There are very few "name" filmmakers more punk rock than Abel Ferrara, a guy who doesn't give a shit about any of the politics of Hollywood and makes movies that only he can make. He's unconcerned with having big box office success (beyond what will allow him to make another movie) and makes real art, albeit most times within a framework of genre and exploitation cinema. With a handful of great films to his credit (Ms. 45, Bad Lieutenant, King of New York) and a couple others that are quite good -- or, at the very least, interesting -- Ferrara is a filmmaker whose work is always worth seeing even when it doesn't completely work. He's a true original.
1979's Driller Killer is only his second feature, having previously directed a couple of shorts and one hardcore porn, 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy, before being inspired by the success of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to make a low-budget horror movie. He casts himself (under the name Jimmy Laine) as Reno Miller, a New York artist who's broke and frustrated and being driven crazy by the New Wave band practicing in the apartment upstairs. One day, Reno finally snaps and begins murdering people with a power drill. That's the movie.
Driller Killer arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video, who have given the cheap 16mm film an impressive 4K restoration and included two cuts -- the 96-minute theatrical version and a 100-minute "pre-release" version -- in two possible aspect ratios: a 1.85:1 widescreen and a 1.37:1 full frame option that adds a little information to the top and bottom of the frame. Perhaps even more entertaining than the movie itself are Arrow's bonus features, starting with a new commentary by Ferrara and moderator Brad Stevens. On both the commentary and the 20-minute video interview, Ferrara is totally outspoken and uncensored in everything he says, lending the conversations about the film and his career a refreshing honesty. I could listen to him talk all day. Also included is a visual essay about Driller Killer, the original theatrical trailer and, best of all, appearing on home video for the first time is the feature-length documentary Mulberry St. that Ferrara directed in 2010 covering the New York locations where he made his movies. A standard definition DVD of the movie is also included.
Blu-ray release date: December 13, 2016
DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
Blu-ray bonus features:
Mulberry St. documentary