Macabre...ish Horror Review: Driller Killer



The Driller Killer, 1979/ 96 min. Reno (Abel Ferrara) is the quintessential starving artist. As he works on his masterpiece, he struggles to pay bills and is overwhelmed by them. On top of that, a new neighbor, a band called The Roosters, plays constantly and the landlord doesn’t care to stop them. Those who want his art are often left unimpressed and no one is willing to lend him anymore money. 



These frustrations plus sleep deprivation have him on edge and a sudden fear of becoming homeless causes him to lash out at the local homeless population, taking out his frustrations on them. At first he tried to understand them and why they’re homeless, then their presence seems to taunt Reno. After a while, he becomes aggressive with them and as he becomes more unhinged, Reno evolves into a serial killer.



Now he copes with life by wandering the streets at night, murdering people with a drill. And a reckless one at that, he doesn’t even try to hide it. He’s a maniacal spree killer. Meanwhile, he’s still working on his masterpiece and once it’s done and presented to the gallery owner he works with, it is overwhelmingly rejected. And the rest of his life, his girlfriend leaves and his mind unravels as a result. And taking out his frustrations on the homeless aren’t enough anymore, he descends further into madness and begins to use his drill on people in his life. 



If you like trippy movies, this is one of those! The 70’s grainy cinematography, camera effects and music definitely makes it happen. The movie is gritty, dark and bleak, capturing the struggle really well. It’s graphic, bloody and little gory, plus a little nudity. It’s only scary in the watching-someone-go-insane kind of way. But it’s surprisingly good for what it is and begins to feel like a good slasher flick after a while. It was banned in the U.K. in 1984 due to censorship laws and is now in the public domain. 


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