5.0/10
4,793
109 user 67 critic

The Driller Killer (1979)

Unrated | | Drama, 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 $7.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
China Girl (1987)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    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
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
The Addiction (1995)
Horror
    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 | Mystery | Thriller
    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
Antropophagus (1980)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A group of tourists become stranded on an uninhabited island where they are stalked by an insane, violent, and grotesque killer that slaughtered the town's former residents.

Director: Joe D'Amato
Stars: Tisa Farrow, Saverio Vallone, Serena Grandi
Evilspeak (1981)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An outcast military cadet taps into a way to summon demons and cast spells on his tormentors through his computer.

Director: Eric Weston
Stars: Clint Howard, R.G. Armstrong, Joe Cortese
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A disturbed young man who was burned as a child by his sadistic mother stalks women with a flamethrower.

Director: Joseph Ellison
Stars: Dan Grimaldi, Charles Bonet, Bill Ricci
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
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

Gory remake of the Gaston Leroux classic story, only this time, the phantom is not disfigured, but a man who was raised by rats deep under the Paris Opera House.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Julian Sands, Asia Argento, Andrea Di Stefano
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An elderly heiress is killed by her husband who wants control of her fortunes. What ensues is an all-out murder spree as relatives and friends attempt to reduce the inheritance playing ... See full summary »

Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Camaso
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:

Drama | 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

James O'Hara's final film. 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 The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) 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

 
A hit for Abel Ferrara
18 July 2004 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

It has been said of Abel Ferrara that you will either be turned on by his artistic vision, or be left cold by it. I'm split down the middle when it come to his films, I've liked half the ones I've seen but disliked the other half; this one fits firmly in the 'like' side of the equation. The Driller Killer is another entry into the 'shock' cinema repertoire, which is topped by such classics as The Last House on the Left and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Driller Killer hasn't gained itself as much fame or notoriety as those two, but don't let that fool you; it is still a very good movie.

The story follows an artist, who, through the pressures of his work and various things going on around him, is slowly driven insane. His insanity is brought about by lack of money and a punk rock band that has moved in upstairs. We are able to see the frustrations of our 'hero' increase throughout the movie, especially when the plot thickens and several other things in his life go awry. Because of this, we can see that there is a reason for the brutality that is later shown in the film, and therefore this movie can take credit for having a story behind it's violence, and not just having brutality for the sake of it.

The Driller Killer was originally banned as a "video nasty" because of the notoriety it gained for it's cover art, as opposed to it's content. This can be seen clearly by the fact that The Driller Killer isn't actually that gory. Of course, as the title suggests; this film features a drill being inserted into various places on the human anatomy; but unlike a lot of other movies of this ilk, the horror doesn't come as a result of the huge amounts of gore spurting from the wounds, but rather from the noise that the drill makes while being used, and the insanity of the main character. However, gorehounds will still find lots to like about this movie and the people without a strong stomach are probably best staying clear.

Overall, the Driller Killer is a creative and inventive insight into insanity. It's not a masterpiece like some movies that deal with a similar theme, such as Taxi Driver, but it a very good movie and recommended to fans of shock cinema.


14 of 21 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:
?