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The Driller Killer (1979)
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The Driller Killer (1979)

Unrated  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  15 June 1979 (USA)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 4,418 users  
Reviews: 104 user | 57 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.

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(screenplay) (as N.G. St. John)
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Reno Miller (as Jimmy Laine)
Carolyn Marz ...
Carol Slaughter
Baybi Day ...
Pamela
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 ...
Attacker
Rita Gooding ...
TV Spot
Chuck Saaf ...
TV Spot
Gary Cohen ...
Voice-over (voice)
Janet Dailey ...
Girl at Audition
Joyce Finney ...
Girl at Audition
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

The blood runs in rivers... The drill keeps on drilling See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Driller Killer  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Reno opens an envelope for the Con-Ed energy bill]
Reno Miller: 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?
Carol: That's the bill for one month.
Reno Miller: Christ, what have we got here? A refrigerator, a couple of lights?
[opens another envelope]
Reno Miller: Let's see here, telephone. Oh no! Houston, Texas?
Pamela: My mother.
Reno Miller: Look at this, L.A. $1.50... $2.75... $7.50, man.
Carol: Yeah, they're mine.
Reno Miller: ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Fear in the Dark (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Unfairly maligned punk rock psychodrama.
27 August 2002 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

Abel Ferrara's 'The Driller Killer' is generally best know for igniting the "video nasty" debate back in the 1980s in Britain and little else. Which is a shame because it is a fascinating low budget psychodrama. The horror or slasher tag it is usually given is quite misleading and will no doubt disappoint hard core horror fans expecting quite a different kind of movie. Sure it does eventually lead to a violent climax but it is closer to being a character study of a man driven to insanity by his squalid, and increasingly anarchic urban environment. Almost like a bargain basement 'Taxi Driver' with some CBGBs era atmosphere thrown in. Along with Uli Lommel's little seen 'Blank Generation' there are very few other films that successfully document the mid 70s NYC punk scene of The Ramones, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, The Cramps et al, and 'The Driller Killer' is worth viewing for this reason alone.

Ferrara himself plays the lead character, tortured scumbag artist Reno. In his later, more sophisticated, and yes, better movies this role would no doubt have been played by someone like Keitel, Walken, Hopper or Gallo. Ferrara doesn't have the acting chops these guys have and so the movie suffers somewhat, but even so, his performance is crude but effective. Unknowns Carolyn Marz and Baybi Day as his girlfriend and his girlfriend's girlfriend respectively are both more than adequate, and The Roosters may be second rate but help lend some authentic punk rock feel to this underrated slice of urban nihilism. While by no means my favourite Abel Ferrara movie, this movie doesn't deserve to be dismissed. I like it.


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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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