Plot: What’s it about?
Martin (John Amplas of “Day Of The Dead” & “Knightriders”) is a young man who is a vampire, or is he? This is the question that is presented in the film “Martin.” He drinks the blood of a female victim on a train ride to Pittsburgh but does not do it the way that you would see a vampire do it in other movies. He drugs the girl and then slits her wrist with a razorblade drinking from the wrist. Martin covers up this murder by making it look like a suicide. When arriving in Pittsburgh he meets his cousin Cuda (Lincoln Maazel) who appears to be in his 60’s while Martin looks around 19 or 20. Martin is to stay with Cuda and his granddaughter Christine (Christine Forrest Romero of “Knightriders” & “Creepshow”). Upon arriving Martin is called “Nosferatu” by Cuda and is warned not to take any victims from the town or he will be destroyed. Cuda is convinced that Martin is a vampire and has crucifixes and garlic all over the house as well as bells set by Martin’s door that will go off when he leaves his room. The typical vampire myths like garlic crucifixes, sunlight and mirrors have no affect on Martin. (The sunlight bothers his eyes a little but that is about it.) Cuda gives Martin a job at his store to keep an eye on him and is just waiting for the chance to catch him in the act so he can have an excuse to kill him. Cuda tries to convince Christine that Martin is evil by telling her of the family history but she is not buying it. He even tries to convince Christine’s boyfriend Arthur (Tom Savini of “Knightriders,” “Dawn Of The Dead” & “From Dusk ‘Till Dawn”) and asks the local priest (Director George A. Romero in a funny cameo) if he believes in a person being possessed by an evil force. These two don’t really take Cuda seriously. Martin spends time looking for victims or calling in on a radio talk show about how he kills his victims and that garlic, crosses & sunlight have no affect on him.
“Martin” was directed by George A. Romero who directed my favorite film of all time “Dawn Of The Dead” as well as “Day Of The Dead” “Knightriders” “Night Of The Living Dead” & “The Crazies.” He has directed another fine film, that Romero fans need to see if they haven’t yet. It is not like other vampire films and it brings up the question whether Martin is a vampire in the sense that he is ageless or just a human that has an obsession with drinking blood. Could it be a sickness like cancer that is in Martin’s family history? Are the black & white flashbacks showing Martin’s past as an ageless vampire or are they just hallucinations of events that never happened to him? You decide.
Anchor Bay has given “Martin” a good presentation which comes as no surprise because they have done a good job with everything that I have reviewed for this site. I expect them to continue delivering fine looking disks for a long time. Martin is presented in a full-frame version which Romero preferred as he stated on the audio commentary. The picture looks good considering that the movie was shot in 16 mm. The audio is good for a two channel mono and the extras are good as well.
Video: How does it look?
Like I said before “Martin” is presented in a full-frame version and Romero mentions that the widescreen framing would cut out most of a shot where a victim was getting killed. The picture looks sharper and much brighter than the video tape version that Anchor Bay released a couple of years ago. If you have the tape version, you need to upgrade to the DVD. I didn’t notice any artifacts but there was a little grain and a few lines. This film is around 23 years old and was shot on 16 mm, so it looks pretty good considering that. The colors aren’t bright but I think that it was probably Romero’s intention to make it look this way. Other than those small things, it is a nice looking picture and probably the best looking out there. Another fine job.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is a two channel mono that gets the job done. There is a nice balance between the dialogue and the music/sound effects. While it isn’t Dolby Surround it sounds fine and there is no hissing or popping in it.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While there aren’t a lot of extras on this disk, the ones that are there are great. There is a cool trailer for “Martin” and a great commentary with George A. Romero and stars John Amplas & Tom Savini. The commentary is very informative as they talk about the location and the fact that the cast mainly consisted of family members & friends. Another point that Romero brings up several times is a 3 1/2 hour print of “Martin” that was stolen out of the film vault at his office in Pittsburgh. Whoever has it, please give it back to Mr. Romero so everyone can have the opportunity to see this.
This is a nice disk that Romero fans should get. While it is not a fast paced movie, the performances, the originality of the plot and the directing are the strong points. The average viewer might not enjoy this as much as a Romero fan but still might want to give it a rent.