The Driller Killer

The Driller Killer ★★★½

Artfully scummy, with a "Texas Chainsaw" delirium to it. What a time capsule of the streets of New York in the '70s! I felt like I was gonna get mugged by homeless junkies just watching this. It's not every slasher film that's about the killer himself, nor that veers through non sequitors in such a way that doesn't totally derail the effect. One minute there's a band rehearsing, then cut to two naked girls making out in the shower, then cut to a skinned rabbit hanging in a closet..wait what movie am I watching again? But it's agitating and even strangely funny in parts (like when a phone is thrown out the window).

Director Abel Ferrara himself plays the lead which is weird, like when Polanski starred in his own "The Tenant" (think also Soderbergh in "Schizopolis"), because they're not known for acting in their own work (though both tried in many times throughout their careers in smaller roles) nor at all photogenic really. His is a distinct, brash energy, which paired with a high strung, unpredictable electronic score and Ferrara's raw coverage of NYC bustle make this a striking artifact even without the chilling drilling killings that eventually take over the narrative after about 40 minutes, though that whole development gets plenty of disturbing mileage out of madness and rage.

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