Sunday, September 15, 2013

Art, Music and Drillbits: The Driller Killer (1979)

The Driller Killer (1979)
rating: ***1/2
starring: Abel Ferrara, Carolyn Marz, Baybi Day

I obey, oh almighty all-caps sign on the screen!
Ah yes, Abel Ferara's infamous little nasty, oh what wondrous times we had together~!

Reno is an artist with problem; not only is he scraping for cash, but he's also repeatedly berated by his girlfriend and their lesbian roomie for cash and dope. To make matters worse, a band called The Rooster moved in to one of the neighboring apartments and began jamming, much as a distraction for Reno from finishing his big commission work with an art collector who's willing to pay him big for the  very surreal painting.

Stressed beyond sanity, Reno eventually broke out of his demeanor and went on through a nightly killing spree targeting homeless people with his battery pack-powered powerdrill! And the more he went on with his daily life and newfound "hobby", the deeper and more personal he goes with this massacre. It isn't too long now before he's pushed further beyond the edge and isn't killing vagrants anymore...

The Driller Killer is less of an actual slasher film; focusing more on the titular character himself in his lowest puts the film more in  psycho-thriller category, as a precursor to movies like Maniac (1980) or Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but with the level of savagery from the killings far from restrained and the bodycount as heavy as it can, it still enough to gain recognition among slasher fans.

It's a dirty movie in its coating, but underlying this seemingly nihilistic approach to the world, the film is a lot deeper than a mere film about a psycho with a powertool. As far as the flow is concerned for that case, the movie is as unsettling to follow as everything about it seems to be synced with Reno's gritty and alienated lifestyle (made more effective with the film's low-budget and overall grindhouse feel); hot flashes of violence and other disturbing visions worked their way through the scenes while we watch our lead killer loses sanity from one moment to the next, paced to test our patience with this character since as he boils down, fed up from the imperfections he has to lived with (a vagrant father, poverty, dissatisfied girlfriend, just to name a few) and just decides to deal with the matter the only way he can vent. And apparently it involves a powerdrill.

However, as deep as The Driller Killer tries to fuse splatter film elements with  talks of social commentary, this doesn't hide the fact how cheap and raw the direction of the movie is. Unnecessarily drawn-out scenes are a common complain coming from this movie, and add the matter that the film's dialogue is anything but clear, it's not hard to imagine why some viewers would have a hard time trying to enjoy it. Still, it's a half-and-half workable movie, and it does have a sizable fan base, so I guess the gritty semi-realism this film has did its job to unnerve and distraught people.

While not entirely the best Video Nasty to be included in the list, it certainly proved its worth. marketing of this film alone was controversial enough as upon its video release, its front cover features an edited screencap of one of the movie's nastier killings, much to the shock of angry mothers and religious zealots who fears the image is too extreme for the public. Well, personally it was, but it IS a horror movie so I don't usually expect cute lil' pegasi dancing in front of the cover.
Not even for you, Scootaloo!
All in all, a worthy viewing for fans of gore, grit or anyone who just had a thing for red-stained powertools.

1 male powerdrill to the chest
1 male killed with powerdrill
1 victim killed with powerdrill (mostly offscreen)
1 male powerdrill to the gut
1 male powerdrilled on the back
1 victim powerdrilled to death
1 male powerdrill to the back
1 male repeatedly powerdrilled on the back
1 male powerdrill to the forehead
1 male crucified with drillbits, powerdrill to the neck
1 male pinned to the door with via powerdrill through chest
1 female presumably killed with powerdrill
1 male powerdrill to the side
total: 13
These eyes had seen things. terrible things.

1 comment:

  1. "I'll tell you what you know about! You know how to bitch, and how to eat, and how to bitch, and how to shit, and how to bitch!" D:<