Haiku Revu: Martin

My haiku review of George A Romero’s Martin.

Man in a white suit,
Vampire Boy in a worn town,
Fast Kill Him With Fire!

I’ve been meaning to watch this after being turned on to it at Frightfest a few years ago. Various people cast the film as a raw modern take on the vampire myth without any of the gothic beatification sluiced through by Anne Rice and her ilk, so a dvd rental and this review beckoned.

Its a tale of a “troubled” boy visiting his family in a run down manufactory city which is slowly leeching the lifeblood of its inhabitants during the stagflation period of 70s America. The film never lets you hang on to solid ground, with black-and-white flashbacks which could place the eponymous anti-hero as either sublimely long lived or as someone suffering from a schizophrenic disorder. Martin seems relatively benign when compared with the violence we see going on around him or as a citizen of a planet which had recently started counting loss of life in mega-deaths. There appear to be two strands working through the film, the first involving the ambiguity of the central character as to whether or not he is actually a vampire, but this is irrelevant when cast next to the second stream, which shows Martin less as a protagonist, and more as a being caught in a much larger system which throws any of his depredations into stark relief. Romero spins a story where the apex predator of the Old World is rendered merely mundane by his environment, the only characters which acknowledge him as a ghoul have only one foot in the modern world and hold a tenuous grip on reality. Flawed perception of the real shadow the events of the film and drive it to its conclusion.

This has to be easily one of the best horror movies I’ve seen, and shows the rich vein of form Romero hit with his early films. Unfortunately the version I sourced didn’t have the prog rock soundtrack by Goblin, however even without this, the film still gets a strong recommendation.

Two thumbs up, strongly recommended.