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An artist slowly loses his mind as he and his two female friends scrape to pay the bills. The punk band downstairs increasingly agitates him, his art dealer is demanding that he complete his big canvas painting as promised, and he gets into fights with his girlfriends. When the dealer laughs at his canvas he snaps, and begins taking it out on the people responsible for his pain and random transients in the manner suggested by the title. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While the Driller Killer prepares to drill a homeless man in the head, the homeless man continuously changes position between shots, in spite of sleeping soundly enough to not hear the Driller Killer revving his drill. See more »
[Reno opens an envelope for the energy bill]
Holy Christ! What is this? They send us the bill to Madison Square Garden? What are they kidding me, man? How the hell are we supposed to pay this bill? What is this? The bill for three months?
That's the bill for one month.
Christ, what have we got here? A refrigerator, a couple of lights?
[opens another envelope]
Let's see here, telephone. Oh no! Houston, Texas?
Look at this, L.A. $1.50... $2.75... $7.50, man.
Yeah, they're mine.
[...] See more »
Movie opens with message "THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD." See more »
The thin line between trash-exploitation and art-house cinema
Despite of its reputation and the repulsive sounding title, Abel Ferrara's The Driller Killer is more of a social drama about life in the big city than it is a horror shocker. Ferrara himself stars as Reno, an unbalanced painter slowly going crazy due to financial troubles, the noisy punk-band next door, demanding employers and housemates, and non-stop images of the pauperized city. He buys a tool and unleashes his fury on the numerous homeless in the area. Driller Killer is truly grim and as much shocking as the classic film it's clearly inspired on (namely: Taxi Driver) but it lacks a fitting tone and a appropriate background drawing. The film opens with a very confusing sequence in which the protagonist is standing at an altar while being approached by an elderly man. This footage is extra since the 1999 re-release and it looks like Ferrara wanted to supply his film with some kind of spiritual depth. It leads nowhere, though. In fact, take out the killings and you're left with a somewhat boring urban portrait. Driller Killer was included in the infamous list of 'video-nasties' and therefore automatically received a controversial cult-status without people even seeing it. Although the substance matter doesn't belong amongst the other titles in the list, The Driller Killer often wanders on the thin border between trash-exploitation and art-house cinema, as it features voyeuristic elements (a gratuitous lesbian shower sequence) as well as sheer close-ups of blood-puddles and whirring drills.
Abel Ferrara without a doubt is one of the most remarkable directors in American cinema history. I'm a huge fan of most of his films like 'The Addiction', 'Bad Lieutenant' and 'The Funeral' It's not that I didn't like 'the Driller Killer', I just think that the poor production values really show off and that Ferrara did not yet had the professionalism and talent to make up for it by adding the trademarks that made his later films so brilliant. If you're interested by the repertoire of this often discussed director, you better don't start by watching Driller Killer. You're appreciate it a lot more after seeing some of his 90's films.
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