Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's contribution to vampire lore contains the expected gore and social satire -- but it's also surprisingly thoughtful, and boasts a whopper of a final act.
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Nearly a decade after George A. Romero changed the face of modern horror films with Night of the Living Dead -- and following the less successful projects Season of the Witch and The Crazies -- the Pittsburgh-based auteur returned to top form with this superb vampire tale. Set in a rapidly crumbling steeltown suburb, the story focuses on shy, moody Martin (John Amplas), a teenager of East European descent who may or may not be a vampire. Though he possesses no fangs or supernatural powers and has no aversions to either crucifixes or garlic, Martin is nevertheless compelled to drug pretty young women, slash them with razor blades, and consume their blood. His motivations seem purely psychological -- as revealed to a call-in radio talk show where Martin has become an anonymous celebrity -- but the notion of a family vampire curse is fostered by Martin's stoic uncle Cuda Lincoln Maazel, who is convinced that he must destroy the boy by hammering a stake through his heart. Romero's superb script keeps the film's supernatural questions ambiguous, focusing instead on the characters' inner turmoil as modern-day attitudes and values clash with vanishing Old World traditions. Filmed on an extremely low budget, Martin benefits from its gritty, kitchen-sink realism, making the outbursts of graphic horror even more surreal and disturbing and creating a sense of doom that builds to a tragically ironic climax. … More
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Critic Reviews for Martin
A neglected minor masterpiece from cult horror director George A Romero about a disturbed teenager who may or may not be a vampire.
It's rough around the edges (variable acting and flaky FX abound) yet it still intrigues, still disgusts and -- important, this -- still disturbs.
More than just a midnight-movie classic, Martin is inventive, haunting and bitingly smart. Forget the recent Land Of The Dead and see Romero at the top of his terror game.
I Was a Teenage Vampire, rendered by George Romero with breathtaking dolor and tenderness.
George A. Romero is still limited by apparently low budgets. But he has inserted some sepia-toned flashback scenes of Martin in Rumania that are extraordinarily evocative.
Martin will baffle many fans of the vampire genre, but it's a satisfying treat for horror aficionados nonetheless, and beyond that, it's simply a superb piece of film-making.
Aside from the zombie classics and taken by itself, Martin is also a kind of masterpiece.
Romero's finest achievement may have been...[this] 1977 character study about a young, lonely man living in Pittsburgh who may or may not be a vampire.
A shocking, thoughtful reworking of the vampire myth set in a dying American steel town.
Gory thriller that makes fun of the vampire myth before the hammer blow of a truly shocking climax.
Romero makes stunning use of his Pittsburgh locations to create a desolate suburban wasteland, and at its best it is rivetingly raw-edged.
Psicologicamente denso, o filme usa o "vampirismo" do personagem como metáfora das angústias de uma década conturbada, podendo ser "lido" de inúmeras formas diferentes.
A seriously stark look at the modern vampire.
Creepy and weird. One of my favorite vampire movies ever.
A surprisingly tender, ambiguous, and sexy film in which Romero's penchant for social satire is for once restricted to local and modest proportions.
One of Romero's more interesting works, but slow
A bit more than another horror film with delusions of social significance.
Audience Reviews for Martin
George A. Romero has once again departed from the zombie genre with Martin and created a memorable and classic vampire film in the process. This is a very well acted film that relies on basic ingredients to create the tension on-screen. This is a well crafted horror yarn that is in my opinion a forgotten vampire gem in the genre. Usually horror fans tend to focus more on films like Salem's Lot, Fright Night, The Lost Boys and Near Dark whenever they think of classic vampire films. George Romero's Martin seems to always get lost in the fold, and I think it's a shame because it is a very different film in the genre, and it is also a change of pace for Romero. This is a great film, and one that is sure to delight genre fans looking for an overlooked vampire film. George Romero has made quite an impact in the genre, but with Martin he has created something different. This is a very entertaining film from start to finish and it certainly delivers from genuine scares. If you love Romero's work, you'll certainly love this one. This is among the best vampire films in the genre and it is definitely a classic. You owe it to yourself to give Martin a viewing, and it ranks up there as one of the most memorable vampire features in the genre. Romero has always done some wonderful work, and he keeps up with that with this different film. As a fan of vampire films, I thoroughly enjoyed Romero's take on this classic tale, and he crafts a classic in the process. Martin is a well crafted film, and one that horror fans should definitely check out.More
George Romero's Martin is my favorite vampire movie. Set in 1970's Pittsburgh. At times gruesome and at times extremely thoughtful. Also a great soundtrack and a superb final scene. The thinking man's vampire movie.More
One of my favourite vampire movies, this one if from Romero, who is more famous for his zombie movies, but does a fantastic job in any horror genre, I think. This movie has interesting characters, a story which is pretty realistic for a vampire movie, and an unexpected ending. I love it.More
Though it is (and will no doubt remain) overshadowed by Romero's zombie movies, this was proof that George could work wonders with other horror types as well.
Rather than deal with some mythology-laden period piece or anything liek that, Martin is instead a picture about a troubled young man, who does not suffer from mirrors, garlic or sunlight, and extracts his 'sustenance' with the aid of hypodermic needles. Romero's direction beefits from being played straight up, though the material may well lend itself well to comedy, it instead works as a piece examining social disorder and distrust. Intercut throughout the film are sepia scenes of more traditional, gothic tales of darkness, which function well as immediate comparison with this more realistic tale, or could also be treated as Martin's memories. Also note Martin's need for confession - he frequently makes calls to a local radio station talking about his murders and blood consumption (as if of course mocked by the presenter).
Tom Savini lends some neat acting support too.
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