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The Driller Killer
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The Driller Killer (1979)

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Plot Summary:
"An artist slowly loses his mind as he and his two female friends scrape to pay the bills. The punk band downstairs increasingly agitates him, his art dealer is demanding that he complete his big canvas painting as promised, and he gets into fights with his girlfriends. When the dealer laughs at his canvas he snaps, and begins taking it out on the people responsible for his pain and random transients in the manner suggested by the title."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 07 March 2007 My Rating: out of 5


Loser artist Jimmy Laine (AKA director Abel Ferrara himself) struggles to pay the bills in his crummy apartment, must contend with the homicidal rock music being played in the apartment upstairs, and his overall inability to create a master work to appease art dealer Harry Schultz. Oh, and his disgruntled bisexual girlfriend (Carolyn Marz) is seemingly more happy slurping up soap suds off of their other female roommate (the weirdly named Baybi Day) in the shower (and why not?). So what’s a frustrated artist to do in scummy-looking 70s New York? Why use a cordless drill and take out his frustrations on winos and hobos, of course!…

Unbearable 1979 cult favourite (and feature film debut) from controversial director Abel Ferrara is just a lame, entirely tedious, amateurish “Taxi Driver” rip-off, despite a slasher movie title. Frequent noisy musical interludes are both perplexing and excruciating, and the lesbian shower scene is spoiled by grubby photography and two of the least appealing lesbians I’ve ever come across. And believe me, it pains me to make such a comment!

The film is relentlessly ugly and dank-looking from start until it (mercifully) finishes. Ferrara himself (under a pseudonym) is a tiresome presence playing a thoroughly objectionable character the audience has no interest in. And at least “Taxi Driver” (not my favourite film) moved! Score by Joe Delia (Ferrara’s “Bad Lieutenant”) and Ferrara’s colour scheme (primary colours, there’s even a goddamn church scene!) are definitely plagiaristic of Scorsese. Headache-inducing camerawork by Ken Kelsch (“Bad Lieutenant”) as well.

A disclaimer tells us that the movie should be played 'LOUD' (why?) but I think it works a little better on Mute! Easily one of the worst and most unpleasant films I have ever seen, and it’s not even as gory as I was expecting (Let’s face it, drills don’t leave big gaping holes do they?).

To be frank, it’s a worthless piece of excrament. Poorly made, badly acted, grubby to look at, unpleasant to sit through, and above all else, extremely boring. I’m gonna go take a shower…or five.

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