Martin (1978)

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Movie Review
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Directed By: George A Romero

Starring: John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel. Christine Forrest, Elayne Nadeau, Tom Savini

Subgenre: Vampires

Synopsis: Martin is sent to live with his Grand Uncle who suspects Martin of being a vampire.

Thoughts: There’s no doubt that when most people hear the name George Romero that they think of zombie.  The truth is that while Romero delivers on the walking dead (no, not the TV show), he has some pretty diverse movies in his history.  Martin is one of his most unique movies.  Throughout the movie, Martin has flashbacks of mobs hunting him as a vampire as he stalks his prey, but we never know for sure if Martin is a vampire.  Sure, he stalks women in his new town, drugging them and using a razor blade to cut them and drink their blood, but we never “see” anything supernatural going on.  The one person who is sure that Martin is a vampire is his Grand Uncle Tateh Cuda.  He threatens to stake Martin if he kills in his new town and goes to great measures to keep Martin in his room at night.

Martin marks the first collaboration between Romero and Tom Savini, who also played a supporting role in the movie.  While the effects were nowhere near as complex as some of the zombie movies, this marked an important milestone in Romero and Savini’s history.  John Amplas absolutely owns the screen as Martin, delivering a powerhouse performance.  I’ve never understood why Amplas didn’t go on to do more after this role.  His career consists mostly of working on Romero projects, so maybe he never bothered to pursue a Hollywood career. Anyways, he’s fantastic here.

There isn’t a wealth of dialogue here as Martin often prefers silence to trying to fit in, but Romero more than makes up for that with his wizardry behind the camera.  I never found my interest waning as I watched Martin, something I attest to Romero’s camera work and visual stimulation.  The look of Martin hasn’t held up well at all, with the fashions of the late 70s being very prevalent, but I think I prefer that than seeing this remade. 

Martin is a bit of a dark horse, but it may very well end up being one of my favorite Romero movies, although beating Night of the Living Dead will be very difficult indeed.  If you’ve never seen Martin, do yourself a favor and check it out.


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