Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Martin (1977)

Martin (1977) - Movie review plus screencaps:

Martin is a vampire... or at least he thinks he is, in writer/director George A. Romero's 1977 film "Martin."


This is a really interesting movie.  The main character, Martin has been raised to believe that he is a vampire, that he must kill and drink blood to survive.  But Martin doesn't have fangs, supernatural powers, or any of the things you would normally associate with vampires.  Instead, he drugs his victims, and extracts their blood with hypodermic needles and razor blades.

"I'm always very careful with the needles."

 Martin takes no pleasure in his killing, only doing it because he thinks it's neccessary for his survival.  He comes from a strange, deeply religious  family of immigrants that believes he is an evil supernatural creature.  Martin, however rejects their religious beliefs, and considers his affliction to be biological.  Of course, the possibility exists that Martin doesn't need blood at all, and is just mentally ill victim of a very warped upbringing.

Mmm... Finger Lickin' Good!
Martin's Creepy Uncle (Not to be confused with "Colonel Sanders")

 Director George Romero does a great job of playing up both angles in this movie.  I never knew for sure if this was really a vampire horror movie, or a psychological thriller along the lines of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.  Martin has a lot in common with Norman Bates from Psycho.  Even though he is a murderer, I couldn't help but root for the guy.  He's portrayed as a generally passive, innocent, and lonely kid, who is as much a victim as the people he kills are.

Mother Nature's Son
 This is a pretty low-budget picture filmed in real locations around a working class neighborhood in Pittsburgh.  Romero uses this to his advantage though; the down-to-earth locations help to ground this film in reality.  Because the film is so down-to-earth, it became harder and harder to believe he really is a vampire as the film went on.  But, at the same time, I found I WANTED him to be a vampire more and more, because the thought that this sweet lonely kid who I've grown to emphathise with so much, could actually be a psychotic serial killer, is a tough pill to swallow.

Martin on the Prowl

In the end, Romero wisely decided to leave the question of whether or not he's a vampire unanswered and up to the viewers to decide.  I really like movies like this, ones that let you draw your own conclusions at the end.  Movies like this live on in my thoughts and imagination long after I finish watching them.   Hollywood has been on a horror movie remake frenzy the last few years, and they've already remade Romero's Dawn of the Dead and the Crazies.  It's probably only a matter of thime until they remake this one.  it should be interesting to see how bad they fuck it up.

Rating: 4 Robots (out of 5)

More screencaps after the jump...

Sanitized for your protection
"Dude, don't you know how to knock?"

Flashback or Fantasy?

The Hypo

Your blood is turning my blue eyes red
Looking Cool Like Thurston Moore

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