Martin is an American horror film from 1978. It's probably George A. Romero's most poetic and melancholic movie, as well his personal favorite among his filmography.
A notable modern, skeptical, and unusually laid-back take on the Vampire myth and the lore and tropes commonly associated with it, the story centers on the titular character, who is convinced he is a vampire and moves with his cousin, Cuda, who is also convinced of this fact. He is clearly a serial killer and rapist; he murders women to drink their blood. But is he really a vampire, or is it all in his and Cuda's minds?
Not to be confused with the 1990s Martin Lawrence sitcom.
This movie features examples of:
- Affably Evil: Martin is very personable and dorky, but he's also a murderous serial rapist and probably insane.
- Bath Suicide: See Driven to Suicide.
- Creator Cameo: Romero appears as a priest, Tom Savini appears as Christine's boyfriend.
- Death by Irony: Cuda murders Martin over one of the few deaths Martin didn't cause.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Martin's Imagine Spots of his victims portray them as romantic The '30s Vampires Are Sex Gods film victims. Returning to reality shows the exact opposite.
- Disposing of a Body: Martin makes one look like a suicide, buries another. Cuda buries Martin in his backyard.
- Driven to Suicide: The woman Martin befriends.
- Downer Ending: Cuda blames Martin for his friend's death, which was actually a suicide, stakes him while he sleeps and buries him in the garden. Downplayed, because whether or not Martin was a real vampire, he did commit several murders.
- Gaslighting: It's unclear where the idea that Martin is a vampire comes from, but whatever it is, it's strongly implied Martin has been told many, many times by Cuda and the rest of their family that he is one.
- Gorn: Martin's staking.
- Hereditary Curse: Cuda claims that Martin's vampirism is the result of a family curse that goes back generations. While going through a family album, he points out several other relatives who allegedly had the curse, some of whom even took their own lives.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Or suicide. Martin leaves several razor blades and drugs around the body of his first victim, and places her in a position that makes it look like she took her own life.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The entire theme of the film.Martin: (to Cuda) There is no magic.
- Monster Misogyny: Martin's victims are almost all women, and the only man he gets is by accident.
- Not What It Looks Like: A bizarre variation. When Martin breaks in on one of the victims he's been stalking, he finds she's there with a man — and not her husband. The man invokes the trope, and in a truly chilling moment, the woman Martin has been stalking exclaims, "I DON'T KNOW WHO HE IS!"
- Obfuscating Disability: Martin pretends to be deaf in order to "collect money" for his disability. But in secret uses this moment to scope out the house when the people are getting their purse.
- Older Than They Look: Martin claims that he's 84.
- Our Vampires Are Different: They probably don't even exist. And if they do, they don't have any traditional weaknesses besides stakes to the heart, or powers. Sunlight appears to hurt their eyes, and it appears to be heriditary. Blood is required for them to keep functioning, and Martin, apparently, is eighty years old, despite looking like a teenager.
- Schrödinger's Gun: Romero decided for purposes of making the film that Martin is not a vampire, but deliberately left things ambiguous enough that the viewer could see it the other way.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Caroline admits that she's going away with a man who's obviously wrong for her just to get away from Cuda.
- Serial Killer: What Martin is indisputably.
- Troll: At one point, Martin lunges at Cuda wearing a vampire cloak and fake fangs, then mocks him for thinking vampires are real.
- Tortured Monster: Martin. Whether he's a vampire or just nuts, it's clear he doesn't enjoy it.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Completely averted. Martin, when not being creepy, is uncomfortable around women (save cousin Christine, and that's probably because she's a blood relation).
- Vampires Hate Garlic: Cuda employs this. Martin shows this is a Discredited Trope as he bites down on a clove.