Abel Ferrara, USA, 1979, Arrow Films, Horror

“Essential, not only as a [time capsule] and a legit punk film but also as a vibrant, highly troubling work of art.” -- Joseph Neff, Letterboxd

Showing an even seedier side of ‘70s New York than TAXI DRIVER or THE WARRIORS, Abel Ferrara’s landmark debut provides a look back to when Manhattan was an unforgiving labyrinth, a city of sleaze inciting panic and inspiring an era of filmmaking that has rarely been equalled. DRILLER KILLER strikes a terrific balance between atmosphere and shock -- and as a bonus, features some of the most repulsive on-screen pizza eating ever!

Starving, irritated artist Reno (played by Ferrara himself) lives in a squalid tenement and is plagued with nightmarish visions. Plus, his girlfriend is often more enthralled with her live-in lesbian lover than with his ghoulish visage. Tenuously clinging to sanity, Reno works desperately on a huge painting which he hopes will earn some money -- but his concentration is shattered when a punk band moves next door and plays around the clock. Reno snaps, darting around the nocturnal city streets and picking off bums with his electric hand drill.

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  • 96 mins
  • Color
  • 1.37:1


  • DCP
  • 35mm