Eugenio Martín, one of the most eclectic filmmakers in Spanish cinema, has died at the age of 97. Responsible for one of the most unique filmographies in the industry, his work has been admired by colleagues such as Alex de la Iglesia either Quentin Tarantinowho is said to have hallucinated in 1997 at the Sitges screening of ‘Panic on the Trans-Siberian‘ (1972), probably his most internationally known film, in which the protagonist of ‘Barbarian’, Justin Long got into an episode of the series ‘Creepshow’.
From science fiction to Julio Iglesias
Martin, who sometimes signed his work as Herbert Martin, Martin Herbert or Gene Martin is especially remembered for the film starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, a co-production shot in English, also Telly Savalas, the mythical Kojak, Alberto de Mendoza, Julio Peña, Silvia Tortosa and Helga Liné. It was a box office success with a collection of 26 million pesetas and 755,427 viewers.
Something more than the source of inspiration for ‘Panic on the Trans-Siberian was John W. Campbell’s Sci-fi story ‘Who goes Here’, which had been adapted by Howard Hawks in ‘The Enigma of Another World’ and later by John Carpenter in ‘La Cosa’, with whom he shares Closed environments with an icy outdoor environment and frozen alien monsters taking possession of the bodies of his victims, more or less how Hammer would have taken the text to the cinema.
His other great horror title was ‘A candle for the devil‘ with Aurora Bautista and Esperanza Roy. Martín was born in Ceuta in 1925 and moved to Granada shortly after, where he was assistant director to the British Guy Hamilton and Michale Anderson and also worked with the American Raymond Nicholas. He debuted with ‘Single party’ in 1960, and went behind the camera in iconic productions such as the spaghetti western ‘The price of a man’ and ‘Life goes on’ with none other than… Julio Iglesias, according to one of his songs.
They were also popular at the time. ‘A stupendous lady’, with Lola Flores or ‘The girl from the Red Mill’ with Marisol. His last work, ‘La sal de la vida’, premiered in 1996. Among other films of his it is worth highlighting ‘The Leandras’ (1969), interpreted by Rocío Dúrcal and Alfrendo Landa and José Sazatornil. In his filmography, pirates, zombies and aliens mixed with popular idols, forming an unclassifiable filmography in which his horror films crossed borders.