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DVD Review: Driller (1984)

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It probably goes without saying that hardcore sex spoofs of everyday hits have always been something of a staple in the porn industry. As the glorious Golden Age of Porn began to wane (or is it “wank?”) in the mid-‘80s, filmmakers started to go the cheaper, more cost-effective route of filming fornication on videotape as opposed to using film stock (yes, kids, they used to shoot porn on film). As such, most (if not all) of the quickie masterpieces that would ensue from that moment on did not receive general exhibition in theaters (yes, kids, you missed out on that, too!); the booming videocassette market was quickly taking over, sending a franchise that had tried so hard to become as “conventional” as possible to hide behind curtains or saloon-style doors.

A few titles still continued to be manufactured on actual celluloid, but didn’t fare as well as they might have done had they benefited from a little marketing in the “normal” world. Had many of the now-classic pornographic releases like Deep Throat and Behind The Green Door had been produced and released to theaters in the mid-‘80s (sans the onslaught of conservative protestors that frequently picketed such debuts in the hopes of crushing the allegedly-evil smut movement, of course), they probably would have failed worse than Linda Lovelace’s one-time ambition to move over into the land of mainstream cinema.

And then, there are some fuck flicks that didn’t become as popular as their makers had hoped for — films like 1984’s Driller.

Culled from the deep dark recesses of porn’s never-ending vault of filth, Driller is a hardcore musical horror spoof of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, complete with an effeminate musician who is credited only as “Mr. J” (and who looks like he could be related to Miss J)! The story centers on poor Louise (porn legend Taija Rae, who looks hotter than ever here), whose lustful dreams of spending the night with her favorite hot star comes true one fateful evening…and promptly turns into a sexual nightmare.

The celebrity appears before her one night, only to turn into a hideous-looking (in every way) werewolf/werecat critter (similar to the one seen in John Landis’ Thriller) before giving it to her with his massive rotating (!) titular tool. From there, Louise is carried away to the singer’s castle of debauchery, wherein we witness such bizarre creatures of the damned such as zombies, werewolves, hunchbacks, and Richard Nixon, too (seriously: there’s a guy in a Nixon mask during one of the film’s many sexual orgy sequences who keeps cracking jokes while using the phallic-esque nose of his caricature mask on the ladies).

An almost-excessive amount of hardcore sordidness ensues, ending with Miss Rae waking up from what was only a really strange dream (surprise)…only to find that Mr. J’s limo has broken down outside.

Basically, that’s about all the film has to offer, plot-wise. A lesser adult actress by the handle of Esmeralda shares an oddly-memorable “gushing” moment as she flies solo while a hunchback mumbles all kinds of dirty talk in a Peter Lorre voice (creepy). Several blatant rip-offs to a couple of MJ’s greatest musical hits (barely-alive with some half-assed choreography) such as “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” only add to the weirdness. It seems like a small eternity passes until poor Louise finally meets up with the castle full of freaks. Then, after a good hour or so of some truly sleazy gonzo moments, you get the impression your entire week has gone by, and you have very little to account for this sense of lost time (except for that stain on your soul, perhaps).

Driller is by no means a classic (a classick, maybe); it comes off as a poorly-executed parody more than anything. Some of the movie’s asinine dialogue was dubbed in during post-production, and it either makes a scene or breaks it. Ultimately, though, the silly sexual depravity of the once-rare title becomes a victim of its own ineptness — causing you to wonder what the hell the filmmakers were cutting their cocaine with. Of course, I feel the need to reiterate that this is a horror musical porn parody I’m talkin’ about, folks — and any profound analyzing of such on anyone’s part would only suggest that they are probably crazier than Driller itself.

So sit back and enjoy the decadence, kids. It’s good for you!

For its first-ever release on DVD, the folks at Devil’s Den have gone to the original grainy 35mm film elements and presented this underground cult classick in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and the film’s English audio is about what you’d expect for a movie of this caliber (read: very grindhouse-y). Special features-wise, Driller contains an in-depth 27-minute interview with producer Timothy Green Beckley, a five-minute audio-only conversation with squirting girl Esmeralda conducted by Beckley, a new 30-second promo for the film, and two galleries (one for original promotional artwork, the other for stills).

All in all, Driller is a porn parody that is far more Wacko than Jacko ever could have been. If you have the right kind of constitution, you’ll probably enjoy it. Hell, you might even love it and declare it the best vintage porn title of all time! If you’re a total prude on the other hand, you’d do best to stick to a PG-13 teen romance flick.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.