Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ghoul, Ghost, Killer or Fiend of the Day: MARTIN

Killer Sexy Stuff!

George Romero has always maintained that Martin is his favorite of his own movies, despite his obvious obsession with the Dead series that he began his career with and that will probably continue until long after his death. I can’t disagree: Martin is the only Romero film that gets me talking (although my favorite book of film theory, Steven Shaviro’s The Cinematic Body, discusses the Dead films extensively, and brilliantly. If you don’t read Shaviro, you should.)

All of the killing scenes in this film are excruciating. When people talk about audiences identifying with the characters in horror films I don’t think they mean that we SYMPATHIZE with the killers, but in this film that’s exactly what we do. Watching Martin doing “the sexy stuff” is almost like peaking in on a teenager losing his/her virginity. I don’t want to go on too long about Martin or Martin because I love him and every scene in it so much this little profile would end up being a detailed synopsis of the whole movie. So I’ll just mention my favorite scene then end with a quote from Romero himself. There is something sublime about watching Martin carrying two bags of groceries up long roads, across bridges, all in gorgeous ‘70’s yellowish-browns.

"If he is our own child; if he is our primal conscience, looking back at us from the center of our souls, then Martin is a truly dangerous creature. For then he has us all figured out, while we haven't come close to understanding him." —George A. Romero, March 1977


Cinebeats said...

Martin is probably my favorite Romero film as well. It's just so fantastic and chilling. Without a doubt, one of the best vampire (or should that be vampiric?) films ever made.

I've come across Steven Shaviro's blog a few times and it's terrific, but I've never read any of his books so thanks for The Cinematic Body recommendation!

K H Brown said...

Damn it - just when I send you a list of films, I realise I've forgotten about this one and that it would have made a nice alternative to the over-exposed Dawn of the Dead.

I like the Shaviro book as well - a nice polemic against tedious psychoanalytic theory.

Neil Sarver said...

This is one of the movies I most miss on my list and the only one that seriously tempted to break my one movie per director rule. It's an absolutely amazing movie on every level.

Ed Hardy, Jr. said...

Kimberly: I cannot overstate the importance of THE CINEMATIC BODY in my academic life. Shaviro's other book DOOM PATROLS is brilliant as well--but it's way more heavy theory on postmodernism in a universal sense, whereas THE CINEMATIC BODY keeps the focus on films by filmmakers I love: Cronenberg, Romero, Fassbinder, Warhol. As far as I'm concerned, it's a must read.

KH: Don't worry--I'm sure MARTIN will be nominated. I thought the nomination phase would be a good way for everyone to be reminded of all of those beloved but forgotten films.

Ed Hardy, Jr. said...

Neil: When you vote on the final list, are you going to stick to the one-film/director rule?

Neil Sarver said...

Ed, good question. On the non-English list, I did stick with it. I wasn't sure if I would or would be able to. I didn't, and won't, post that list, as it felt altogether less personal and interesting to me than my list on nominations, but there was ultimately enough there to do it.

Here again, it really depends on what the nominees are. There are a few people, such a Romero, that have enough movies I feel strongly enough about that I may sneak two on there if there's not enough competition to hold me to it. 31, like 25, is a small enough number that I'd definitely prefer to.