Like a Blood-sucking Dexter Before Showtime Decided he Needed to be Sexier

The Beer–Vampire Pale Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V., Belgium

This one comes in a 750ml and weighs in at 7% ABV. I shouldn’t have to explain why it’s paired with this movie. And I really can’t, because I don’t get what vampirism has to do with the flavor of this beer at all. It’s got a lot less hop to it than an American pale ale, and instead that familiar Belgian coriander on the nose. Full palate-covering malt, and a flavor that’s kind of…pissy? Not the best beer ever but it was drinkable. And I did.

Belgian Pale Ale--I don't know what exactly is going into that mouth but it isn't blood.

Belgian Pale Ale–I don’t know what exactly is going into that mouth but it isn’t blood.

The Film–George Romero’s Martin

Much like in the last film I talked about, had Martin not begun with the title character brutally raping and murdering a woman in the sleeper car of a train, you wouldn’t know that he was anything more than a socially awkward fellow with a seriously backward family. And unlike Canibal this film hits on a subject that has recently had me fascinated: cultural specific diseases. The central question of Martin is whether or not he’s actually a vampire or just a sexually-deranged murder. Potayto-potahto I say (as do others), and really I think the central issue here is culture.

Having been dumped onto his Tateh Cuda, the character of Martin is unable to shake his connection with an old-world “family curse”. There are black and white scenes throughout that allude to Martin actually being several hundred years old, carrying out vampiric activity in other countries. Tateh Cuda (and his precognition of Richard Harris’s Jurassic Park garb) seems to support this memory, throwing another level of #dafuq into the plot. So what’s the connection between Martin’s propensity for jabbing syringes into women’s necks, raping their unconscious bodies and lapping up their blood like a schnauzer?

There’s a lot to be said for the power of suggestion in culturally specific diseases. There may be a simple cause for bizarre behavior, yet it’s so definite in its symptoms and so dependent on a cultural belief, that it creates its own category. In Malaysia there’s a disorder called “Pengamok” that only occurs in males between 20 and 45. Like a tsunami, these dudes will retract and socially isolate themselves, then suddenly unleash a murderous rampage on whoever gets in their way. In several Asian countries “Koro” outbreaks happen in social clusters–it’s a spate of fear and panic brought on by the illusion or idea that one’s genitals are retracting into one’s body and completely disappearing (read more about that kind of fun stuff, here, among other places). I’ve also recently picked up a book about early 20th century psychiatric cases…and…wow…first I’ll say “hysteria”, and then I’ll say T.G. I didn’t live back then because I would’ve probably have gotten an ice pick lobotomy.

But more on that later.

I guess my point is that with the suggestion of a “family curse” and the constant harassment from his uncle, it’s small wonder that Martin believes he’s been alive for hundreds of years and feels the need to call into the radio station to reveal “the truth” about vampires.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally got to check out this classic, because by most accounts apparently I’m not a real horror fan if I haven’t seen it. PHEW I’M LEGIT, YOU GUYS!!!!

2 thoughts on “Like a Blood-sucking Dexter Before Showtime Decided he Needed to be Sexier

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