THE DRILLER KILLER
Abel Ferrara taps into the same restless urban psychosis that Martin Scorsese did in Taxi Driver (1976). Ferraras Reno and Robert De Niros Travis Bickle are remarkably similar characters they are loner individuals living in New York City driven by a restless inability to sleep and are eventually compressed inward by the forces of the world around them to the point that they explode into violent release. Neither film offers any psychological insight into why their protagonists happen to snap; there is just the sense that they are a pot suddenly blowing its top after being brought to boiling point by urban pressure. In Taxi Driver, the pressures were a sense of almost apocalyptic moral degeneracy; while here it seems to be the struggles of an artist confronting poverty, mounting bills, fickle sponsors and the persistent irritation of a band practicing next door all night.
All of Abel Ferraras later films tap into the same sense of grim urban nightmare, of characters being crushed and overwhelmed by the moral decay of the world surrounding them. These themes are most evident in The Addiction (1995) where Lily Taylors becoming a vampire becomes an overwhelming insight into the true nature of human evil; and the stunning Bad Lieutenant, which offers a devastatingly seedy portrait of a corrupt, morally dissolute cop in a world that seems to have gone to Hell. In both of these later films, Abel Ferrara would discover and reach to Catholic redemption but that glimmer of hope is not present here. As a result, although his style is at this point unhoned, Ferrara creates a sense of overwhelmingly grim, grinding intensity.
Ferrara himself, with his lean frame, his long, almost prehensile jaw and shock of Afrod hair, gives a genuinely angry, seething performance as Reno. There is a considerable nastiness to the scenes of him attacking people at random in the streets with his power drill. It is a performance that convinces you that The Driller Killer is expressing something more than a little personal upon Ferraras part.
Abel Ferraras other genre films are: the rape/revenge drama Ms 45/Angel of Vengeance (1981); Fear City (1984) about a serial killer stalking strippers; the worthwhile and underrated remake of Body Snatchers (1993); the vampire film The Addiction (1995); the William Gibson adaptation New Rose Hotel (1998); and the End of the World film 4:44 Last Day on Earth (2011).
As part of the cycle of modern remakes of 70s/80s horror films, a remake of The Driller Killer was announced in 2007, although is yet to be greenlit.
Full film available online here:-