The 1970s Gritty Vampire Thriller Gets Rediscovered And Restored

By Matthew Flynn | Published


Although it’s had a difficult time escaping the long shadow cast by George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the vampire movie Martin, is known to be Romero’s personal favorite of his oeuvre. Now, with its 4K UHD restoration and release, the film could find a new audience that appreciates it as much as Romero himself.

The Premise


Martin is a reimagining of vampire lore, a story rich in Romero’s signature brand of social commentary and psychological depth. The film follows a shy young man convinced he is an 84-year-old vampire inhabiting modern-day Pennsylvania. His supposed vampirism is a direct manifestation of his personal struggles.

The New Release


The new 4K Ultra HD release not only visually revitalizes the movie but also boasts a bevy of special features. It includes several audio commentaries, offering insights into the making and impact of Martin. The commentaries feature Romero himself, along with key cast and crew members like Tom Savini and John Amplas.

There’s a rich assortment of HD featurettes, including Taste the Blood of Martin, providing a deep-dive into the movie’s history and impact, and Scoring the Shadows, which focuses on the evocative musical score performed by the band Goblin. In addition, the release contains trailers, TV ads, and radio spots, offering viewers a peek into the film’s original promotional materials.

A Struggle Of Belief Systems


Martin explores the tension between the traditional and the modern, the real and the fantastical, leaving viewers with lingering questions about the reality of Martin’s alleged vampirism. It’s an exploration of belief systems — Martin’s self-identifying as a vampire while his elderly cousin, Tateh Cuda, uses faith to try to cure him of his “affliction.”

More About The Man Than The Vampire

George Romero fans should find something to like in Martin, even if they are bigger fans of zombie stories than vampire films. Just as Night of the Living Dead elevates itself beyond niche zombie movies, in Martin, Romero tells a story that is more than a traditional vampire tale. It cherishes ambiguity, refrains from unnecessary exposition, and shifts focus from the supernatural to the psychological. It’s a film that isn’t merely about a vampire, but a study of a troubled individual.

First Time Collaborations

The original script had the character of Martin as an older man. However, after Romero saw actor John Amplas onstage in Pittsburgh, he decided to rewrite the character as younger so Amplas could be cast in the lead role.

Romero’s fifth movie, Martin marked the first time he collaborated with special effects artist Tom Savini who later went on to partner with Romero on Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.

The Finished Version Strayed From Romero’s Original Vision

The theatrical version, included in the release, is 95 minutes long. Romero had wanted the film to be in black-and-white, but ultimately it was shot in color with only Martin’s flashbacks and dream sequences in black-and-white. A 165-minute-long original cut has never been shown publicly, while the initial European release was re-edited by Dario Argento to tell the story in chronological order.

Too Obscene For The Public

Also known as Wampyr internationally, Martin was originally released in 1977 and was confiscated under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 in the UK.