Abraham Lincoln: He was our sixteenth president, the Great Emancipator and, of course, he was also a peerless vampire hunter. Oh, sure, that last part might have been glossed over in your high school history book, but that's fine, because the truth will finally be revealed when "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" hits theaters this week.
You don't need to wait four score and seven years to get answers, though, because we have everything there is to know about "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" right now.
Release Date: June 22
Star Power: While "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" doesn't quite have any of today's A-listers, it does have at least two of tomorrow's: Dominic Cooper, who wowed fans in "Captain America: The First Avenger" and critics in "The Devil's Double," and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whose career arc has been meteoric since "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." Bonus: The film also boasts droopy-eyed cult fave Rufus Sewell of "Dark City" fame.
Next Factor: Cooper and Winstead aren't the only up-and-coming talents in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," though. There's also Honest Abe himself, Benjamin Walker. Walker already has a pretty gnarly résumé despite his young age -- he was in Clint Eastwood's acclaimed drama "Flags of Our Fathers," just for one -- but "Abraham Lincoln" is poised to take him to the next level. One sign of Hollywood's faith in his potential? He's already working on his next movie, "Paradise Lost" opposite Bradley Cooper. Not too shabby.
Behind the Camera: Director Timur Bekmambetov is on the verge of being the most difficult to pronounce household name in Hollywood. (Step aside, Michel Hazanavicius.) Hardcore fans already know that before his frenetic mainstream debut, the Angelina Jolie shoot-em-up "Wanted," Bekmambetov helmed the acclaimed cult smash Russian horror trilogy "The Night Watch."
Movie Math: Ken Burns' "The Civil War" ÷ "Twilight" x "Wanted"
Backstory: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" has a pretty solid pedigree as these things go (these things being "movies about dead presidents who battle undead monstrosities"). It's based on the book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, who previously made his name with the bestseller that kicked off the whole genre mashup craze, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Fans desperately hoping to see "Middlemarch" in space should keep their fingers crossed.
Also Check Out: The First "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" Trailer Is Killer
In a Nutshell: The basic idea is, well, pretty obvious. It's right in the title, after all. But since this is a movie and not a postcard, there has to be a little bit more to the plot, so here goes: When a young Abraham Lincoln (Walker) discovers that his mother was killed by vampires, he sets out on a quest to avenge her. With the help of a benevolent vampire (Cooper), Lincoln secretly trains as the ultimate vampire slayer (sorry, Buffy); his training ends up saving our very nation when the evil vampires of the deep South start the Civil War in an attempt to conquer humanity.
The Buzz: When you combine an edgy bestseller with a director who brings his own cult following, you've got a recipe for buzz -- and that's before you even add in the vampires. Plus, thanks to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (or … something), interest in Abraham Lincoln seems to be at an all-time high, what with Steven Spielberg also putting out a Lincoln movie later this year. It all adds up to one of the coolest and most interesting pop culture convergences in recent memory.
Why We're Psyched: It's Lincoln killing vampires. Honestly, it couldn't be simpler than that. But just in case you need more, we have to admit that with this year's presidential election cycle seeming to drag on for an eternity, we could really use both a good old-fashion action film as well as a reminder of just how great some of our nation's leaders can be. Great with an ax and wooden stake, that is. The final lesson of American History 101: Don't f**k with Abe Lincoln.
Originally published Feb. 15, 2012.