Reno (Abel Ferrara, the director himself) is a struggling and talented artist. He is living in his studio with his girlfriend Carol (Carolyn Marz) and her, drugged-up and spacey, female lover Pamela (Baybi Day). Remember it is the70s. Carol is also kind of still involved with her ex-husband Steven (Richard Howorth).
Reno is currently working on a weird buffalo painting (all his paintings are weird in that 'modern arty' way) which he feels is his masterpiece. Unfortunately, until he finishes it, he will not be paid. And he is unable to keep up with his bills. His phone gets cut off (and unceremoniously chucked from the window), etc... etc... Carol is covering the bills as best she can, but things are looking dire.
A loud and crazy band called "The Roosters" with their lead singer Tony Coca-Cola (D.A. Metrov) move in to the apartment building where Reno and his two lady friends are living and painting. The constant noise, financial worries and probably excessive drug use begin to get to Reno and he soon starts turning to murder as a way to relieve stress. Of course!
This film is one of those 70s cult classics which you have to go into knowing what you're going to get. It was probably ferociously violent when it was first released, but by todays standards is quite tame. The killings don't begin straight off the mark, and when they do only some of them are full on-screen deaths. Although, there's lots of blood! Some of the killing scenes are very gorey, provided you can let yourself be sucked into the moment and not try to judge the scenes based on newer effects. But that is pretty much the secret to watching any older film.
Expect lots of crazy drug-addled dialogue, cheesy drills coming around the corner of the shot and some brilliantly 'crazy hobos'. You can tell off the mark that this film is a low-budget independant film, but by my usual standards, this film is everything it should be. The sound quality isn't great, but do remember the age and budget of the film.
I really liked the crazy band and their random group sessions. I felt this film captured the street and music scene of the 70s in New York quite well. The band are a kind of punk band so don't go expecting anything too melodic. The main score is all piano, and quite nicely adds to the gorey murders.
It seems Reno has a serious hate of hobos, but don't worry, he soon turns his attentions to a more personal level.
The film is quite short at only an hour and a half or so, and gets through the story quite quickly. The acting is not fantastic, but it's not terrible by any means (it's definitely a masterpiece in comparison to "Hell Asylum". But then again, what isn't?!)
Since it's free to watch, I'd definitely recommend if you have a spare hour and a half to kill. A cult classic in the usual B-movie sense and an interesting watch.
Definitely a good film to include in a bad-movie or horror marathon night, especially if you have a lot of beer and pals who are up for a good ol' 'when-someone's-killed-by-a-drill' drinking game! Also, lesbians!
[Picture: Navaron Films]