Now, Reno was obviously not the most stable of people to begin with--artists seldom are--and he wasn't living in the most stable of environments (damn near every scene has some sort of abuse, be it mental, emotional or physical) but he didn't step over the line into full-fledged lunatic until seeing an infomercial that changed his life forever. No, not the PedEgg...the Porto-Pak Battery Pack ($19.95!) that allows you to take your powertools with you anywhere. And just like any painter would, he thought to himself, "I've got to have one!"
Once the paintings start talking, there's pretty much no turning back. It's drill or be drilled, and so Reno takes his trusty Porto-Pak to the streets, where he dispatches a number of people who unfortunately left their tools at home.
The director (also the lead actor) does his best to capture the grit and grime and madness that was New York in those days, shooting in the shadows, gutters and tenements that he knew and perhaps loved. Many of the scenes are quite vicious and gruesome, which lead to its standing as a "Video Nasty" during the 1980s.
Unfortunately, the score is a mess of amateur-sounding punk, synth sound effects, and muzak. Much of the film seems padded with long shots of the band practicing, and an inexplicable (but completely forgivable) lesbian shower scene.
If not for this and its conscious attempts to be so edgy, this film may have gone beyond cult-favorite arthouse-meets-grindhouse-exploitation and ventured into the truly disturbing category populated by Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. As it stands, if Taxi Driver and Texas Chainsaw Massacre had a bastard child raised by the Repo Man, it probably would have looked something like this.
Well worth a watch if you're looking for a darker alternative to Bucket of Blood, Color Me Blood Red, and others of that ilk.
"What are you, out of your mind? Are you crazy?"