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.
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.
Billy Dee Williams,
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.
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
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 »
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 »
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!
It's not my problem. It's your problem.
What do you mean it's my problem? You're the super around here. It's your job to keep this place quiet.
My job? It's not my job. Besides, they don't bother me.
What do you mean? Why should they bother you? Look what the hell you're doing, fixing spark...
[...] 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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