A medieval reenactment troupe find it increasingly difficult to keep their family-like group together, with pressure from local law enforcement, interest from entertainment agents and a growing sense of delusion from their leader.
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
George Romero does for vampires what he has already done to zombies - an intense and realistic treatment that follows the exploits of Martin, who claims to be 84 years old, and who certainly drinks human blood. The boy arrives in Pittsburg to stay with his uncle, who promises to save Martin's soul and destroy him once he is finished, but Martin's loneliness finds other means of release. Written by
David Carroll <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sometimes it seems to me that the "users" who comment on movies here go out of their way to miss the point. The horror storyline here isn't just "vampire nonsense" nor does Romero succeed in spite of his "lowbrow intentions." The film IS a horror film, as successful in "revising" the typical vampire films as other 1970's classics like McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Point Black were in "revising" the western and gangster genres respectively. The film would hardly be as interesting if it were some kind of slick production with the usual trappings. Instead Martin is a low-key intense underplayed film that reverses the usual expectations without rejecting its genre.
I don't think Romero is somehow upholding the ideals of faith either; the religious zealot, Martin's uncle, is the least sympathetic figure in the movie, though he may be right in thinking that Martin is "nosferatu." Or his fanaticism may have created the delusion in Martin's mind, an attempt to reject the religious dogma by adopting its traditional/mythic opponent. In any case, Romero's take on faith is very complex and is as interesting in this film as his complex take on individuality and consumerism is in Dawn of the Dead.
Romero makes great use of the depressed area of Braddock Pennsylvania, the kind of down on its luck, conservative, fading neighborhood I know from my own experience. The setting is essential to the movie, but Romero doesn't overplay it. The radio talk-show angle isn't as well handled but it is interesting.
I thought this film was very impressive in its deadpan update of the vampire story and Martin is a strangely moving character. Ultimately the movie is a much more convincing dramatization of the "serial killer" figure than we get in most films now, despite the current fascination with that type. (P.S. Romero was so good in the 1970s..how did he fall to the likes of Creepshow?)
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