Monday, March 20, 2023

Martin (Second Sight Films 2023 release) – review

Martin is, of course, George Romero’s foray into the vampire genre, which was released in 1976 (in festivals). The film has been reviewed here, and the score remains the same, and so this review is for this Second Sight UK release and not the actual film. Note that there are both Blu-Ray and HD releases, as well as a limited release with slipcase, soundtrack, art cards and book. I am concentrating on the general release.

The film itself looks as great as I think it will. The transfer is beautiful but the grain within the film stock remains (and rightly so). It is a new 4k restoration, which was supervised by the film’s original DP Michael Gornick. As to the version, this is the standard US/UK version of Martin. It does not contain the fabled 3-hour cut (though it is mentioned several times in the extras) nor does it contain the Italian Wampyr cut – which I have on my older DVD and that version, due to the re-edit and the Goblin soundtrack, honestly, is awful and so no loss there.

Martin in vampire costume

The disc carries 4 commentaries. The first two sees George A Romero, John Amplas and Tom Savini on the first, and George A Romero, Richard P Rubinstein, Tom Savini, Michael Gornick and Donald Rubinstein on the second, and they are archival commentaries. I think the first of the two is the better but both are rich with anecdote. Of the new ones, Travis Crawford’s goes more into the input of various crew, whilst Kat Ellinger’s has a bit more media studies theory, often around the Gothic and with an interesting take on the differences between American and European Gothic.

John Amplas

Other extras are Taste the Blood of Martin, which is a feature length documentary about the film and a location tour – with a prominent appearance from star John Amplas. Making Martin: a Recounting, which is a film that does what the title suggests. Scoring the Shadows is a short but satisfying interview with film-score composer Donald Rubinstein. There is a short film by Tony Buba, ‘J Roy - New And Used Furniture’ – Buba’s family home was the location for Cuda’s house in the film and this is a short documentary film, contemporary with Martin, from a series he did about the town of Braddock (J Roy, who is the focus of the film, played the church Deacon in Martin). Finally, we get the trailer, TV and radio spots. As you can see, this is packed with extras.

The Blu-Ray release deserves a solid 9 out of 10 (as a Blu-Ray/4K release) with headroom for the limited set and the additional physical material it contains.

On Blu-Ray @ Amazon US

On Blu-Ray @ Amazon UK

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