The Driller Killer (1979)

Article 3612 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-20-2011
Posting Date: 7-5-2011
Directed by Abel Ferrara
Featuring Abel Ferrara, Carolyn Marz, Baybi Day
Country: USA
What it is: Serial killer with a power tool

A disturbed artist, driven over the edge by the events in his life, begins roaming the streets and killing derelicts with a power drill.

Though the movie isn’t very good, it’s better than it could have been. I think it’s because director Abel Ferrara (who also plays the killer) has a good feel for the seedy, gritty, sleazy atmosphere that serves as a backdrop for the story. It’s easy to see how someone living in this sordid and ugly atmosphere would flip out, especially when a punk band moves into the apartment next door and begins practicing at all hours of the night. The problem is that once the killing begins, the movie begins spinning its wheels, and once it starts moving again, it’s in the most obvious of directions. Furthermore, there are some moments that misfire, though the one that most comes to mind may or may not be intentional; if the director was trying for laughs with the killer’s obsession with a Port-a-Pak, he succeeded, but I don’t really think that was his intention. The punk atmosphere feels pretty authentic, and it’s interesting to see a movie of this sort that seems primarily influenced by TAXI DRIVER rather than the usual type of serial killer story. It’s nasty, definitely not for everyone, but not worthless.

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