A lesser-known work by the Godfather of the Dead, Martin is a solemn thesis on what it means to be a vampire.
Martin is a nondescript young man living in Pittsburg with a horrifying hobby. He imagines himself as a vampire, and is fond of sedating women, then cutting them up and drinking their blood. As Martin’s bloodlust increases, he begins to seek out more targets, eventually even targeting people on the streets. His actions quickly convinces his relative, Cuda, that Martin must be stopped. Cuda plans to destroy Martin once and for all with a stake through the heart.
One doesn’t associate the Godfather of the Dead, George A Romero, with sombre, quiet works. And that is probably the reason why this 1976 masterpiece of his is lesser known.
Martin (1978) is not short of horrific moments. But if you’re looking for the sort of gleeful intestine spilling and neck gnawing carnage found in Romero’s undead movies, you’d be sorely disappointed. More of a stoic dissertation than dramatic storytelling, Martin dissects popular concepts of vampirism through the disturbing antics of the eponymous protagonist. A faceless, mundane youth with no supernatural powers or weaknesses. Whose indulgent pastime is to drug women, cut them, then feed on their blood. In a way, this fascinates. A fascination made provocative by the concurrent message that vampires are unlikely to survive long or happily in the real world. What might disappoint horror fans though, is that like many such contemplative movies, there is no conclusive end. Martin eventually pays a heavy price for his hobby. But what it means and what it represents, that’s entirely up to you to decide.
Check out my other snappy movie reviews!