Abel Ferrara directs this 1979 b-movie, and plays the leading role Reno Miller, but as an actor he goes under the alias Jimmy Laine. Reno is a struggling New York painter commissioned to paint a masterpiece for his art dealer, but when the painting takes longer than he expected Reno starts to struggle with bills, hallucinating, and his girlfriend Carol (Carolyn Marz), and their live-in lover Pamela (Baybi Day).
When a local No Wave band named Driller Killer moves in downstairss and practices day and night it sends Reno over the edge. He starts prowling the dark and dirty streets where the homeless reside and Reno takes his anger out on them using his power tool.
Due to its graphic nature, at least by 1970s terms, “The Driller Killer” was banned in many countries upon its release. But that wasn’t the only controversy that came with the film. Ferrara has said that half of the movie was shot in 1978 and the other half was shot in 1979, giving explanation as to why the wardrobe and hairstyles changed throughout the film. He also claims that the black guy cleaning the taxicab window near the beginning of the film was Bruce Willis. That has never been proven.
Despite the controversy and the savage murders, “The Driller Killer” is an art-house style horror film that was arguably outrageous nearly 40 years ago, but today, it fails to impress.