Monday, December 10, 2007

Movie Review: Martin

I've recently been watching a good number of horror films. I was never a huge fan of horror while growing up, but much of that is because we didn't have cable until I was 11 or 12 and we didn't rent a lot of horror based films. As I got older I began to check out some more horror but I wanted to see a good film, not just a splatter fest. (I do recall staying at friends houses or visiting relatives who had cable and watching many of the slasher classics, things like Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, and a very odd My Bloody Valentine - )

I cultivated my tastes and reached a point where I trust certain people's recommendations on movies, and I also know that a quality film can be made in any genre; the key is to know what is quality and what isn't: Martin is quality.

Martin was a very low-budget film made by George Romero, mostly known for his Night of the Living Dead movies. (Night of , Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Living Dead, and Land of the Dead. ) Night of the Living Dead is a genuine classic of cult cinema, using horror as a metaphor for the social unrest in our country, putting a disparate group of characters (black and white) in an isolated situation, unsure what has happened and terrified for their survival. Dawn of the Dead used the Zombie plight as a tongue in cheek indictment of our country's consumer culture, and is another example of the great films being done in the auteur dominated 70's. I have never seen Day of the Living Dead, and Land of the Dead was entertaining but didn't really resonate with me. (Although Dennis Hopper does get off a few sweet lines)

Martin is about a teenage boy who believes he is 84 years old and that he suffers from the curse of vampirism. His elderly uncle believe this also, and takes Martin in to live with him and his daughter, promising to take care of Martin's soul. That's it, that's the set up. Yet within this basic idea, Romero does a wonderful job utilizing the Pennsylvania landscape to create a drearly, isolated sense of existence. (Romero mentions in the documentary about the film that the town was an old mining town, and as the mills shut down the area became more dilapidated - he used that sense of a dying town for some great shots. ) The actors are all so real, genuine, and believable. The great Tom Savini is the only name actor I recognized. I will not reveal the twists in the plot, but this is a perfect example of what a passionate group of talented people can put together with a minimal budget but maximum incentive - Check it out.

Beast Out

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