It was the height of the Video Nasty era in the United Kingdom and the film Driller Killer made the list. Which, if you believe the 2010 documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Video Tape, a lot of that had to do with the graphic cover art of a guy getting extra ventilation in his head vis-a-vie a drill. The United Kingdom was going through a period of moral panic at the time about gory and violent horror movies getting into the hands of kids. It's the same old song and dance you've head a million times before about movies, television shows, heavy metal, rap music, video games, and comic books. Basically every new form of entertainment. So the morality squad got their hooks, created a video regulation system that was more hard assed than the MPAA to ban or censor films that were being sold in the UK.
There was a hit list of notorious movies. The end result was a list of movies that kids wanted to see because they were banned. Not exactly a win.
Anyway, one of the movies on the list is Driller Killer, a movie that I have not seen until tonight.
This Film Should Be Played Loud
At the beginning of the film there is a title card advising that this movie should be played loud. I'm not surprised since the version I saw has such shitty audio it sounds like everyone is talking underwater. It's atrocious. So right off the bat, I've got a huge dislike for this film. If your movie sounds like they never took the microphones out of the box, just stop making movies.
Spoiler Alert: 1970s New York City Was a Cesspool
This movie was filmed in the 1970's when New York City was a mostly a huge shit heap. When it comes to trash cinema like Driller Killer it is just wall to wall filth. Dirty dingy apartments, scuzzy untalented punk bands who probably mercifully died of heroin overdoses, and dirty tortured artists and drug addicts.
A half hour into the movie, I've seen a unkempt artist, a very unnecessary lesbian shower scene, a hoity art dealer and a skinned rabbit.Other than a few dream sequences there the drill kill count is zero.
The problem with the plot is the fact that in the 1970s, battery powered drills were not a thing. So the writers came up with a plot point about a device called a Power Pack. The best way to describe it is this: Picture a fanny pack of D-cell batteries with a plug on it. The sales pitch is that you can run your hair dryer on the beach or whatever nonsense that was convenient for junked out New Yorkers in the 70s. For 19.95 (that's 86.02 in today money) you can get a device that makes you look like a dork and can power your hand held appliances for probably 30 seconds, because 70s.
Oh, It's a Sex Metaphor?
No surprise when the drill killing actually happens, it is done in a phallic way. Okay, we get it, the drill is a metaphor for sex. How original.I get that this was probably a pioneer movie in the field of drill-to-penis allegory, but if this was any more obvious the drill would have been flesh tone. I assume that subtly wasn't invented until 1982, which explains how Slumber Party Massacre was less obvious about the penis-drill thing.
Movie Foul: Music Filler
This movie, of course, pads out the run time by showing scene after scene of shitty punk rock bands. Anyone else tired of this indie cinema cliche? A director knows some musicians so he has them perform entire songs in his movie for exposure dollars. All of a sudden you've got about 45 minutes of music you never wanted to hear in your life. The end result, something that should have been a short film ends up being feature length that is a cacophony of crap. Seriously, listening to the folly artist putting in drilling sound effects are more harmonic than the music in this shit heap.
Nasty Rating: -25
I guess I can never know how shocking this movie would have been in the era in which it came. I'm going to take a wild guess and assume not very much. You have to sit through all sorts of inane contrivance just to get to the "nasty" parts and are left felt wanting. For a movie that is over an hour and half long it is far, far too long, for the subject matter.
Keeping in mind that the people who had this movie banned were uptight British moralists, I'm not surprised they found this derivative pile of crap offensive to their sensibilities. However, for the rest of us, this movie should have been banned for wasting everyone's time.
This movie bills itself as a "dark comedy", but I know a thing or two about dark comedy, this movie is about as funny as someone raping the blackened lungs of a life long smoker.
Moral of the story, never trust a movie that features a drill. 98% of the time you're going to be incredibly disappointed.
This movie makes Header seem tasteful by comparison.