Friday, March 5, 2010

Romero Week: Martin

We're closing out a week of non-zombie Romero films with his first movie to disappear into obscurity.  This movie falls into an awkward place as it falls between his two most notable hits- Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.  Why did this film not work?  Why did it become a film that only movie nerds with obsessive-compulsive disorder talk about?  Hey, wait a second...  Anyhow, the film is about a young man who is living with his uncle in Detroit (big surprise!) and dealing with the man's hatred of him.  Why does he hate Martin?  Well, in a nutshell, he thinks that his nephew is a vampire.  Okay, Romero, I'll bite: this sounds strange.  Will it turn out to be a hidden gem or something that my cat buries?  Find out in my review of...
The film begins with a young man (Martin) stalking a woman on a train.  He breaks into her room and attacks her, eventually pacifying with an injection of some chemical.  He rapes her and then cuts her neck open and drinks her blood.  Somehow, he can sneak off the train at the stop and nobody ever talks about this.  I know Detroit has a crime-rate issue, but this should get some attention!  Martin is picked up by his uncle, who does nothing but stare at him and talk to him strangely.  The man appears to be 'fresh off the boat,' despite owning a house for years there.  He acts all freaky about having Martin there, even going as far to have garlic strung up in the door frames and tying string with a bell on it to the door.  He does all this because he is convinced that Martin is a vampire.  This leads to my biggest complaint: Martin is a vampire!  The whole thing is played like 'wow, this uncle is crazy,' but the guy does kill people and drink their blood.  Just because he doesn't turn into a bat doesn't negate everything!
The movie is a series of melodramatic moments and odd plot points from here on out.  Martin's cousin is a nice young lady who just sort of mopes about and does nothing.  She has a boyfriend- Tom Savini- who has one brief scene where he just sort of sits around during dinner.  That's pretty much it for Tom- have fun making all the blood.  Speaking of which, Martin kills another lady and drinks her blood too...but he's not a vampire.  He has a weird food delivery/date with a married woman who likes to talk to him while he just sort of stands around collecting flies in his upper lip.  Seriously, the guy doesn't speak until 25 minutes or so into the movie.  He actually begins a relationship with this woman and sort of meanders about- what a surprise.  It picks up when he shows up one night, says that he wants to have sex with her and...well, they do.  That was abrupt, movie.  Later on, he delivers food to a different couple, stakes the place out and attacks the house while the woman is with her boyfriend.  This attack scene runs for minutes on end and takes up a good chunk of screen time.  But I wanted more meandering dialog scenes!
Eventually, we get a little bit of explanation as to the whole 'deal' with Martin.  The family evidently has a history of crazy family members and the uncle thinks that Martin is the next part of that line.  Again- he's freaking right!  Whether or not this guy can start crosses on fire by staring at them angrily or not, he's still a damn vampire!  He's so convinced that he's not a classical vampire that he begins to call into a late-night radio show and discuss how he's different.  The uncle keeps up the (logical) thing about trying to cure Martin, even going as far as to make him go to Church and inviting the new minister over to... hello, random cameo by the director.  Things turn sour for our protagonist/vampiric murderer when he stumbles across the woman he's been with in the bathtub with her wrists slit.  A bloody murder that he had nothing to do with- astounding!  His whole murder campaign ends with a series of killings one night, that culminates in both a police chase, a shoot-out and him getting away Scott-free.  He goes home that night, only to get a stake through the heart from his uncle and ends up being buried in the yard by his uncle.  Hurray?
This movie is really dull and misguided.  I mean, it's not terrible, just makes no damn sense.  In theory, this movie could be really interesting and creative.  If Martin was not really a killer or anything and just treated like a vampire, it could work.  Although he is a vampire, so what is the point of all the 'I'm not a vampire' thing?  This movie has some good moments, but they are stuck in between some dull and listless moments of dialogue with no direction.  This idea could have been salvaged with a more clear direction and some serious plot points.  No offense, but if you're going to make movies like Martin, stick to zombies!
Next up, Blockbuster Trash brings us yet another sequel to an Uwe Boll film.  Is it better than the last one?  You aren't really that naive, are you?  Stay tuned...


  1. I liked Martin and the film and I reviewed it not long ago.

    Was he realy a vampire? I'm not 100% sure. If he wasn't, he was just a crazy rapist killer.

    If he was a vampire then he was all of the above but a new kind of vamp. One that can be in su light and can go a very long time without drinking blood. Either way, great flick.

  2. I have to actually disagree entirely here man, this is my favorite of George's films outside of the dead series, and the only DVD I had him sign. It is so small and personal, and conceptually it may be my favorite movie about draculas. Im a fan at least, but I will admit it took a second viewing

  3. I just got hung up by the premise and execution. I mean, he is a vampire! Why does the movie treat this like he isn't one?

    Maybe a second viewing will make me like it better- who knows?

    In fairness, I can see how it is deep and personal film to him, especially considering that his lady and him both have roles, as do the producers. You see, when I get bored with a movie, I listen to the commentary track. :-)