Wednesday, 27 October 2010

'the magic isn't real'


It would be facile to say that fans of Stephanie Meyer's vampire romance and its cinematic spin-offs need a remedial dose of this unsettling film by George A. Romero. Martin is not simply the anti-Edward/Lestat/Angel, he's the antithesis to the romantic dream that seems to stand at the heart of the killer mythos in popular culture. Not just a deconstruction of the lush, Castlevanian settings of vampire flicks by Universal and Hammer, Martin is also, in my opinion, a riposte to the rising tide of slasher flicks that Romero didn't really participate in, even if his work is sometimes lumped with it as 'mindless 70s gore horror'. Because Martin isn't just an antidote to the legend of the Nosferatu; he's also the truth at the heart of that other great romantic myth of horror cinema: the unstoppable, totally committed, totally crazed killer, a form of untrammeled ego that we are all too often invited, tacitly, to identify with. He's a confused, sick individual whose impulses are misdirected and dangerous, a misfit who craves the same things we all do. And yet this neither excuses him nor, we realise in the shocking last scene of this film, those who would persecute him in the furtherance of their own delusional agenda. Vampires don't burn in the daylight, boys may survive heartbreak but not stakes through the heart, killers aren't gods, god isn't watching, the magic isn't real. That is all.


PS: Is it significant that Martin's first victim reads this book? I don't know.

2 comments:

Space Bar said...

Excellent post!

Re that other great romantic myth of horror cinema: the unstoppable, totally committed, totally crazed killer, a form of untrammeled ego that we are all too often invited, tacitly, to identify with. , have you seen this post by MJH?

And how creepy about the Marilyn French! There was a perfectly nice cinematographer at FTII, who once borrowed by copy of the book and didn't want to give it back. He was thisvery academic looking person, most unlike a cinematographer - glinting spectacles, baggy corduroys and if you defocussed a bit, you could imagine a jacket with elbow patches.

Anyway. Something creepy about the way he wanted to hang on to my copy of the book. Or maybe I'm just imagining the creepiness now.

JP said...

That's a great post by MJH. I love the sideways, but always bullseye-accurate means he uses to make his points.

And that is a rather creepy incident. You must read too much into it and write a tale of terror at once.