26. Martin - And now, finally on to a movie about a different kind of undead altogether... or is it? This is George Romero's take on the vampire movie... It never caught on as well as his take on zombies, but, in my opinion, it's one of the best vampire movies out there. I guess it's a little harder to make decent rip-offs of this concept without looking like a rip-off, or just another generic serial killer movie, while, as evidenced by the first couple weeks of this blog, there are quite a few things you can do with the idea of the dead returning to life. I also think this is one of Romero's best movies, period. The black and white flashbacks give it a sense of style and mystery that most of his other work doesn't have - we may not know why the zombies are coming back to life, but that's not really the same sort of thing as wondering "Is our main character really a vampire or not?", even if the answer to both is, ultimately, not as important as the movie around the questions - and that is quite different from other vampire movies as well. While I love Night of the Living Dead, and, as I said before, consider it one of my favorite movies of all time, there isn't really anything in it that matches the quiet sadness, and sometimes intense creepiness, of the character of Martin and John Amplas's performance as him, or the parade scene at the end of this movie - it's a small, understated sort of scene, but it says so much. It's kind of crazy to think that it wasn't planned, or scripted, it just happened. I don't think Martin is one of my favorite movies of all time, even if I think it's the best of his movies, and very good in general.. Night of the Living Dead makes the list largely because of the influence it's had, and the fact that it created the entire modern zombie subgenre. Martin isn't anywhere near that important, but that's part of its charm... It's not exactly rare, but it's a bit lesser known, and doesn't have the weight of all of its imitators to judge it against, so it's easier to judge, and enjoy, it on its own.
Interestingly (at least to me), I've been doing some research on Asperger's Syndrome lately, and it really seems like you could possibly diagnose Martin with it... Though officially it wouldn't exist as a diagnosis for about 15 years after this came out. Just an odd bit of synchronicity there.