Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter trailer decapitates en masse

20th Century Fox has released the first red band trailer for its upcoming alternate history vampire brawler.

The new trailer offers a much clearer look at the fight scenes in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, something we were apparently not shown in the green band trailer due to frequent decapitation employed by the protagonist’s axe. (Note: red band trailers are not appropriate for all audiences – 17+ recommended).

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.

When I first heard about Vampire Slayer, I dismissed it out of hand, but the more I hear about the upcoming film, 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.

The fight scenes remind me of the great time-stretched action scenes of the latest Sherlock Holmes films, which is a style I’m seeing picked up more frequently in fight-centric films – not a trend I take issue with.

This synopsis is 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, which stars Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jimmi Simpson, Robin McLeavy, and Alan Tudyk hits theaters on June 22, 2012.