The Driller Killer (1979)
(Release Date: June 15, 1979)

A Dog with a Drill!

The Driller Killer would be Really Thrilling (But itĺs Not!)

J.C. Mašek III... 

Video Nasty Critic!
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!!!








Ever hear of a "Video Nasty"? It's a label applied to videos in the United Kingdom by the British Board of Film Classification after the Video Recordings Act of 1984. Essentially it means "Banned in the UK". Interestingly, in many cases, this classification was actually quite a positive for the banned films, at least in the long run. Tell a Horror, Grindhouse, Midnight Movie or B-Movie fan that they can't see a flick, you'd better believe they're going to seek said flick out.

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This relates to 1979's The Driller Killer not only in that Abel Ferrara's cheapo turkey made the list, but in that the British Distributors of The Driller Killer (VIPCO) helped to start the whole mess in the first place, just a few years later in 1982. Taking out full page ads in a variety of publications around the Isles, VIPCO's disturbing cover (pictured) was prominently featured for all to see, which caused a flood of complaints, deeper than the torrents of blood in this flick.

Greater scrutiny was paid, and though The Driller Killer wasn't exactly the straw that broke the camel's back, eventually the Video Nasties list was drafted and Seventy-Four films were banned.

And now... The Driller Killer is out on DVD and hailed as something of a classic. It isn't. In fact, reviews, then and now, have been almost universally derisive. Looking back, it's hard to believe that a full page advertisement in any newspaper was warranted by this thing. It's a little disturbing, it's a lot bloody... it's not any good.

Abel Ferrara directs himself (though he's credited as Jimmy Laine) in a story by Nicholas St. John. Reno Miller (Ferrara/ Laine) is a struggling artist with Welcome Back Kotter hair and a hot live-in girlfriend (Carolyn Marz' Carol, whom, we quickly learn, not only has an estranged husband in Richard Howorth's Stephen but also has a live in girlfriend herself in Baybi Day's Pamela).

Pressure is building upon Reno from every direction. His bills are piling up, his obnoxious art dealer Dalton Briggs (Harry Schultz) refuses to give him any advances (except of the sexual kind), and a punk band called "The Roosters" has just moved into his building and is beating the shit out of their songs night and day. The guy is already unstable and nervous, but he suddenly can't even work. So he snaps worse than Ginger ever imagined.

After a long and gruelingly boring sequence in which Pamela keeps changing her mind about just where in the door she wants a hole drilled (POSITIVELY NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED DURING THE GRIPPING "PEEP HOLE POSITIONING" SEQUENCE), Reno buys an electric battery belt, plugs a drill into it and starts pulling a Patrick Bateman on the homeless all over the shitty city. Now that's darned rude.

For a while this keeps him steady, but slowly he loses more and more of his mind and... I'm too bored to go on.

Ferrara does make some interesting attempts at artistry here (considering all, the paintings aren't that bad for 1970's pop), but just about every surreal camera or directing trick he attempts feels ultimately lame and contrived. The dialogue is almost painful at times, and the brutality nearly impossible. He practices on a dead rabbit at one point. At another he crucifies a couple of dudes to walls or doors with drill bits. Yeah, that'd work.

In general, though, it's a slasher flick, with a drill replacing a Machete or a Freddy Claw. You could call it creative but, uh... I wouldn't.

There are plenty of torrents of blood, though. For B-Movie fans, and fans of gore, Grand Guignol or just Video Nasties in general, this might be a lot of fun. It's terrible, but it's that fun kind of terrible, worth watching for any fan... who isn't already a lunatic looking for a reason to snap. There is also a very nice shower sequence during which Marz and Day enjoy some naked Lesbian action against a shower curtain adorned with naked women. It seemed that there wasn't a single thing on any part of the screen that wasn't worth looking at. Bravo!

But in general, this is another bad film, immortalized by the very people who sought to remove it from the shelves. The Driller Killer gets a Dog! As opposed to a Bunny Rabbit. We see what happens to Bunny Rabbits in Abel Ferrara flicks. And homeless guys and... well, just about anybody else. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go drill a new peep hole in the door for my wife. I just wish she could decide where she wants it. But anything to drown out the neighbors. Oh, hey, Usagi's here!

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The Driller Killer (1979) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III
Who is solely responsible for the content of this site...
And for the fact that his tool box has only ever been used for constructive purposes.
I mean... damn!
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Drilly End!
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