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The Driller Killer (1979)

Not Rated | | 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:

Abel Ferrara

Writer:

Nicholas St. John (screenplay) (as N.G. St. John)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Abel Ferrara ... Reno Miller (as Jimmy Laine)
Carolyn Marz Carolyn Marz ... Carol Slaughter
Baybi Day Baybi Day ... Pamela
Harry Schultz Harry Schultz ... Dalton Briggs
Alan Wynroth Alan Wynroth ... Al the Landlord
Maria Helhoski Maria Helhoski ... The Nun
James O'Hara ... Man in Church
Richard Howorth Richard Howorth ... Stephen - Carol's Husband
Louis Mascolo Louis Mascolo ... Knife Victim
Tommy Santora Tommy Santora ... Attacker
Rita Gooding Rita Gooding ... TV Spot
Chuck Saaf Chuck Saaf ... TV Spot
Gary Cohen Gary Cohen ... Voice-over (voice)
Janet Dailey Janet Dailey ... Girl at Audition
Joyce Finney Joyce Finney ... Girl at Audition
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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:

The blood runs in rivers... The drill keeps on drilling See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Driller Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Navaron Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (pre-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Could have easily escaped the UK 'video nasty' list if the original pre-VRA video cover wasn't so graphic. it featured a very bloody close-up of a drill boring into a man's head with lots of blood. The video cover was featured in video catalogues and received many complaints. 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

Dalton Briggs: No, no, no, no. This isn't right. This is nothing. This is shit! Where's the impact? It's just a goddamn Buffalo!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The uncut version of this film had been banned on three occasions by Australian censors, in September 1982, July 1983, and November 1984. It was finally awarded an R rating in September 1985, after some violence was trimmed, most notably the scene depicting a drill through the forehead. This version was released widely on VHS. The Australian DVD released by Umbrella Entertainment is still the cut version even though a sticker on the cover clearly states PREVIOUSLY BANNED NOW RELEASED UNCUT. The artwork shows as rated MA but the disc shows rated R. The actual runtime is 94.20min whereas the unrated 2 disc region 1 version runs for 95.57min. See more »

Connections

Featured in Lorelai (2019) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Arthouse nasty
5 April 1999 | by Jasper-12See all my reviews

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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