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The Driller Killer (1979)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  15 June 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 4,462 users  
Reviews: 104 user | 58 critic

An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill.



(screenplay) (as N.G. St. John)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Reno Miller (as Jimmy Laine)
Carolyn Marz ...
Carol Slaughter
Baybi Day ...
Harry Schultz ...
Dalton Briggs
Alan Wynroth ...
Al the Landlord
Maria Helhoski ...
The Nun
James O'Hara ...
Man in Church
Richard Howorth ...
Stephen - Carol's Husband
Louis Mascolo ...
Knife Victim
Tommy Santora ...
Rita Gooding ...
TV Spot
Chuck Saaf ...
TV Spot
Gary Cohen ...
Voice-over (voice)
Janet Dailey ...
Girl at Audition
Joyce Finney ...
Girl at Audition


Reno is an artist struggling to survive in NYC. He draws inspiration from scenes of daily street life and occasional random violence. Under pressure to finish his oft-delayed grand masterpiece, his psychotic alter-ego takes over and he begins killing random vagrants to boost his creativity, not quite realizing that it is happening in reality. When an art dealer grimly rejects Reno's finished masterpiece, Reno's mental condition quickly deteriorates. Written by Elfin Slade

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are those who kill violently! See more »


Horror | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Driller Killer  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$20,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (uncut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Title is mentioned in the song "Nasty" by The Damned - a song about horror movies that were banned in the U.K. after the Video Recording Act of 1984. See more »


When the Driller Killer drills into a homeless man's head, he does not drill far enough to cause death, as evidenced by the depth of blood on the drill-bit. See more »


Reno Miller: Oh, so it's finished? Thank you. It's finished... Since when did you become such an expert on painting? I mean, you're telling me it's finished? What do you know about painting, anyway? Really, what do you know about paint? I'll tell you what you know about paint, man: you don't know nothing about paint, man. You know what you know about? You know about how to bitch and how to eat and how to bitch and how to shit and how to bitch! But you don't know nothing about paint, so don't tell me when ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Movie opens with message "THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD." See more »


Referenced in DVD-R Hell: Tequila and Bonetti: Teach Your Children (2015) See more »


Invention in Bb; Arioso
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (as J. S. Bach)
Performed by Joe Delia (as Joseph Delia)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Art, Love, Punk Wave, Insanity, Rejection and Death
10 September 2006 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In New York, the painter Reno Miller (Abel Ferrara) shares a loft with his girlfriend Carol (Carolyn Marz), who left her husband Stephen, and their roommate Pamela (Baybi Day). Reno is having difficulties to pay his bills, while is obsessed painting his masterpiece, a buffalo with a hypnotic eye. When a punk band moves to his building playing day and night, Reno cannot sleep and drives insane, going to the streets with a driller, killing homeless derelicts. When the art dealer calls his painting a mockery, and Carol returns to her husband, leaving him alone, Reno goes totally mad.

"The Driller Killer" is polemic, forbidden in England in the 80's, but it is a good low budget slash movie. The red color very alive prevails in most of the scenes, and together with the nervous camera, provoke a sort of discomfort sensation in the viewer. The characters and the insanity process of Reno are very well constructed, and the story also captures the punk wave of that moment in New York. There is a good and worth explanation for the church scene in the beginning of the movie in IMDb Message Board written by SyZombieLoserKid. Although indicated for specific audiences, "The Driller Killer" is a good film. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Assassino da Furadeira" ("The Driller Killer")

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
That's nearly 2 hrs of my life I want back!!! sassylee-1
Bought this for £1 dallywhitty
the worst video nasty.. comedy_dan
Does a Sountrack to this film exist? Benzo
But then its not a horror movie is it?! mysparkle
BAYBI DAY honeymoon_hatchet
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