Guest Review: Martin by Mansion of the Macabre

By Mansion of the Macabre

Director: George A. Romero
Writer: George A. Romero
Stars: John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel and Christine Forrest.

I just finished watching George Romero's 1976 film Martin and was pleasantly surprised. This is by no stretch your typical Vampire film. Martin is more of a brilliant modern perspective on Vampirism as a disease. At the beginning I felt the films pacing was slow and I thought I would not enjoy it, but as the story picked up I became immediately enthralled.

Martin Mathias claims to be an 84 year old Vampire. He has no fangs, no magical abilities and can walk around in daylight. He does however have a need for Human Blood, and if Martin goes too long without drinking he becomes shaky and weak.

We are first introduced to the character of Martin (John Amplas) on an overnight train to Braddock, PA. During the night he breaks into the neighboring compartment and attacks a woman using a syringe of narcotics. Once he sedates her Martin uses a razor blade to open her wrist and drink her blood. He then sets up her room to make it look like a suicide.

Once Martin arrives at his destination we are introduced to his superstitious and Catholic Granduncle Tada Cuda (Lincoln Maazel) whom refers to Martin as Nosferatu and informs him that he will save his soul and then destroy him. He also gives Martin a list of rules including not to kill anyone in town. The rest of the film is told through the perspective of the eccentric Martin whom is brilliantly portrayed by John Amplas in his first role, and whose character is the driving force behind this film.

Martin's only real friends in this town are his cousin Christina (Christine Forrest) who thinks there is nothing wrong with Martin except that he is socially awkward and that her grandfather is insane. Abbie Santini (Elyane Nadeau), a bored housewife whose attempts at seducing Martin eventually lead to a full blown affair and a radio host who refers to Martin as "the count" and whose radio conversations serve the purpose of being Martin's subconscious. Martin also suffers from either flashbacks or delusions of a black and white era where he was attacked for being a Vampire.

The thing that I loved the most about this film, is that it makes you question whether Martin is a real life Vampire or simply a delusional serial killer. Martin is a highly surreal film and oddly paced at times. But John Amplas' performance is superbly entertaining. The movie even includes some early gore effects from none other than the legendary Tom Savini.

Martin is arguably the most unique Vampire film that I have ever seen and should not be missed by any fans of the sub genre.

~The Caretaker

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