Almost 25 years after the original release of Abel Ferrara's cranium-boring horror show, The Driller Killer's become something of an innocuous art film. Once reviled as the nastiest of the Video Nasties - a misconception aroused by the lurid video sleeve depicting a wino/Black&Deckerinterface - it's surprisingly lacking in gore. Instead it's a rambling attack on the dog-eat-dog world of late-'70s New York, as a stressed artist goes bonkers when he can't get any peace and quiet. (The power-drilling maniac is credited as `Jimmy Laine' but is actually played by Ferrara himself.)
This isn't your average slasher flick - and not just because drunks and hobos provide the fodder in place of nubile teens. Obsessed with urban alienation and styling his anti-hero as a mixed-up lonesome cowboy, Ferrara turns in a serious and depressing guerrilla movie. Drilling and killing take second place to the helmer's anger at social injustice. Thrill seekers will be disappointed.