Martin (film)

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Martin
Martinfilmposter.jpg
Film poster
Directed by George A. Romero
Produced by Richard P. Rubinstein
Written by George A. Romero
Starring John Amplas
Elyane Nadeau
Tom Savini
Music by Donald Rubinstein
Goblin (Italian version)
Cinematography Michael Gornick
Edited by George A. Romero
Distributed by Libra Films International
Release dates
  • July 7, 1978 (1978-07-07) (U.S.)
Running time 95 minutes
165 minutes (original cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80,000

Martin is a 1978 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero.

Romero claims that Martin is the favorite of all his films. The film is also notable as the first collaboration between George Romero and special effects artist Tom Savini.

Plot[edit]

As the film opens, a young man (John Amplas), travelling on an overnight train from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh, sedates a young woman with a syringe full of narcotics, slices her wrist with a razor blade, and drinks her blood. The next morning, he is met at the Pittsburgh train station by a mysterious man in white (Lincoln Maazel) who escorts him away, whereupon the pair board a local train destined for Braddock.

The young man is Martin, who has romantic monochrome visions of vampiric seductions and torch-lit mobs, but it is impossible to tell if these visions are real or imagined.

The mysterious man in white is Martin's suspicious, old granduncle, Tateh Cuda. Due to the death of Martin's immediate family in Indianapolis, Cuda has reluctantly agreed to give Martin room and board as he is the closest living relative and Martin will share the house with him and cousin Christine in the dying town of Braddock.

Cuda is a Lithuanian Catholic who treats Martin like an Old World vampire. He forbids his nephew from speaking to Christine and tries unsuccessfully to repel him with traditional methods: strings of garlic, and holy objects like a crucifix and blessed statues. Martin mocks these attempts and says bitterly, "There's no real magic... ever." Martin also says forcefully to Cuda that he is a family member, not someone to be treated like a "Nosferatu". Cuda warns that if Martin murders anyone in Braddock, he will stake him through the heart.

Martin works in Tateh Cuda's butcher shop. While making deliveries he meets several local women, most distinctly the lonely housewife, Mrs. Santini. He runs from her attempts at seducing him but is curious and returns to her, as she is one of Cuda's best customers. He seeks advice on women from a radio DJ, who calls him "The Count", and Martin tries to set the record straight about vampires, saying there is no "magic stuff." The DJ realizes his listeners consider Martin a hit.

Eventually overpowered by his thirst, Martin sneaks out to Pittsburgh and targets a woman he sees at a local market. Believing her to be alone while her husband is on business, he breaks into her house but discovers her in bed with a lover. He deftly takes care of the situation, feeds on the man, rapes the woman as she is unconscious after he drugs her and carefully hides his tracks before leaving.

Martin eventually gives in to what he calls the "sexy stuff" and begins a full-fledged affair with Mrs. Santini, losing interest in other women as victims to feed his hunger.

Christine, frustrated by her disagreement with Tateh Cuda over the family superstition as well as her unhappy relationship with her boyfriend, played by make-up artist Tom Savini, moves out.

On a feeding binge in the city, in which Martin targets two derelicts for the first time, he is almost caught, narrowly escaping as he leads police to a drug den. Safely back at home, he visits Mrs. Santini only to find she has committed suicide.

Tateh Cuda, believing Martin to be the culprit, stakes him through the heart and buries him in the backyard. As the credits roll, radio callers can be heard asking what has happened to "the Count." The final shot shows Tateh Cuda in his garden, placing a crucifix on Martin's fresh grave.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
John Amplas Martin Mathias
Lincoln Maazel Tateh Cuda
Christine Forrest Cousin Christina
Elyane Nadeau Abbie Santini
Tom Savini Arthur
Sara Venable Housewife Victim
Fran Middleton Train Victim
Roger Caine Lewis (as Al Levitsky)
George A. Romero Father Howard
J. Clifford Forrest Jr. Father Zulemus
Tony Buba Drug Dealer shot by Police
Pasquale Buba Drug Dealer shot by Police
Clayton McKinnon Drug Dealer shot by Police

Production[edit]

The film was shot with a low budget, filmed entirely on real locations, and many of the supporting cast members were friends and family of the filmmakers. It was filmed on location in the Pittsburgh suburb of Braddock, Pennsylvania during the summer of 1976.[1]

Release[edit]

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1977 and was released in United States cinemas on July 7, 1978.[2]

The film was re-released in the UK with a 2-Disc DVD on June 28, 2010 by Arrow Video with the following Special Features:

  • Theatrical Cut in 5.1 and Stereo sound plus choice of 4:3 and 16:9 presentations
  • Wampyr: The Italian Cut with English Subs featuring legendary Goblin Score
  • European Romero Documentary
  • The audio recollections of Romero, Savini, Gornick and Rubinstein
  • ‘Making Martin’:A recounting documentary
  • Original TV and Radio Spots
  • Martin Photo Album
  • 4 sleeve art options
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • Exclusive Collector's Booklet
  • Set of 6 original poster art postcards

Alternate versions[edit]

Originally, the film ran longer than the final version, at 2 hours and 45 minutes.[3] The original release was entirely in black and white. No copies of this cut exist to Romero's knowledge.[4]

Much like Romero's Dawn of the Dead, Martin was edited for the European market, under the title of Wampyr. This version is only available in an Italian-dubbed version. This version's score was performed by the band Goblin.[5]

Soundtrack[edit]

The film score by Donald Rubinstein was released on Perseverance Records November 7, 2007.[6] It was originally released by Varèse Sarabande in 1979.

Reception[edit]

The film received highly positive reviews from critics with a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews with the general consensus being "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.".[7]

In the early 2010s, Time Out conducted a poll with several authors, directors, actors and critics who have worked within the horror genre to vote for their top horror films.[8] Martin placed at number 87 on their top 100 list.[9]

Remake[edit]

On May 1, 2010, Richard P. Rubinstein announced to produce the remake of the film.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

British synth pop/avant-garde band Soft Cell wrote a 10:16 song entitled Martin inspired by this film. Only available as a 12" single bundled with initial copies of their 1983 album, The Art of Falling Apart, It was included as bonus track when the album was released on CD.[11]

References[edit]

External links[edit]