Martin, the main character in the George Romero film of the same name, is an example of a deviation from what we regard as the traditional vampire. The Vampire myth stems from Eastern European Folklore where vampires are "supernatural creatures; the reanimated body of a dead person believed to come from the grave at night and suck the blood of the living".  While Martin does suck the blood from his victims and it is implied that he is older than he appears that is where the similarities between him and traditional vampires end.
The film begins on a train going from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh. While on the train Martin breaks into a girls cabin and injects her with a syringe full of narcotics. A struggle between the girl and Martin ensues and he has a hard time fighting against her. After the girl is completely sedated Martin takes off his clothes and beings kissing and caressing the girl, it is not clear whether or not he rapes her. Then Martin takes a blade and slashes the girls wrist, this is his method for consuming blood.
Martin is in Pittsburgh because his grand-uncle, Tateh Cuda, is taking him in after Martins immediate family in Indianapolis dies. Tateh is a believer in the "old ways" and is sure that Martin is a vampire, or as he refers to him, Nosferatu. Tateh gives Martin a few ground rules, he is not to talk to his cousin Christine who also lives with Tateh and if anyone in the town is to die under odd circumstances Tateh will drive a stake through Martins heart. Tateh tries several ways to repel Martin which are traditional in vampire lore such as; garlic, crosses, and blessed religious statues but none of it works. Martin mocks Tateh's attempts and says "there is no real magic". Martin begins working in Tateh's grocery store and delivers groceries to clients, from these interaction and ones with his cousin Christine we see that Martin is a bit slow and very shy. He especially has a hard time talking to women, he seems more like an awkward teenage boy than a vampire. One customer, Mrs. Santini, grows rather fond of Martin because she is able to vent about her unhappy marriage. However, when she starts to pursue Martin sexual he is unsure how to act and seeks advice from a local radio station but start trying to dispel myths about vampires.
Martin then begins to feel the urge to consume blood and follows a woman he sees at the local market. He rings her door bell pretending to be deaf and finds out she has a husband. He waits for a night that he thinks she is alone and her husband away on business and breaks in to her house. However, his plans are foiled when he discovers that her lover is with her. He ends up having to drug both of them, he rapes the women and feeds off the man. In the mean time Christine is frustrated by Tateh's insistence that Martin is a vampire and decides to leave. Martin feels hurt by her departure because she is his only real friend. He mentions his being upset to the radio DJ and what happened to the women and her lover. Martin then agrees to have an affair with Mrs. Santini and tells the DJ this is the first time he has had sex with a woman who is awake. Martin tries to feed again, this time targeting two homeless men as his victims but he is nearly caught by the police after he breaks into a store in order to change out of his blood drenched clothes. After his escape he goes to visit Mrs. Santini but finds her dead from an apparent suicide. Tateh doesn't believe that Mrs. Santini killed herself and thinks Martin is behind her death, so as he promised he drives and stake into Martins heart and buries him in the back yard. 
Is Martin Actually A Vampire? Edit
Although the legitimacy of Martins vampirism is never fully established there are hints of his validity. Tateh mentions a curse on the family that originated in the old country as the origin of Martins vampirism. Also when Martin is stalking women before he kills them the film cuts to a black and white shot where we see Martin in a time long before the one in which the movie is set with a women who apparently knows and cares about him, him feeding off her, and angry villagers chasing him. However, it isn't clear whether or not these scenes are memories that Martins has or fantasies he uses to drive his blood lust.
The Difference Between Martin and Traditional Vampires: Edit
- Martin does not have fangs and instead uses a blade to get the blood of his victims.
- Martin does not possess the ability of mind control.
- Martin is not negatively affected by sunlight, garlic, crosses, or any other holy object.
- Martin does not sleep in a coffin.
- Martin does not control animals.
- Martin cannot shape shift.
- Martin cannot change people into vampires.
- Martin is neither charming nor terrifying.
- Martin is not pale nor does he look otherworldly.
- Martin does not have a harem of women.