Abel Ferrara’s second full-length feature, 1979’s The Driller Killer , looks like it was shot for $1.49 and edited with all the subtlety of the punk rock songs on the soundtrack.(Mr. F’s first feature was X-rated and starred his then-girlfriend so you do the math.)
Although it was originally banned in the UK, gorehounds should know that the violence doesn’t really kick in till after the hour mark (despite the promise of its lurid title.)
Ferrara, billing himself as Jimmy Laine, plays the mad killer of the title, a disturbed artist who deals with the frustrations of his life with his own unique kind of therapy.
Colesmithey.com praises it as “dystopic punk-era Manhattan by Abel Ferrara – very cool!” and gives it four out of five stars. Movie Metropolis says it is ” really awful … a film only a dedicated splatter fan could like” and assigns the flick a 3 out of 10 rating. Rotten Tomatoes “Super Reviewers” Ariuza K. praises it as “the best slasher movie ever made” while Lady D. calls it “one huge yawn”.
Obviously, one viewer’s trash is another viewers’ treasure (or merchandising opportunity).
Calling myself a fan would seem to be a charitable way of putting it. I would consider myself to be more of a follower.
Best known perhaps for the 1981 exploitation classic, Ms. 45 (recently re-released and playing in NYC and Austin at the time of this writing) and 1992’s Bad Lieutenant (the original with Harvey Keitel, not the one w/Nic Cage), Abel Ferrara’s films have always been a matter of taste.
I don’t pretend to understand all of the plots (or even the reasoning behind making some of the pics). Mr. F’s manner of directing and co-writing (usually with former high school chum Nicholas St.John) can be downright brutal or willfully inscrutable but the results are seldom boring (1993’s Dangerous Game may be an exception.)
Personally my favorite Ferrara flick is 1990’s King of New York. Christopher Walken as a recently sprung drug lord looking to take back his lost territory gives one of the least eccentric perfs of his latter day career (odd, especially considering the loose cannon behind the camera). The film also features a young Laurence Fishburne (back when he was still billing himself as Larry) a pre-fame Wesley Snipes and pre-TV star David Caruso.
I also thought 1995’s The Addiction with the great Lili Taylor was one of the best vampire movies ever made.
In fact, checking out the film-maker’s titles on wikipedia I realize I have seen 11 of the 23 films listed on the site. (Maybe I am a fan, after all. Yipes!)