Saturday, January 1, 2011

Driller Killer (1979)

An artist slowly goes insane while struggling to pay his bills, work on his paintings, and care for his two female roommates, which leads him taking to the streets of New York after dark and randomly killing derelicts with a power drill (Imdb rating 4.9)

This is the film that basically started the 'Video Nasties' list of mid 80's UK, a list of films apparently so depraved that they were outright banned in the UK. It is also terminally boring in the worst way. I bought this for $2, way too much to pay for the mess that is Driller Killer.

I wouldn't be surprised if every person involved in the making of Driller Killer, from the actors, to the crew, to the editor, were all completely high when they 'crafted' this movie. It's one of those things, where high people think they are making works of art when they are stoned, but in reality it's just a lot of screaming and random noises without merit. How else could I explain why a full third of this movie is hijacked by an awful punk band's 'performances', a lots of aimless guitar chords and nasally scream vocals (and not the good, Ramones kind). The regular scenes aren't any better, a mess of lengthy diatribes and the main character menacing bums with a drill to the face.

I had this expression throughout the entire movie

It tries so hard to be artistic, but it just isn't. It's a shame, because director Abel Ferrera obviously has film making talent, later on directing much bigger budget and more well known movies. I guess the movie nails down the griminess of New York well, it is technically fine in a cinematography sense, and Ferrera himself plays the asshole artist nicely (although it might not have been much of a stretch).

But the positives are irrelevant. The pace of Driller Killer is excruciating. It felt like an eternity watching it. I almost reached the stage of comatose several times, and I don't wish this movie upon anyone. Maybe if you have more of an inclination towards arthouse movies, and have a longer attention span than I, you might be able to glimmer something out of this mess.

Things I learnt:
  • Making out in taxis in the 70's was encouraged.
  • Abortions in the 70's cost $200
  • 'Alimony' is apparently hard to say correctly.
  • Handymen with drills are sometimes referred to as 'fixer men'.

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