“Things only seem to be magic. There is no real magic. There’s no real magic ever.”
Another day, another vampire movie.
Even with all of the success that George Romero had with his Living Dead movies, if you ask him, his favorite of all his films is 1977’s Martin, the story of a man who is definitely a sexually motivated serial killer, and may or may not be a vampire. He certainly believes he is an 84 year old undead monster, as does his hyper-religious and superstitious uncle.
Martin is another politically tinged B horror movie from Romero, with the director using this outing to engage themes of sex, sexual violence, mental illness, suburban ennui, and religion. This is a vampire movie for a skeptical, disillusioned generation.
A small and quiet villain, relying on injecting his victims with sedatives to gain the upper hand, Martin is a disturbing character without ever being imposing. He is lonely, maladjusted, and strange. Whether he is right about being a vampire or not, he is certainly mentally ill. He is also the whiniest vampire I can remember, a bit like the Luke Skywalker of the undead set.
As always, Romero gets a lot out of very little when it comes to budget and resources. Like all of his major works, Martin could come out today and still be relevant and interesting.
Also of note is that this is the first time Romero worked with gore legend Tom Savini, a relationship that would pay immediate dividends the following year with Dawn of the Dead.
Will I Ever Watch It Again? Probably. Especially if I decide to do a larger vampire movie fest for a whole month, which seems increasingly likely to me.