Monday, October 31, 2016

Horror Countdown 2016: Martin (1977)

Martin (1977) dir. George Romero, Laurel Entertainment

And now we near the end my friends, but we have one more tale to keep us warm. We end the Horror Countdown this time with a vampire tale by George Romero and special effects by Tom Savini.

Martin is a fresh-faced fellow riding a train to Pittsburgh. He seems pleasant enough and is rather polite to the woman sharing the train compartment with him. He also drugs her and slashes open her wrist with a razor blade and hungrily drinks the flowing blood.

Disembarking, he is met by an old man, Tateh Cuda (Lincoln Maazel), who says he's Martin's great-uncle. He also believes that Martin is a vampire. The fact that Martin claims to be over 80 years old and has black and white flashbacks to him being chased by torch wielding mobs might back this theory up. Martin may be an unholy abomination but he is family, so he takes him home. Martin's cousin Christine (Christian Forrest) also lives with them, but Martin is ordered not to talk to her. Cuda also places crucifixes and garlic around the house to ward Martin off. Martin appreciates the snack and all the handy reflective surfaces, but all that stuff is just smoke and mirrors to him. Cuda relents, but promises to shove a stake through his heart if he feeds on anyone.

Working in Cuda's butcher shop puts Martin in contact with scores of lovely women, but Martin's interest is limited to strictly blood. Mrs. Santini (Elyane Nadeau), however, is lonely and persistent. Martin is at a loss. He's never actually been with someone, and the feelings he's getting aren't hunger. Calling to a late night DJ as the Count, Martin finds himself becoming popular with the city's late night listeners.

Of course he's still drinking blood, he's just doing it out of town. His feelings for the married Abbie are growing as are his urges for blood. Which one will spiral out of control first?    

Pretty darn good. Romero does a wonderful take on the vampire mythos, although it is still debated if Martin is actually a vampire or just a very disturbed fellow. Savini's makeup (his first proper collaboration with Romero) is wonderful. The red flows like thick water, as it should be.

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