Directed by: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Abel Ferrara, Carolyn Marz, Baybi Day

There were two things which led to my viewing of this film. First was the simple fact that it made the infamous 'video nasties' list in the UK, and the second was an image of the original VHS cover which showed a rather brutal scene in which a man was getting a power drill right through the skull. As it turns out these two facts are actually very misleading, but that's not to say that the movie was bad it just wasn't what I expected.

Director Abel Ferrara plays (under the name Jimmy Laine) the man character Reno Miller, an artist who is struggling to make ends meet as he finds himself dealing with professional problems, personal problems and a band which has just moved into the building. It's not long before Reno seemingly goes insane, running around the streets of New York at night murdering people with a power drill.

I have to say that even though I was expecting more of a slasher / splatter film I still enjoyed it for what it was. It kind of has a similar feel to Taxi Driver and Maniac Cop especially with the filthy New York streets and Reno's insane hatred for the scum living there. As for being on the 'video nasties' list I really don't think this deserved to have been included. It's a lot more violent than a movie like AXE but even for the late 70s I would think that there were plenty of worse films around. The scene I mentioned earlier with the homeless man's skull getting drilled is probably the most violent image in the movie, but even that looks fake so it really doesn't hit as hard as it probably did 30 years ago.
I'm still not quite sure why Reno decided to murder vagrants when he probably should have taken the drill to that amazingly terrible sounding punk band who moved into his building. Another thing which was strange was the fact that there is not a single police officer in the entire movie. With such a high body count in New York City you would expect the cops to come into it at some point, but no (this isn't a bad thing though, I actually thought it was a clever decision).

THE DRILLER KILLER is more of a drama / social commentary than a horror movie, which you may not guess by the way it was marketed, but it is still a pretty solid film. A few pacing problems lead to some boring areas but once the action resumes you forget all about it. Worth a watch, just don't expect to see a blood-soaked slasher.

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