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Film / The Driller Killer

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"As the drill finds its victim... the blood runs in rivers... and the drill keeps tearing through flesh and bone."

The Driller Killer is a 1979 horror movie directed by and starring Abel Ferrara, and is considered by many to be Ferrara's debut film.note 

By day struggling artist Reno paints to survive. Sharing the seamy squalor of his New York City pad are Carol and Pamela. Reno tries hard to keep them happy. The pulsating paranoia of the city squirms and crawls in his psyche. The feverish shadow world of the Lower East Side seeps into his subconscious. Rape, Murder, Terror. His mind splits under the strain.

By night, armed with a Porto-Pak electric drill Reno commits his first drill killing. His homicidal half spills the brains of innocent victims over the sidewalks of the city.

Carol abandons him. Rock rouser Tony Cocacola and the Roosters move into the apartment below and begin blasting his brain to oblivion. His art dealer criticizes his latest work. Reno responds with a fast finger on the trigger of his killer drill!

The screen releases the dream of an energy black as night and blood as real as love! Plug into terror with the driller killer!

Initially released on home video in 1982 by Charles Band's Wizard Video in the United States, the film was praised in the United States but lambasted in the United Kingdom as a Video Nasty and banned there for nearly two decades before finally being released there in 2002 (a censored version had previously been released in 1999). The film has since fallen into the Public Domain and can be viewed here on YouTube.

This film contains examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Reno. The line that separates his perception of reality is blurred as the story goes on, symbolized by clips of him drenched in blood.
  • B-Movie: One of the more controversial ones at the time due to its extreme violence.
  • Big Bad: Reno Miller, a frustrated artist who becomes a Serial Killer.
  • Gorn: One look at the cover and you'll see why.
    • Oddly enough, subverted by the actual film. Most of the kills are relatively tame, and the film is more of a dark character study than an outright Slasher Film.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: The Driller Killer
  • High-Pressure Blood: One unfortunate homeless bum (the first drill victim) had blood splatted when he was drilled by Reno. The other victims, less so.
  • Incessant Music Madness: The punk rock neighbors (which appear throughout the movie).
  • Jerkass: Reno, as a result of his built-up insanity. This leads to strained relations with his girlfriend, Carol.
  • Job Title: The Driller Killer
  • Kill the Poor: Reno originally targeted the homeless due to being disgusted by them.
  • Starving Artist: Reno. He fails to pay his rent; and Dalton, the gallery owner, has had enough lending money to him.
  • This Is a Drill: We really prefer the Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann version.
  • Video Nasties: Why do you think it was popular with the youth?
  • Villain Protagonist: Reno starts off as a Jerkass artist who spends his day hating on the homeless, and eventually the stress of his life leads him to become a Serial Killer.