Martin (1978)


Hi, I’m Adam and I’m pretending to be a vampire. Well, a certain type of vampire, anyway. I think we’ve all gotten a bit too used to seeing vampires as either the classic cape and candles, the bone and fang nosferatu, the brooding emo or the sexy leather jacket – but, vampires can sometimes feel a little- closer to home. George Romero thought so. That’ll be why he made Martin.

Oh-kay. Well, they don’t make trailers like they used to, huh. Anyway, Martin opens on our eponymous hero boarding a train to Pittsburgh. As he does so, a young woman catches his eye, and as they set off, he prepares a syringe with sedative and slips into her carriage. In his head, he witnesses the romantic black and white vision of what he is about to do. A beautiful young woman, ushering her undead lover to her bed. We cut back to reality, and Martin has barged into a woman’s cabin who is far from seductive. He attacks her, injecting her with the syringe and soothing her to sleep.

And then he drinks her blood after slashing it from her wrist. Yes, Martin is a vampire, alright. But there are no supernatural powers here – just a man armed with drugs and switchblades, lapping at the blood as it sprays across his body. It’s- It’s not pleasant, and it’s not easy to watch, but this is our hero. As he arrives in Pittsburgh, he meets with Cuda, his elderly relative – his cousin, in fact. Cuda knows of Martin’s curse and vows to save his soul – and then destroy him utterly.

I say curse. There is a constant argument made throughout the film whether or not magic is real – and whether this is all just a result of Martin – and indeed Cuda – being mentally ill. It is never revealed one way or the other, only that Martin is a lost soul. Wandering the streets of Pittsburgh, Martin is one step out of society at all times. One character compares him to a cat – silent, but listening – and it’s not a bad comparison at all.

Martin is, quite simply, breathtaking. George Romero even claimed it to be his favourite work – and yet, it just doesn’t seem to exist. Like, anywhere. I hadn’t even heard of it until relatively recently. It’s a huge shame, and one I hope is rectified soon. Until now, I, uh, I happen to know what it’s on YouTube like, right now. I urge you to give it a go – it’s tragic, it’s sad, and it’s extremely chilling. Plus, it marks the first time Tom Savini and George Romero worked together and, well, we know how well that worked out!

See you tomorrow!


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