Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer swings for the neck

20th Century Fox has released its first trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, an adaption based on the popular book penned by Seth Grahme-Smith. 

Sure, it sounds like a really goofy idea: take the life of Abraham Lincoln, often cited as the greatest US president, and throw in some vampires.

It’s certainly going to be very different from the Lincoln bio-pic that Spielberg is currently working on, but the more I hear about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the more it seems like it takes itself as seriously as possible, using the vampires as a device to create a very social, yet character driven feature.

I’ll be honest. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this film. I haven’t read the book, and as I said, the concept seems silly. This trailer, however, makes it seem anything but goofy.

It seems to me like a genuinely large-scale attempt at an epic film – with relatable and interesting characters in a little-explored setting.

The most interesting shots are the axe-swinging combat scenes, which look fluidly choreographed, but I’m also really curious about the large-scale battle scenes, which I guess are a tie into the American civil war.

No official synopsis has yet been released, but we have this from the book the film is based on:

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.”

“My baby boy…” she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter hits theaters on June 22, 2012.