people. The Confederacy is overwhelmingly powerful, as they use lasers to gun down the Union while wearing their highly protective motorcycle helmets and spiked shoulder pads for armor. Confederacy President Jefferson Davis is a cyborg with a black cape, and rides around on a triceratops. After the Union wins the war, Davis kidnaps Lincoln's daughter in a last ditch effort to keep the South. When someone informs Lincoln that he does not in fact have a daughter, he picks up a shotgun and states "In this movie I do" and cocks the shotgun. Lincoln and Davis settle the dispute via sword fight in the Confederate Castle.
I apologize for any typos or errors in the script. I never got a chance to fully proofread and edit it down. I took the screenwriting class as an elective during my final semester of college. I couldn't worry about proofreading my script because I had bigger fish to fry in the classes that I needed to pass to graduate. I also had a lot of beer that I needed to drink.
With all of that said, there was no way I was about to miss out on one of America's greatest Presidents hacking vampires to death. In all honesty, I'm rather glad this movie was created for two reasons. First, it would be pretty difficult to attain the budget for my movie idea in the first place. And secondly, seeing how empty the theater was (only made $16 million opening weekend), it's pretty safe to assume that any idea similar would not do much better in the box office.
If I had the rights to ALVH, I would make it into a series: Make a movie, book, or what have you for every President. Such as Theodore Roosevelt: Werewolf Assassin, or Andrew Jackson: Indian Remover. The possibilities are endless!
As far as the film goes - If you're a fan of dark action movies, you're gonna love ALVH. I was actually impressed with how creepy and frightening the vampires were in the movie, I actually jumped out of my seat a couple of times. The action sequences are also awesome, as Lincoln primarily uses a silver axe to save America. The scenery and costumes are also well done for a period piece.
About 15 minutes into the movie, a couple sat down in front of me with their son, who I'm guessing was between 3-5 years old. I'm no father of the year, but I'm pretty sure that a movie with as much violence and graphic images as ALVH is not the best thing to show to your kids. I had to move 10 rows down because the kid kept whining and crying during the movie. Is it really that difficult to find a baby sitter for two fucking hours?
On the other hand, the story and acting were not all that great. To be honest, I really couldn't tell you what the movie was about because the plot was not thoroughly explained. It's not like there were anything major plot holes or inconsistencies with the story, but the movie did a poor job of drawing me in and keeping my interest. It felt like things just happened, like the vampires were bad guys just because they were evil. And while the vampires looked and acted badass, I was disappointed in Adam (the primary antagonist). Great villains are essential for quality action movies. If you don't hate the villain, don't think (s)he's a real bad motherfucker, or feel that (s)he's overwhelmingly powerful, then why give a shit whether or not the hero succeeds in the first place?
And for an action movie, there are not any quality one-liners or puns. In one scene, a vampire and Lincoln are face-to-face, in which the vampire asks "Where's your silver now?", to which Lincoln responds by saying "Right here!" as he wraps a necklace around his fist to punch him. "Right here"? Is that really the best that they could come up with? Considering Lincoln socked him one right in the stomach, I would have had him say something like "Check your kidneys!"
That's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" in a nutshell. If you love action, history, and/or watching vampires getting slaughtered, then I highly recommend you see this flick on the big screen. It's a pretty fun movie to watch. Otherwise, wait for it to be on TNT or some other station in ten years when there's nothing else to watch on TV.