Sunday, October 22, 2006

31 Days of Halloween - Day 22 Movie

"Martin" (1977) is the movie George Romero made right before "Dawn of the Dead" it's also the movie that Make-up effects master Tom Savini cut his teeth on before moving on to "Dawn of the Dead," "Friday the 13th" etc., creating the entire splatter film subgenre.

"Martin" played by John Amplas, is a young man who not only believes he's a vampire, but exists as one. He doesn't live in a coffin and bite people, not does he don goth gear and participate in blood sports. Armed with a razor blade, a syringe, and a lot of cunning, he obtains his blood in this more mundane fashion. He moves in with an elderly cousin of his, who is equally deluded, sharing , and possibly fueling Martin's fantasy. He, too believes Martin is a vampire, a situation brought on him by an old family curse. His goal is to save Martin's soul before destroying him.

Like most Romero movies, this one is a thinking person's horror movie, focusing more on ideas than on gore. Like most Romero movies, this one has an unpolished feel to it (much like a feature length student film), most likely due to its low budget and guerilla-style filmmaking. The acting is more balanced in this movie than in other Romero films. Everyone does a good job, lending the film a believability necessary to its success.

The only shortcomings are a police shootout that seems out of place in this movie, and the garish red blood that Savini describes as looking like melted crayon. It's the same blood that was later used in "Dawn of the Dead" and is about as convincing as the blood in any Hammer horror movie. It's inauthenticity tends to draw attention to itself, momentarily pulling the viewer out of the reality of the film.

This movie deserves to share the same respect as Romero's zombie movies.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Yep, I remember this one. It was pretty dark and disturbing, but worth watching. The guy that plays Martin is perfect for the part.