“What’s happening to you?”
A painter (Abel Ferrara) living in New York with his “sensible” girlfriend (Carolyn Marz) and her “spacy” lover (Baybi Day) becomes increasingly unhinged as he struggles to pay his bills, and a rock band rehearses incessantly above his apartment. Soon he is taking his fury out on random male victims across the city, using a power drill as his weapon of choice.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Mental Breakdown
- Serial Killers
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “sleazy cult film was the first venture of independent New York director Abel Ferrara,” who — under the stage name ‘Jimmy Lane’ — “plays a struggling artist” who “paints obsessively and begins to lose his senses” and eventually “has a complete breakdown”. Peary notes that this “grisly film is not your typical slice-and-dice splatter fare”, given it’s “not about a man stalking scantily clad females” (the “artist’s victims are all men”) — but while Peary asserts he believes “Ferrara is making some point about the artist feeling hatred toward men because he fears he is a homosexual himself,” I disagree with that interpretation; Ferrara’s victims are almost all down-on-their-luck vagrants who perhaps represent Ferrara’s fears of his own fate if he isn’t able to survive as an artist — a point highlighted when his finally-finished “masterpiece” is scorned by his agent (guess what happens to him?). Peary writes that Ferrara “scores with a lot of weird touches and humor”, but the “storyline is hard to follow and the violence is unnecessarily graphic”; indeed, this creatively filmed but self-indulgent flick can easily be skipped.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Good use of location shooting in New York City
- Atmospheric cinematography
Nope; you can most certainly skip this one unless you happen to be interested in Ferrara’s output.