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Martin (1978)

Reviewed By Rob Gonsalves
Posted 03/10/07 18:47:37

"The best Romero movie you've never seen."
5 stars (Awesome)

"See it with someone you’re sure of,” went the ads. Nobody has heard of this incredible film except hardcore horror fans and hardcore George Romero fans. That’s a shame, as it’s hands down Romero’s best work. It twists the vampire legend inside out, refines it, and redefines it.

John Amplas is Martin, a screwed-up, sexually unsure young man who believes he’s a vampire. He goes to live with his old-country cousin (Lincoln Maazel), who takes Martin’s word for it and plays Fearless Vampire Killer with garlic and crucifixes, hissing “Nosferatu!”

But Martin just laughs at his cousin’s superstition and continues to slit the wrists of the lonely, fortyish women he tries (unsuccessfully) to sleep with. (He uses razor blades and syringes to get the blood he craves, aided by Tom Savini’s wince-inducing make-up effects.) Martin finds solace (and a mini-following) in a radio hot-line, which he calls anonymously to discuss his troubles.

Martin wasn’t nearly as successful financially as Romero’s Dead films — or as popular among his fans, many of whom just wanted more zombies —probably because of its intensity and thoroughly downbeat ending.

But it’s just those qualities, plus a strong personal vision seldom matched in Romero’s subsequent work, that make this the one vampire movie you don’t want to miss.

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