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Eccentric Cinema: Overlooked Oddities and Ecstasies,

Thursday, August 27, 2009
6:30 p.m. Martin
George A. Romero (U.S., 1977)

Archival Print

What does a vampire do without a hypnotic stare and piercing fangs? He’s got to get down-and-dirty, wielding sedatives in a syringe and slashing veins with a razor. That’s Martin’s trouble: he’s got the lust for blood, but none of the fancy vampire frills. George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) transplants his story from Transylvania to Pennsylvania, investing the steel town of Braddock with medieval menace. Played by first-timer John Amplas, our teen bloodsucker stalks the city for victims, always returning to the home of his cousin Tata Cuda for shelter. Cuda (Lincoln Maazel) believes that the family is cursed, filling his home with religious icons and garlic wreaths, but is Martin a supernatural sucker or just a virginal kid with perverse tastes? The dark shadow between legend and lunacy is where Romero’s story dwells. Blood-gorged, sex-starved, and sardonic, Martin is a vampire for our time.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Romero. Photographed by Michael Gornick. With John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest, Elyane Nadeau. (95 mins, Color, 35mm, Courtesy of the Joe Dante and Jon Davison Collection at the Academy Film Archive, permission MKR Group)