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Martin (1978) – Episode 57 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“Things only seem to be magic. There is no real magic. There’s no real magic ever.” With this line, Martin laments the lack of real magic in life, even while claiming to be an 84-year-old vampire in a 20-year-old’s body. Join your Grue Crew as we pay tribute to George Romero by discussing Martin (1978), his personal favorite of his films, a truly unique and innovative take on vampires. Doc Rotten is still on hiatus, diligently working on the next issues of the Gruesome Magazine quarterly print and electronic editions. (Issue #2 is now available. Don’t miss out!) In the interim, your regular hosts, The Black Saint and Jeff Mohr, are joined by the capable and knowledgeable Bill Mulligan, film director, and special guest Thomas Mariani, the hardest working man in podcasting.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 57 – Martin (1978)

Written, directed, and edited by George A. Romero, Martin is an intense and realistic treatment that follows the exploits of Martin (John Amplas), a seems-to-be young man who claims to be 84 years old, and who certainly drinks human blood. The boy arrives in Pittsburgh to stay with his Uncle Kuda (Lincoln Maazel), who promises to save Martin’s soul and destroy him once he is finished, but Martin’s loneliness finds other means of release. Also in the mix are Martin’s cousin Christina (Christine Forrest) and her boyfriend Arthur (Tom Savini).

The Grue Crew doles out heaping helpings of praise for Martin. Bill Mulligan marvels at the high quality of the acting performances even though several key members of the cast have minimal film credits. Bill and Jeff Mohr point out Romero’s masterful editing and how it efficiently tells the story while eliciting tension, horror, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. Thomas Mariani observes that much of Martin’s interaction with other people might place him somewhere on the autism spectrum. Jeff is intrigued by the use of the call-in radio show to add insight into Martin’s mental state. The crew also discusses how the characters all seem trapped in one way or another. Martin and Kuda are trapped by their family legacy, while Christina and Arthur plot to escape the traditional trap set for everyone by the comfortable, slow torture of their surroundings.

Bill, Thomas, and Jeff each owned the finger guillotine magic trick Martin demonstrates in the film (The Black Saint ignored the trick and actually severed fingers) and we all remark on the effectiveness of Tom Savini’s simple and cost effective gags. Finally, as The Black Saint loses all semblance of control, we take a trip down memory lane and wax nostalgic about the different ways we each fed our hunger for horror films.

Check out the other Decades of Horror episodes that delve into the films of George Romero: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Creepshow (1982), Day of the Dead (1985), and The Dark Half (1993).

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

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Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) – Episode 56 – Decades of Horror 1970s

“How’d you like to wake up with pieces of cat in your stomach?” Eww! So says one of the dubious, but fearless, vampire hunters in this episode’s featured film, Count Yorga, Vampire (1970). Doc Rotten is still on hiatus, diligently working on the next issues of the Gruesome Magazine quarterly print edition (You have yours, right?). In the interim, your regular hosts, The Black Saint and Jeff Mohr, are joined by the capable and knowledgeable Bill Mulligan, film director and bon vivant, and Chad Hunt, comic book artist/writer and host of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast. Journey with this episode’s Grue Crew as they don their crushed velvet smoking jackets and channel the Count.

Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 56 – Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)

In Count Yorga, Vampire, Count Yorga (Robert Quarry) gives pseudo-séances while scouting women to victimize with the aid of his ghastly assistant Brudah (Edward Walsh). Paul (Michael Murphy) and Mike (Michael Macready) attempt to rescue the Count’s most recent victims, Donna (Donna Anders) and Erica (Judy Lang), with the help of Dr. James Hayes (Roger Perry).

The brainchild of writer/director Bob Kelljan and producer/actor Michael Macready, Count Yorga, Vampire was made on a skintight budget of $64,000 while having the look of a film with a much bigger investment. Robert Quarry gives an excellent performance as the Count and creates a vampire unlike any other in cinema. At one time, Quarry was thought to be a successor to Vincent Price, but events did not unfold as planned. Viewers will almost certainly recognize Roger Perry and Michael Murphy as accomplished, capable actors who plied their trade in film and television throughout several decades.

Count Yorga, Vampire has several iconic scenes that still haunt The Black Saint years after he first viewed the film as a seven-year-old. In fact, he places it in his top ten horror films of the 1970s. Bill Mulligan questions the filmmakers’ explanation of the kitten scene and thinks something a little more horrific might be closer to the truth – with the help of Brudah, of course. Jeff Mohr loves the film but questions whether an overdubbed, long walk through the city was an effective way for Paul and Mike to devise a rescue plan. In fact, Chad Hunt thinks they are the stupidest vampire hunters in the history of vampire films. The rest of the crew couldn’t disagree. Though there might be some holes in the plot, the hosts all highly recommend Count Yorga, Vampire for its production values, horrific and memorable scenes, and stylized vision of vampires.

We want to hear from you – the coolest, grooviest fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1970s podcast hosts at theblacksaint@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.