2009-02-26 : Martin

I watched Martin, George A Romero's vampire flick from 1977, thanks to Renee. I liked it quite a bit.

My super favorite thing
My super favorite thing about it was that Martin was a family curse. In Hungry, Desperate & Alone I say that unburied and unmourned is no vampire, and this reminded me of that. When someone in your family is a vampire, it's like when someone in your family is a bully, or a junkie, or a thief, or a murderer: problematic.

A conversation with my sister
Vincent & Ellen together: Twilight LOL snerk.

Ellen: I'll bet Martin didn't whine, did he? [rolling her eyes] "Oh it sucks so bad to be a vampire oh poor me."

Vincent: Nope!

Vincent: ...Actually I take that back. He whined a lot.

Ellen: [rolling her eyes]

Vincent: No, but, he did, but, I mean, being a vampire DID suck so bad.

Ellen: [rolling her eyes]

Vincent: No but it was GOOD. It was good!

1. On 2009-02-27, Ron Edwards said:

Trouble is, if you explain why the term "vampire movie" simply creates the absolutely wrong impression about Martin, then you pretty much spoil the movie. It needs to be watched naturalistically, as naturalistically as it is is filmed and directed.

There's a reason that Julie said to me, "You must see Martin," and nothing else. Then when I'd seen it, I told Vincent, "You must see Martin," and nothing else.

There's simply no point in discussing it except with people who've seen it.


2. On 2009-02-27, Ron Edwards said:

"Thanks to Rene."

Yeah, thanks a lot to YOU, Baker. Who told you about it in the first place?

But, um, thanks to Rene too, though, 'cause all Vincent-Man did was whine about not finding it and also about this video store that's not there any more.


3. On 2009-02-27, Robert Bohl said:



4. On 2009-02-27, Brennen Reece said:

"Martin" is a such great film.

If you're looking for another obscure vamp-flick masterpiece from the mid-70s, watch "Ganja and Hess."


5. On 2009-02-27, Vincent said:

I'll whine about that video store not being there again, too.

Imagine my best Luke-Skywalker-to-Uncle-Owen voice: Video to Go was soooo gooooooood, whyyy'd it have to go under?

I bet they had "Ganja and Hess." Now hoooow will I seeeee it? Wah.


6. On 2009-02-27, Julie aka jrs said:

Yay! You've seen Martin. I can stop my plotting to get a copy into your hands. Now, you must see Let the Right One In.


7. On 2009-02-27, Vincent said:

Oh yes. Is that out on DVD yet?


8. On 2009-02-27, Julie aka jrs said:

It's supposed to be out in March.


9. On 2009-02-27, Robert Bohl said:

March 10.

I bet that video store in downtown Northampton has everything you want, Vincent.


10. On 2009-02-27, Julie aka jrs said:

Hey V. I just pre-ordered you a copy. Look for it mid-March.


11. On 2009-02-27, buddha said:

Hey! "Blood & Donuts" was a fun vampire movie (to me, anyway) and "Pulse" (NOT the japanse one/american remake... "Octane" to non-US residents) had some cool moments.  If you go off-genre, "Dead and Breakfast" had singing zombies (which weren't as awesome as I had hoped...) and David Carradine + daughter...


12. On 2009-02-27, James_Nostack said:

Actually, I saw Martin on the strength of the earlier discussion and found it underwhelming and cheesy, but that may have been because my expectations had been raised.


13. On 2009-02-28, James_Nostack said:

Oh, oops - I didn't mean for that post to be quite so negative.  I thought Martin had some appealing elements: I liked Romero's cinematography, the costumes, and the set design.  But I felt it was basically (late 70's art film) + (vampire movie).  Which is okay, but I'm wondering where the excitement comes from.


14. On 2009-03-02, Ron Edwards said:

Hi James,

Seems to me I've had this conversation with you before regarding any number of things that were either done in the 70s or revived in the 70s. All of which made anything considered "cool" later even possible.

Kids these days ...


15. On 2009-03-03, Vincent said:

Julie! You didn't have to do that. Thank you! I'm excited.

James: I found Martin really refreshing in the face of more recent vampire flicks. His sexiness, for instance, is predatory in a repulsive real-world way, not at all like the glam-dangerous predatory sexiness of vampires these days. (I'm thinking of Rise, as one I've seen recently, but pretty much name a vampire flick since Lost Boys.)


16. On 2009-03-03, Robert Bohl said:

Martin should be arriving in my mailbox today.


17. On 2009-03-04, Robert Bohl said:

Thanks for the recommendation. I enjoyed it. Pretty disturbing. The ending was a smidge abrupt.


18. On 2009-03-05, James_Nostack said:

Actually I kinda dig the "70's-ness" aspect of Martin (and I really liked Bakshi's Wizards) so it's not really the 70's stuff in general.

I think what it was, was that I had somewhat confused expectations for the film.  If we're considering Martin solely in the context of a long chain of vampire movies, then I would agree that it's a very original and distinctive take.  It's actually quite brilliant in that regard.

But at several points in the film, it seems like Romero is aiming at something more "highbrow" than yet-another-vampire-flick, not only in how he approaches the genre material, but as a critique of other vampire films, as a reflection on superstition, as a treatment of extremely dysfunctional families.  Here, I thought Martin aimed very high and couldn't quite follow through on its ambitions.

Still: it's certainly an unforgettable vampire movie.


19. On 2009-03-05, Renee said:

Actually, it's Renee, not Rene.

And you're welcome.  :)

And I disagree in general with the idea that Romero didn't hit the mark, but mostly because I'm not sure how hard he was aiming.  Everyone knows that George's films are loaded with social commentary - it's been talked about ad nauseum - but really I think he was just making the films he liked as honestly as possible and that stuff ended up in there because it's true. It seemed effortless for him back then...more about leaving an impression than sending a message.  And Martin definitely fits into that category.


20. On 2009-03-05, Vincent said:



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