Martin (1978)
AKA Martin the Blood Lover, Wampyr (Italy)

Starring John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest, Elyane Nadeau, Tom Savini, Sara Venable, Francine Middleton, Roger Caine

Directed by George A. Romero

Expectations: High. Romero, Savini, how can it not be good?

And here I thought I was getting a simple vampire story! Martin is anything but, instead completely removing every genre trope you expect from a vampire tale, and subverting the entire mythology into something of an urban serial killer film. It’s an incredibly interesting take on the vampire, and Martin is just as interesting a character. He’s somewhat slow mentally at times, but at other times he remarkably swift in his thinking, doing exactly what he needs to do to survive.

The film opens on a train, and our introduction to Martin leaves nothing to the imagination. He prepares a syringe and promptly breaks into a woman’s compartment. Inside he hides and injects her with the substance, viciously wrestling her to the floor as he waits for the sedative to take hold. When it does, Martin rapes the sleeping girl and then slices her forearm open and drinks her blood (which, as a sidenote, looks incredibly realistic thanks to Tom Savini’s FX). In the next scene we meet Cuda, Martin’s granduncle and it’s clear that he doesn’t much like Martin. He immediately starts calling him Nosferatu and threatens to take his life if he kills within the city. Oh… kay. This is definitely not your standard horror fare!

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