I always felt like I was an expert in horror growing up. I was always watching all kinds of horror from SCREAM to SLEEPAWAY CAMP. Aside from my best friend growing up, no one at school seemed to recognize any of the straight to video titles I would mention. Who was I going to explain to why I kept closing my eyes while watching THE DENTIST 2 or why I don’t trust apples after NIGHT OF THE DEMONS? Now as an adult in 2016, I’m able to find several others around the world from the comfort of my home who share a distinct love of horror. It’s through various Facebook groups and podcasts in which I have discovered that I know nothing as there are thousands of movies I’ve never seen or even heard of. In the last few years, I have discovered cult classics like RE-ANIMATOR, THE STUFF, PIECES, and BLOOD RAGE. A lot of this is due to home video companies like Scream Factory and Arrow Video. These companies have managed to grab films that casual viewers might now recognize, but die hard horror fans have loved for years and have been faithfully waiting to hold restored versions in their hands. It doesn’t hurt that quite often updated special features like retrospectives and alternate cuts are involved, helping create a new viewing experience for fans.
One such movie I had never head of until recently is THE DRILLER KILLER, a psychedelic 1979 descent into insanity that provides a rock and roll presentation that’s not so often seen in modern day cinema. We follow Reno Miller, played by director Abel Ferrara, a sleazy artist who is having financial difficulty getting by. The pressures of being a creative spirit and an adult at the same time are quickly taking their toll as Reno finds himself running out of options. His internal mental breakdown begins to expose itself as Reno ventures into the night on the streets of New York City armed with a power drill, acting on his need to kill.
Arrow offers a beautiful restoration designed to be viewed on high definition televisions while still maintaining the grain and, dare I say, grimy look of the film. This fitting of a film like this as it feels more like an art experiment meant to explore the psyche of a starving artist. This makes even more sense after listening to the new interview with Ferrara on the Blu-ray as he discusses his time at a university and transitioning into a professional filmmaker. He has this street savvy attitude found in home grown New Yorkers that shines in his film with plenty of voyeuristic qualities. This release provides multiple viewing options for THE DRILLER KILLER, including the theatrical version and pre-release version. I’m not too sure of what the differences are as I opted for theatrical with this being my first time viewing it. Both versions also allow you to decide on 1:33:1 and 1:85:1 aspect ratios to help please both purists and those seeking the most modern viewing mode of their choice. The film can also be watched accompanied by a new commentary by Ferrara that will for sure convince fans to hurry up and buy a copy. Along with a couple other documentaries on Ferrara’s career and Mulberry St, this is a must have for fans.