10 Best Video Nasties (And Why They Were Banned)

9. The Driller Killer

zombie flesh eaters

Abel Ferrera's arthouse nasty stars the director himself as tortured artist Reno, struggling to get by in a grimy New York that makes Taxi Driver's depiction seem glamourous. With debt piling up, a relationship on the rocks and constant noise coming from the punk band next door, Reno eventually snaps and begins to murder vagrants with a power drill for relief.

Driller Killer's bloodletting is relatively tame by today's standards and it's never been specified which parts ruffled feathers at the BBFC. The most graphic scene is one where Reno's drill bores through a derelict's forehead and it was this image that distributors used on the VHS cover.

Ferrera's biographer claims Driller Killer was banned by the BBFC for that cover alone, since at the time no recommendations were made for cuts to the film. But the cover heavily featured in tabloid articles on the subject of nasties, emphasising the "depravity" of these "sick" films.

Driller Killer resurfaced in 1999 with 11 seconds trimmed from two murder scenes, although this shows no less of the action, it just doesn't dwell on it as long. The bulk of the time difference between that and the uncut release, from 2002, were due to a longer credits.

The original VHS cover image has never been used for any subsequent release.


Horror & crime fiction author. Lover of 80’s gore and pulpy paperbacks.