Review: Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies / Cert: TBC / Director: Richard Schenkman / Screenplay: Karl T. Hirsch, J. Lauren Proctor / Starring: Bill Oberst Jr, Chris Hlozek, Richard Schenkman, John Wilkinson / Release Date: (US) Out Now, (UK) July 16th
In the land of Mockbusters, The Asylum rules all. Then again, remember the phrase, caveat emptor.
Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies is a sluggishly directed film from a weak script. Kicking off with a pre-credits sequence, circa 1819, where a ten year old Abe Lincoln is ordered to kill his zombified mother by his father, who is bleeding to death due to his father's terrible marksmanship from three feet away. Before you can say, four score and seven years, Honest Abe plants one between her eyes and the credits role.
It is now approximately 1864. The Civil War rages. Abe Lincoln has sent out a group of Union Soldiers on Operation Big Shanty in order to take the Confederate held Fort Pulaski in Savannah, Georgia (considering Ft. Pulaski was taken by Union warships on April 11-12, 1862, but continuity, historical facts or the laws of physics don't apply here at the Asylum.) that have completely disappeared except for one, lone Confederate officer that was discovered who has become a raving madman.
Lincoln visits the soldier, realizes he's seen these symptoms once before as the soldier breaks loose and gnaws his way through the Union Army until Abe pulls out his custom made switchblade scythe and decapitates him. Taking ten Secret Service Agents with him (more like bodyguards, as the Secret Service wasn't created until after Lincoln's death in 1865 and not until 1901 was it responsible for presidential protection after President William McKinley's assassination) that include a double agent, openly, Southern sympathizer named John Wilkinson Boothe, a Union man that looks like ex-American Vice President Al Gore and to top it off; a railroad track, slow-motion walk shot homage to Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. All that was missing was the George Baker Selection's Little Green Bag song playing in the background. I guess this would make Abe Mr.Blonde with that scythe of his cutting off zombie heads. Steeler's Wheels, Stuck In the Middle With You comes to mind as the perfect theme song for him. Emancipate this!
Battling zombies (albeit, bargain rate zombies, but what do you expect on a reported budget of $150,000?), they arrive at the fort where they meet several Confederate survivors that include General Stonewall Jackson (who lost an arm and was killed accidentally by his own men in 1863) and Corporal Pat Garrett (yes, that Pat Garrett who never fought in the Civil War) who reluctantly join forces with our presidential zombie killer and what's left of his men.
Later, Abe's long lost love, Mary Owens, now a Southern brothel madame with a couple of her ladies and a ten year old, Teddy Roosevelt, whom Abe instructs to carry a big stick and walk softly around the zombies join up with the group before the final battle with the living dead.
The way this picture was heading, I was kind of hoping for Doctor Who, the gang from Tis Was or Thunderbird 2 landing to show up and help them out.
Oh, and Abe's explanation of why the dead have come back to life in the past forty years? It’s either black magic or bad meat. Gee, you couldn't think of something like a chemical or biological weapon that pre-steam punk scientists back in 1819 tested out on an unaware populace with uncontrollable results then decided to cover it up? Dr. Miguelito Lovelace is ashamed of you!
The director does use some local Civil War reenactment groups that add briefly to the production value and the costumes looked authentic, as Ed Wood would have said.
Aside from all the historical inaccuracies, laborious direction and bad script, it’s Bill Oberest Jr's stand out performance as Abe Lincoln that steals the show. He's worth watching and he's what saves the picture.