The Driller Killer (1979)
Navaron Productions (In Public Domain)
Submitted by Charles Hamilton
Reno Miller - (Abel Ferrara) He has the punk artist thing down: denim coat, greasy hair, bad attitude, foul mouth. Is eventually driven past the edge by the all the evils of this town, and of himself and those around (also by his neighbors, the horrible punk band, the Roosters). Only person in this movie with moderately good taste in music. Goes on a drill-crazy massacre.
Carol - Reno's main squeeze. Possibly drilled by Reno?
Pamela - Has an ambiguous relationship with Reno and a not so ambiguous relationship with Carol. Is a little on the slow side. Probably drilled by Reno.
Dalton Briggs - Reno's kind of sleazy art dealer. He bats for the other team if you know what I mean. He wants to "drill" Reno if you know what I mean. Drilled by Reno.
Tony Coca-Cola - Extremely annoying lead singer of a really annoying punk band called the Roosters. Sadly, not drilled by Reno.
Stephen - Carol's ex-husband who has a lame 70s beard. Drilled by Reno.
Derelicts - I'm pretty sure a lot of these aren't actors. Many drilled by Reno.
A guy brandishing a portable drill at you is not friendly.
Punk rock audiences in the late 70s were an easy sell.
Punk rock bands practice 24/7, they don't even stop to pee. They never get any better.
No matter how public a place you are in New York City, you are never safe from been killed by a drill-crazy maniac.
If you're an art dealer, and your crazy artist invites you over in the middle of the night, you shouldn't go no matter how cute you think he is.
Showers in NYC are so loud that you can't even hear your husband getting drilled in the next room.
STUFF TO WATCH FOR
8 minutes - Creepy buffalo eye
9 minutes - Flying Telephone!!!!!
11 minutes - 1st craziness montage
22 minutes - Porto-pak!!!!!
28 minutes - Gratuitous lesbian shower scene!!!!!
35 minutes - 2nd craziness montage
56 minutes - And that's why you shouldn't harass people at a bus stop
59 minutes - Dude drilled in the head and then kissed!!!!!!
68 minutes - there's not enough booze in the universe to live underneath this dude
81 minutes - 3rd craziness montage
88 minutes - Dead dude on the door!!!!
Reno: "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?"
Reno: "You don't know nothing about painting."
Derelict: "What have you got in your hand mister? Ohh, a drill. What are you, a fixit man?"
OK, first off, I really like this movie. I gave it 2 slimes out of 3 because this one is not for everyone. The first 2/3rds of the movie is a bit too meandering for gore-hounds, and the drilling scenes are pretty darn graphic for those who like "arty-type" films. For those who can appreciate the late 70s low-budget, punk-rock vibe with some pretty gnarly drill scenes added in, then this movie is a special treat. This movie has fallen into public domain, and if you're a fan of this site, odds are you already own this movie as part of one of those 50 movies for $15 packs. If you don't own it, pick it up. I'm sure you can find it cheap.
The movie stars and is directed by Abel Ferrara (the director of King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) as Reno. Reno lives in a destitute apartment in NYC with his squeeze, Carol and her girlfriend, Pamela. I think Pamela is a little slow, or drugged, or both, so they have a kind of family with Reno and Carol as the parental figures and Pamela as the kid. Only, Carol and Pamela have sex together (complete with a gratuitous lesbian shower scene). I want to note that Ferrara did a great job capturing the urban decay of late 70s New York. Some of the footage of the local derelicts looks pretty real. In fact, I think the footage is real.
Reno is getting pushed over the edge by money problems, girl problems, coping with meeting a mysterious old man who is now a derelict and maybe his dad or something problems, finishing his giant creepy painting of a buffalo problems, dealing with his sleazy art dealer problems, and listening to the constant racket of the band that recently moved in next door problems. This band is Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters. They are one of the most annoying punk bands ever. They play non-stop, and never get even remotely better. You know how in music biopics the band really sucks at first, but by constantly practicing and hard work, they get better and kick ass in the last scene? Yeah, this band starts out really bad, they constantly practice, and in their final performance, they still suck. Don't get me wrong, I love 70s punk. But if these guys were real, I think that Dee Dee would had stabbed them. What's really weird is that with the exception of Reno and one derelict, every character in the movie loves this band. (note: If you're into 70s punk, there are a few shots of the front of Max's Kansas City, which is sweet.)
So the movie goes on, Reno gets crazier and crazier. Things are bad, but to cheer themselves up, the girls and Reno go and see the Roosters live. I think this is the final straw. Here are these hacks who are loved by everyone. They get groupies, money, drugs. And here a true artist like Reno (in his own mind) is left in a squalid state. How does one take out their frustrations in New York? Go on a drill-crazy rampage, of course. Reno runs out and drills a plethora of derelicts. There were so many, I lost count. One that stands out is this dude getting drilled in the freaking forehead, ouch!!! Also, during all this drill-craziness, Reno wears a battery belt called a Porto-Pak. This is before the days of cordless drills, I suspect.
After all his drill-craziness, Reno decides that the painting is done. Mind you, throughout the movie, he's "working" on this giant creepy buffalo painting, but it never changes. Despite Reno's bubbling-over artistic "talent," the dealer hates the painting (and honestly, who doesn't want a giant creepy buffalo painting hanging over their sofa?). Carol leaves, Pamela starts a relationship with Tony, Reno gets crazier.
Tired of drilling derelicts, Reno lures his art dealer over with the promise of some sweet loving. Instead, Reno drills his art dealer onto the door so that when it opens, he swings with the door. Pamela sees this and screams, and is probably drilled. The movie has a strange ending. Carol is back with her ex-husband. Reno tracks her down and drills her hubbie, and we're left to wonder if Carol is drilled. The ending seemed kind of tacked-on. I heard this movie took several years to make due to budget issues, so that might explain it, or maybe they were trying to be arty.
Two last notes. This film is still banned in Germany, and only recently became available in the UK as it was among the first movies added to the infamous "video nasties" list. Second, a UK remake is supposedly in the works according to that bastion of knowledge, IMDB.