1977's Martin is Romero's fifth horror film. Technically, I consider this his fourth because I believe 1973's The Crazies draws too wide of an angle to be considered true horror (I'll be available after this review if you're interested in punching me in the face for such a remark). Martin is also acclaimed special effects/makeup artist Tom Savini's first collaboration with George Romero that would eventually form a great working relationship between the two. Savini lent his talented hand to other horror films throughout his 30-year reign but most fans hold his work with Romero in the highest regard. He drew quite a bit of influence from his time served as a combat photographer in Vietnam and due to these horrific experiences, Tom was able to recreate gruesome yet realistic carnage that was highly innovative at the time.
Aside from working in the special effects and makeup department, Savini also starred in a number of Romero films as an actor - sadly, he officially announced his retirement from special effects a few years ago but still participates in other areas of film-making.
Martin is about a young man with an affliction; he craves human blood. A shy and reclusive soul, he ends up killing young women just for the opportunity - not necessarily on purpose, but as a result of his desire. His second cousin, sworn to uphold the principality and honor of the family, believes Martin is of vampiric decent and has chosen to watch over him and cease his activities.
As I mentioned before, Tom Savini starred in a number of Romero's works - this was also his debut as an actor. Savini delivers a believable performance while he accompanies the rest of the cast in an "average" performance overall. The acting could have been better but it was decent enough for what it needed to be. Romero succeeds in creating a solid, desolate atmosphere that represents Martin's inner turmoil perfectly. Throughout the film's duration you capture a sense of what it must be like for the main character to deal with the predicament he's in. Unfortunately there are various segments that don't seem to hold importance to comprise the film's message. The editing is less than stellar and the audio is merely "ok". These negative points may give fans the wrong impression; they do not overshadow the end result.
A good portion of Romero's films operated on a lower-than-average budget. Later this would improve as his popularity increased. As far as his earlier works are concerned, what he lacks in resources he compensates with intelligence. It's no surprise that Romero's films are laced with some sort of commentary; covering a wide spectrum of man-made or physiological facets that form the world we live in. Martin dives head-long and addresses the fallacy of social stereotyping. Is Martin really a vampire due to his affliction or is it an inherited disease? Should he be shunned or medically treated?
For viewers who are seeking a quick thrill and immediate action, Martin won't provide enough satisfaction. If you're the type of individual who enjoys giving a film some thought before jumping to any rash conclusions, this may be for you. There are viewers out there who believe Martin's overall presentation is lackluster, dull, and overrated. I wouldn't be surprised if these individuals discredited Creepshow 2 in their swift accusations. The only thing you can do in a situation like this is ignore them...or more practically, burn them alive inside a Brazen Bull, then push them off a cliff.