Driller Killer is yet another guilty pleasure of mine when it comes to cinema. This slasher was Ferarra's debut in 1979. It was aloof enough from the conventional exploitation slasher to define a name of its own, and eventually lead Ferarra to directing such masterpieces as the unflinching "Bad Lieutenant" with Harvey Keitel at its best hardly a decade later.
With its often inventive, raw and unpolished cinematography, idiosyncratic editing and sound design, along with its loosely tied story--an intimate look into struggling art culture, punk culture, and NY bum culture. Add all around competent acting, especially from Ferarra himself who is as capable a rabid actor as he his a director, and this public domain exploitation flick should spell "underrated" instead of "unrated" on its cover.
What makes me consider Abel was much more... "able" and intelligent in his approach to this so-called video nasty than many would imagine to give credit for is one particular segment where Reno's art dealer comments on his latest painting: "Where's the impact?! It's just a goddamn buffalo! This is nothing like your other work [...] Reno, the worst thing that can happen to a painter is happening to you, you're simply a technician!" Perhaps this is a cleverly translated self-reference Ferarra coded in as commentary on his own flick: "Abel, this is just a goddamn silly slasher! This is nothing like your other work will be, just a high-octane entertaining precursor to masterpieces which will follow. Abel, this is what they say the worst thing that can happen to you as a filmmaker... you're just a technician using your brush strokes to paint a senseless slasher flick! But I'm going to let it indulge in all of its self-absorbed gory glory." Abel knew the kind of film he was making, and its apparent self-aware nature helps it jump the genre's stiffest hurdle.
It is exploitative, gory, unabashedly shameless and above all morally apprehensible in many ways. But the ease in which it is executed--acted, directed and pieced together--puts it on a pedestal to where it can easily laugh at its gory exploitation peers like the sick joke without a punchline "Cannibal Holocaust," modern examples like the "Saw" franchise, and even earlier exploitation "classics" as "Blood Feast." I dare say it even supersedes other low budget trashy horror cult classics as "The Evil Dead." Filled with self-aware glaring flaws, Driller Killer is a scatter-shot film. It is miles from cinematic perfection, but God I freakin' love it for its oddball merits, and it marks the debut of a historically important director.
So frustrating I should lose my lengthy essay which compares and contrasts this film to Antonioni's "Blow-Up" thematically, also incidentally starring David Hemmings. Be astute to the similarities in "facts" being held at face value, value being misguidedly placed on such "facts" to catch the parallels.
Shocking similarities aside (only thematically), this is one of the few films of the Giallo genre for which I can readily and confidently label it a masterpiece of cinema. It is profound in so many ways, exploring gender roles and preconceptions of violent criminals and the act of violence.
A beautiful example of a mystery where the answer is addressed in the very beginning, yet it is almost inevitable it will elude the viewer upon their first assessment.
Shrek's terrifying disposition as Nosferatu adds a whole new layer of horror. Murnau is in top form as always. The visuals and tight structure are to be revered and are frequently mimicked in modern horror with good reason.
"Hard Boiled" is hard to the core. "The Killer" has more clever kills than every Bond film stacked together. John Woo is the man when it comes to classy blood red choreography; Chow Yun-fat is as iconic as Connery, a Hong Kong Sean with more guns and more balls than that comparative wussy gets Pussy (Galore... Goldfinger reference, chill). These two tanks are action flicks for which those who don't even care for this often polluted genre can appreciate.
Personally, I am not much a fan of action films, but the two of these are... it may not be fair to compare... but more a zinger than say a Dr. No or Goldfinger I dare... declare.
As captivating as it is long lasting, The Good The Bad and The Ugly is approximately 3 hours long with 3 main characters. Simple and formulaic, coupled with a badass soundtrack so sticky and resonating you can't get enough of it. It floats the boat with the lingering imagery, a lovely lulling lullaby. The call and response rhythm of the music and juxtaposition of images play with twos and threes like its equally rhythmic title. 2x2's and 3x3's play parallel tag with the motif phrase "there are two kind of [...] in this world." It manages to be universally entertaining, very easy to sit through for three hours. None of this may have been intended in the filmmaking process yet on a subconscious level this seems to garner and explain most of its widespread appeal to audiences.