Often when the name George A. Romero is brought up in a film discussion, such masterpieces that instantly come to mind are his zombie titles such as,”Night of the Living Dead”, “Day of the Dead”, and of course “Dawn of the Dead”. Little do some audiences know he made a film about vampirism just before “Dawn of the Dead” in 1976, that finally got released to audiences in 1978, the same year “Dawn of the Dead” made a defining imprint in cinematic history.
“Martin” continues Romero’s stripped down aesthetics that could be found in numerous films before, yet this is indeed his most elegant and artfully made film of his impressive career. There are many impressive sequences and set-pieces sprinkled without, including a harrowing and astonishingly-cut shootout involving its main protagonist crossed in between a police chase gone deadly. Romero has always been hailed as subversive filmmaker that always brought rich subtext and layers to his films. Here Romero uses vampirism as a commentary on sexual alienation and dogmatic oppression.
Martin (John Amples) is a sophisticated and socially awkward young man who’s been persuaded by his dogmatic Catholic uncle, Teteh Cuda (Lincoln Maazal), that he was born as a vampire, in which Romero brilliantly explores such themes as identity and the philosophical debate of nature versus nurture, as well as how oppressive traditions are carried down from generations on.
This is also Romero’s most deeply disturbing and chilling vision of his career, Martin drugs attractive women and rapes them, eventually slicing their wrists and necks to drink their blood. The opening sequence will nauseate you as Martin drugs up a woman on a Amtrack train, and ironically enough you end up warming up to Martin as the film progresses on because of the unexpected charm and sympathy that Amplas brings to the screen. Certainly one of Romero’s most thrilling and fearless films, that is intensified by its use of low-budget, ravishing gritty 16mm film stock that only amplifies the nightmare Martin is confined in. “Martin” is easily one of the top 100 greatest horror films ever made.
**DEFACTO FILM REVIEWS SPOTLIGHT
Since we love movies, now, in this new weekly blog, we will share our passion and knowledge of older movies that deserve even a wider audience. Defacto Film Reviews Spotlight of the Week will invite the reader to join us on a essential movie pick of the week journey, all in hopes that you put these selected titles in the very top of your watch queue.