Martin – DVD
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: John Amplas, Lincoln Maazel, Christine Forrest
Review by Brian M. Sammons
In this day of friendly vampires, sexy vampires, sparkly vampires, and vampires bemoaning their lost humanity, isn’t it odd that they all get shown up by a young little blood sucker who’s not even a member of the undead? Further, is it strange that a low budget flick made in 1977 and shot in Pittsburg is far more horrifying than the vast majority of Hollywood’s big budget, modern vampire movies? Well it might be, but when you consider that this little movie was written and directed by the man who brought the undead into the modern age, yeah I’m talking about George A. Romero, then it all makes sense. The vamp flick in question is Martin and it is out on a brand new DVD from the British disc masters, Arrow Video, but is this DVD worth all the extra trouble of getting it sent from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean (at least for us North Americans)? Well let’s find out.
The movie follows the exploits of a young man named Martin with a slight problem; he’s a vampire. Or at least he thinks he’s a vampire. Where would he get such a wacky idea? From his fresh-from-the-old-world family, they all think he’s a vampire too. So what’s a confused boy to do? Well start killing people so he can drink their blood, naturally. Martin is one of the most original vampire stories ever put to film. It’s part splatter goodness, part detective procedural, and all around great. Well acted and well directed, this movie is a must see for horror fans looking for a break from the bland, the teenage targeted, and/or the endless remakes that comprise the modern horror genre.
Now this is the part where I tell you all about the extras, and boy do I have a lot to tell. Little things like double-sided cover art (thereby giving the disc owner the choice of how to display it), a seven page booklet written by Romero, a double-sided wall poster, and six poster art postcards are just the icing on this wonderful cake. As for the extras, well first this is a two disc DVD set, so you know there’s going to a lot of them. Audio wise, the sounds come in both stereo and a 5.1 Dolby Surround sound, not to mention an commentary track with Romero, makeup special effects master Tom Savini, the producer, composer, and the director of photography. The featurettes include a making of documentary, a European doc on Romero, and audio files of Romero, Savini, and others. Then there’s the usual suspects like movie trailers, a photo gallery, and TV and radio spots.
However, where this disc goes far beyond the norm is the inclusion of the Italian version of the movie (called Wampyr) with English subtitles and soundtrack by Goblin. Yes, Arrow Video puts a whole other version of this film onto the DVD just because it’s got a killer soundtrack. That right there illustrates why I love these British disc masters so much; they are obvious fans of the movies they put out and they have nothing but love for other fans of classic horror movies. Just like this movie is a breath of fresh air in the modern emo vampire world, the fact that Arrow Video goes to such lengths on a DVD, while so many big Hollywood studios are content to put out bare bones DVDs, saving all their extras for the Blu-ray version of their movies, is yet one more example of how these guys get it and how business of putting movies out on disc should be done.
If you are a fan of this groovy, truly unique vampire film then this is the version of the movie you’ve been waiting for. You can order your copy today at: Arrow Films and I highly suggest that you do so.
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