4.9/10
4,656
107 user 60 critic

The Driller Killer (1979)

Unrated | | Horror, Thriller | 15 June 1979 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writer:

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC

IMDb at Comic-Con 2016

Visit our Comic-Con section to see what's trending, watch celebrity interviews, follow event coverage, browse cosplay photos, take our Fan IQ quizzes, and more.

Browse IMDb's Guide to Comic-Con

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

China Girl (1987)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A modern day Romeo & Juliet story is told in New York when an Italian boy and a Chinese girl become lovers, causing a tragic conflict between ethnic gangs.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: James Russo, Richard Panebianco, Sari Chang
Ms .45 (1981)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A shy and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day, in which she takes to the streets of New York after dark and randomly kills men with a .45 caliber gun.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Zoë Lund, Bogey, Albert Sinkys
Fear City (1984)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Strippers in Manhattan are being stalked and maimed by a psycho-killer. A conflicted ex-boxer-turned-talent-manager and his business partner and friend, who represent some of the girls, set out to find him before he strikes again.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Tom Berenger, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Scalia
The Addiction (1995)
Horror | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A New York philosophy grad student turns into a vampire after getting bitten by one, and then tries to come to terms with her new lifestyle and frequent craving for human blood.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Annabella Sciorra
The Blackout (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A debauched Hollywood movie actor tries to piece together one wild night in Miami years earlier which remains a drug-induced blur, and soon finds out that some questions about his past are best left unanswered.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Matthew Modine, Claudia Schiffer, Béatrice Dalle
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A ski-masked maniac kills apartment complex tenants with the contents of a toolbox.

Director: Dennis Donnelly
Stars: Cameron Mitchell, Pamelyn Ferdin, Wesley Eure
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

After being released from prison, a young gangster with a chip on his shoulder decides to punish society by making snuff films.

Director: Roger Watkins
Stars: Roger Watkins, Ken Fisher, Bill Schlageter
Cat Chaser (1989)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A Miami hotel owner finds danger when be becomes romantically involved with the wife of a deposed general from the Dominican Republic where he fought many years back.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Peter Weller, Kelly McGillis, Charles Durning
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A group of hippies wreak havoc on a small town and a young boy, whose grandfather and sister were attacked by them, decides to get even, with deadly results.

Director: David E. Durston
Stars: Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, Jadin Wong, Rhonda Fultz
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Luca Lionello, Salvatore Ruocco, Benedito Sicca
Nightmare (1981)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A mental patient embarks on a murder spree upon escaping from an institution.

Director: Romano Scavolini
Stars: Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith, C.J. Cooke
'R Xmas (2001)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A New York drug dealer is kidnapped, and his wife must try to come up with the money and drugs to free him from his abductors before Christmas.

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Drea de Matteo, Lillo Brancato, Lisa Valens
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:

It will shatter you! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Abel Ferrara claims that half of this movie was shot in 1978 and the other half was shot in 1979. This explains why the actors hair styles and looks in general change quite frequently during the movie. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Reno Miller: Look, I can't even think with these guys playing that music in the place below mine. It's like they play all day and all night. They don't quit for a minute. Hell, they don't even stop to go to the bathroom!
Landlord: It's not my problem. It's your problem.
Reno Miller: What do you mean it's my problem? You're the super around here. It's your job to keep this place quiet.
Landlord: My job? It's not my job. Besides, they don't bother me.
Reno Miller: What do you mean? Why should they bother you? Look what the hell you're doing, fixing spark...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Return of Shelley: Killer Driller (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Grand Street Stomp
Written by D.A. Metrov (as Metro), Abel Ferrara (as Laine) and John Paul McIntyre (as MacIntyre)
Performed by Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The thin line between trash-exploitation and art-house cinema
19 September 2004 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

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.


24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
That's nearly 2 hrs of my life I want back!!! sassylee-1
Bought this for £1 dallywhitty
This film is so underrated MelancholyPonyAndTheCircusBoy
the worst video nasty.. comedy_dan
But then its not a horror movie is it?! mysparkle
Does a Sountrack to this film exist? Benzo
Discuss The Driller Killer (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?