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Directed by George A. Romero, Martin is a distinctive horror movie released in 1977 that creatively reshapes traditional vampire mythology through its contemporary settings. The film stars John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, and Christine Forrest, and shows the world of vampirism in new light.

John Amplas gives an unforgettable performance as Martin, a young man who believes he is a centuries-old vampire. The character of Martin stands out from typical vampire depictions, distinguishing himself with his lack of fangs and his need for sedatives and razors to commit his bloodthirsty acts. His disbelief in age-old vampire myths like the efficacy of garlic and mirrors in repelling vampires adds to his mystique and makes him even more unpredictable and terrifying.

The story begins with Martin's journey to an industrial town in Pennsylvania to live with his elderly cousin, played by Lincoln Maazel. Maazel's character, Tata Cuda, come across as a stern and reclusive man who labels Martin as the family curse and declares their lineage as 'nosferatu'. There are also hints of a deeper family history steeped in lore that reeks of ambiguity which add to the dread-filled atmosphere of the film. He also threatens to end Martin's existence if any local inhabitants fall victim to his torments.

Despite this threat, Martin continues his vampiric exploits in an almost surgical manner, using an anesthesiologist's kit instead of using supernatural powers to subdue his victims. These hunting sequences are haunting, graphic, yet also strangely poignant as the audience finds itself in the uncomfortable position of sympathizing with a vampire.

The suburbia backdrop of the film offers a stark contrast to the gothic castles and lavish estates commonly seen in vampire flicks. It provides a powerful setting that perfectly reflects Martin's isolation and desperate need for companionship.

Christine Forrest plays the role of Christina, Cuda's granddaughter who is initially repulsed by Martin but gradually finds herself intrigued by his charm and shy demeanour. Their awkwardly evolving relationship forms another interesting facet to this narrative.

Interweaving elements of drama and horror, the film also explores Martin’s inner struggle – a tragic aspect of his character. He regularly calls into a late-night talk radio show, revealing his loneliness and despair. His calls become increasingly desperate, serving as an eerie contrast to his methodically planned feeding habits. These interactions also afford him the nickname 'the Count', making him a local folk horror legend.

Martin is interestingly shot in both color and black-and-white. The choice of monochromatic visuals for Martin's flashback sequences serves to hint at the character’s long and obscure history. It also confuses the narrative that is already riddled with ambiguity, making it difficult for viewers to distinguish between reality and Martin's imagination.

What is particularly enticing in Romero’s Martin is the blurring of lines between protagonist and antagonist. Unlike many traditional horror films, Martin isn't portrayed as an outright villain. Instead, his character drifts in a gray area – he's pitiful and relatable at times, monstrous and terrifying at others.

This film also demonstrates Romero's ability to challenge stereotypical genre conventions. With Martin, Romero turned the age-old vampire mythology on its head, blending elements of horror, drama, and psychological thriller.

Moreover, the societal commentary that Romero is known for is subtly present in Martin. Disguised beneath the horror surface lie meaningful insights into societal issues such as isolation, alienation, religion, and superstition.

Overall, Martin is a thought-provoking, visceral horror film that is as much a character study as it is a blood-soaked horror flick. Its unique take on vampire lore and exploration of psychological torment make it a standout piece in the genre, and highlight Romero's skill as a filmmaker. This movie serves as a grim reminder that sometimes, the real monster is the loneliness and desperation seeping from the human - or not so human - heart. Overall, Martin is an unconventional horror film that’s worth watching.

Martin is a Horror, Drama movie released in 1978. It has a runtime of 95 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.0. It also holds a MetaScore of 68.

How to Watch Martin

Where can I stream Martin movie online? Martin is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Tubi TV, Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Martin for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

George A. Romero
John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest, Elyane Nadeau, Tom Savini
Also starring Lincoln Maazel
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