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.
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
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]
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 »
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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