Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When You Think You’re a Vampire, or Thoughts on George A. Romero’s Martin

George A. Romero’s most cinematic film, Martin (1978) is a Hitchcock-esque horror thriller that follows a modern vampire serial killer.  John Amplas, with a 70’s Johnny Depp sullen teen vibe portrays the title character, who claims to be 85 and born in 1892 and victim of a family curse, and lives with his Uncle Cuda who insists on calling him Nosferatu and hanging up garlic in the doorways.  It’s hard to have sympathy for Martin because he’s an actual serial killer who drugs women and bathes in their blood (in the days before DNA and forensic science).  He is methodical in his planning, or stalking, but awkward and withdrawn in most social situations.  It’s almost as if he comes alive only when he’s killing, and then retreats once again, back into his lonely shell.
The movie is in color, but there are ambiguous black and white flashbacks or fantasies, where the director leaves it up to the viewer as to whether there’s something supernatural going on, or he’s just another teen killer with a blood fetish.  Reminiscent of Psycho (1960) in both subject matter and tone, Martin holds a well deserved 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is arguably his best film if we discount Night of the Living Dead (1968).  Watch out for Tom Savini’s cameo as Arthur, Martin’s cousin Christina’s boyfriend.

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