The Driller Killer (1979)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Horror, Thriller


The Driller Killer (1979) Poster

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.


5.1/10
6,166

Photos

  • Frank Hazard and John Paul McIntyre in The Driller Killer (1979)
  • Carolyn Marz in The Driller Killer (1979)
  • Abel Ferrara in The Driller Killer (1979)
  • The Driller Killer (1979)
  • Abel Ferrara and Carolyn Marz in The Driller Killer (1979)
  • Abel Ferrara in The Driller Killer (1979)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


27 August 2002 | Infofreak
Unfairly maligned punk rock psychodrama.
Abel Ferrara's 'The Driller Killer' is generally best know for igniting the "video nasty" debate back in the 1980s in Britain and little else. Which is a shame because it is a fascinating low budget psychodrama. The horror or slasher tag it is usually given is quite misleading and will no doubt disappoint hard core horror fans expecting quite a different kind of movie. Sure it does eventually lead to a violent climax but it is closer to being a character study of a man driven to insanity by his squalid, and increasingly anarchic urban environment. Almost like a bargain basement 'Taxi Driver' with some CBGBs era atmosphere thrown in. Along with Uli Lommel's little seen 'Blank Generation' there are very few other films that successfully document the mid 70s NYC punk scene of The Ramones, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, The Cramps et al, and 'The Driller Killer' is worth viewing for this reason alone.

Ferrara himself plays the lead character, tortured scumbag artist Reno. In his later, more sophisticated, and yes, better movies this role would no doubt have been played by someone like Keitel, Walken, Hopper or Gallo. Ferrara doesn't have the acting chops these guys have and so the movie suffers somewhat, but even so, his performance is crude but effective. Unknowns Carolyn Marz and Baybi Day as his girlfriend and his girlfriend's girlfriend respectively are both more than adequate, and The Roosters may be second rate but help lend some authentic punk rock feel to this underrated slice of urban nihilism. While by no means my favourite Abel Ferrara movie, this movie doesn't deserve to be dismissed. I like it.

Critic Reviews



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Did You Know?

Trivia

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.


Quotes

Pamela: Hey, while I was in the pizza parlor, this creepy old man came up to me and said, "sweetie, you don't have to kiss to make babies." So, I waited until it was about time to leave with the pizza, so I walked right up to him and said out loud, "I know,...


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.


Crazy Credits

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


Alternate Versions

The film has had a rough time in the UK. Before 1984, when videos were not subject to censorship in Britain, it was released with the killings intact, although a minute of non-violent footage was missing from this version. It then got a reputation as one of the most notorious of the "video nasties", a media-fueled hysteria which led to the UK adopting some of the most stringent video censorship in the Western world. This reputation arose largely because of the video cover, which showed the infamous drill-in-the-forehead scene. After 1984, it became illegal to release a video without a BBFC video certificate, and the films' reputation was such that no-one even bothered trying until 1999, when a version omitting 54 secs from the head-drilling scene and 2 earlier murders was approved for an 18 certificate. The full uncut version was finally passed by the BBFC in November 2002.


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

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Horror | Thriller

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