Pete’s Peek | George Romero’s modern vampire classic Martin is reborn


George A Romero is legendary because of his Living Dead films, but this is his best ever. Too disturbing, bleak and personal to have been a hit at the time of its release in 1976, it is now considered a modern horror classic.

John Amplas plays Martin, a confused teenager who thinks he is an 84-year-old vampire. His grand-uncle Cuda, who believes a family curse is responsible for Martin being the reincarnation of Nosferatu, a Transylvanian vampire, reinforces this.

Cuda takes the lad in, but warns Martin that if he tries to harm anyone, he will be destroyed. But the elderly Cuda’s old world attempts to rid Martin of his malediction (crosses, garlic, a trip to church) merely irritate the boy, a strictly modern sexual psycho who uses razor blades to drain the blood from his female victims.


This new DVD release from Arrow Video is a dream come true as it includes the Italian-version of the film, Wampyr, a totally-different edit which excels because of the heart-pounding soundtrack by Goblin – the wizards behind director Dario Argento’s film scores.

The English-language version begins with a ferocious account of Martin’s bloodlust in a railway compartment. But this happens mid-way in the Italian version, where the Goblin score makes this scene a standout. Also memorable is a scene set in a swish modernist 1970s house where Martin plays cat and mouse with his victims.

Rough and ready around the edges, Romero’s inventive hand-held camerawork, naturalistic lighting and creative editing give Martin a truly experimental look, quite an achievement considering its low budget.

A true original, Martin was also first to present the vampire as a supernatural being who lives among humans, and who also has human problems like finding love, a job and meaning in the modern world. Maybe today’s hit shows True Blood and The Vampire Diaries wouldn’t exist without the likes of Martin.

The special features also include ‘Making Martin: A Recounting’; Documentary on George A. Romero; TV and radio spots; original theatrical trailer; photo gallery; four sleeve art options; double sided poster; exclusive collector’s booklet; six original poster art postcards. What more could you ask for?

Released 28 June


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