Character Analysis: Martin Edit
In 1978, George Romero released his dark and mopey teenage vampire film, "Martin". The story observes Martin, a teenage vampire played by John Amplas, who relocates to a small town in Pennsylvania to live with his cousin following the death of his mother. The character of Martin is very interesting because whether he is truly a vampire, is never certain throughout the film.
In the opening scene of "Martin", Martin is shown killing a woman on a train. He sedates the woman, rapes her, slits her wrists with razor blades, and then he drinks her blood. Upon Martin’s arrival to Pennsylvania, Cuda, his elderly Catholic cousin, makes it very clear to Martin that he means to save his soul, and then destroy him. Cuda is a superstitious man, convinced that there is a curse on the family which has resulted in Martin becoming a vampire, or "Nosferatu", as Cuda so lovingly calls him ["Martin"]. Martin himself also believes that he is a vampire, claiming to be an 84-year-old man. However, he does not entertain the same superstitious ideas about magic as Cuda, and quickly proves to Cuda that his precautionary garlic cloves and crucifixes have no merit. Despite both Cuda and Martin’s attestations that Martin is a vampire, Martin exhibits characteristics that suggest that his actions of killing and blood drinking may be better explained by psychosis, rather than vampirism.
Throughout the film, pieces of Martin's past are shown through black and white flashbacks. These flashbacks reveal why Martin could believe he is a vampire. His whole life, Martin’s family, and those closest to him, treated him as Cuda does; they treated him as an outsider. His family used the curse as a way to explain and justify Martin’s odd behavior. Instead of realizing that Martin needed help, they acted out of fear and told him that he was a vampire. It is a classic case of othering, defined in this course as “categorizing a person/group as ‘not one of us’” [Course Slides]. Martin’s family’s superstitious beliefs mixed with Martin’s psychopathy most likely lead to Martin developing into the “vampire” we see in “Martin”. HealthLine defines psychosis as “an impaired relationship with reality” and “a symptom of serious mental disorders” [HealthLine]. By being told repeatedly that he was a vampire, and treated as one, Martin’s relationship with reality became impaired as he was conditioned to believe that he was truly a vampire.