This is a film that a friend whose taste I otherwise put faith in praised to the high heavens. After watching it, I dropped him a line to ask if this was the movie he was thinking of. Turned out that it was. And that he's not the only one who thinks "The Driller Killer" is an underappreciated. Oh well... I guess if there weren't room for differing opinions, there wouldn't be movie reviews.
The Driller Killer (1979)
Starring: Carolyn Mars, Jimmy Laine, and Baybi Day
Director: Abel Ferrara
Rating: Four of Ten Stars
The pressures of every day life as a struggling artist, combine with the sleep-deprevation of living next door to a punk rock band that practices at all hours of the day, gradually drive Reno Miller (Laine) insane and causes him to murder people with power tools.
If I had to live next door to that third-rate, mid-70s punk band that Reno is subjected to, I'd probably pick up a drill and murder people as well. I'd go after the band, not random homeless people, though. (I found myself increasingly grateful for the 4x play-speed on my DVD player whenever the filmmakers would attempt to subject me to a "musical interlude".)
"The Driller Killer" is a bit slow in getting started, and it fails to maintain the building tension as Reno loses his mind and goes on his murderous rampages--mostly because of the annoying interludes featuring generic punk music. This causes a film that could have been an okay artsy-fartsy slasher flick to end up as an artsy-farsty, sub-par and badly directed slasher flick.