The Driller Killer (1979)

ABEL FERRARA

Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.

USA, 1979. . Screenplay by . Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Film Editing by , , , .

Abel Ferrara made his way into feature filmmaking with this dull and uninspired horror feature in which he, ill-advisedly, stars in the lead.  He’s an underground artist barely getting by in late-seventies New York City, working on a new painting that will hopefully be his salvation except that working on it is difficult with all the distractions: his two pretty roommates are more into each other than they are into him, a rock band has moved into the apartment below and won’t stop making noise, and he’s having trouble paying the bills.  Driven literally out of his mind by the anxieties of his making it in the Big Apple, he goes out late at night with his power drill and drives it into homeless men he finds on the street as a way to relieve the pressure in his mind.  Ferrara would go on to make much better films about the corrosive nature of urban life, but Ms. 45 has the spirit of vengeance to really inspire its juicy violence and Fear City has a terrific detective story around which to frame its terrors.  Here it all feels random and haphazard, scenes of empty dialogue along the lines of the dullest Andy Warhol Factory films followed by gory injuries that neither feel like the cathartic reward that horror movies usually provide, nor do they deliver frights that raise your pulse.

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