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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.



(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


The blood runs in rivers... The drill keeps on drilling 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?


James O'Hara's final film. 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 »


[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 »


Referenced in Western Blvd (2012) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Arthouse nasty

This is probably best looked at in the context of Ferrara's other work, rather than in the context of the rest of the British video nasties list, because it is actually a surprisingly good film. Rather than a mere body count movie, Ferrara's first movie is a Repulsion-style portrait of a man's descent into psychosis; a bleak yet darkly comic urban paranoia movie with actually far less graphic bloodletting than its detractors would have us believe. Despite the obvious low budget, the acting and cinematography are all perfectly competent in evoking the claustrophobically squalid milieu which leads to the breakdown of the protagonist (played by the director himself). The film's power lies in its accumulation of individual scenes and images, though unfortunately it fails to maintain the tense atmosphere, as interest begins to wane towards the end. This is an interesting and technically accomplished film from a first-time director, introducing the same distinct visual style and themes which have dominated his later films. As a piece of late-70's low-budget independent exploitation cinema, it is head and shoulders above the rest.

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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
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