• Drilller: A Sexual Thriller

    Released by: Devil’s Den
    Released on: 1/25/2011
    Director: Joyce James

    Cast: Taija Rae, Mr. J, George Payne, Esmerelda
    Year: 1984
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    The Movie:

    It’s not unusual for adult films to ‘borrow’ inspiration from the mainstream, particularly in this day and age where there are studios making quite a good living by paying hardcore homage to everything from Happy Days to Avatar to The Simpsons to Batman and back again – but Driller might be the only adult film to remake a music video. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was a pretty huge deal in its day so it makes sense that someone would try and cash in on it, but yeah…. seriously, what the fuck were these guys thinking?

    When the movie begins, pop sensation Mr. J is up on stage with a gang of scantily clad female dancers giving the sold out crowd the show of a lifetime. He’s up there with his sequined glove, painted finger nail and fancy shirt looking far more like Prince than Michael Jackson himself. At any rate, Mr. J’s biggest fan is Louise (Taija Rae) and after she and her boyfriend, Dan (Dick Howard), leave the show he decides it’s time for some action. Despite Louise’s protests, Dan fingers her and then put his ‘wanger’ in her mouth before finishing up. Louise is about as excited as a cold fish and seems happier when he leaves for the night. She heads to bed and has a dream where a familiar looking group of female dancers intrude upon her room. Once they’ve done their shimmy-shake Mr. J shows up, mounts her, turns into a werewolf, sprouts a giant rotating wolf dong and spurts black, oily ejaculate all over her before carrying her off to his sex dungeon.

    Once the action shifts to the dungeon, Louise is basically tied up and left to her own devices where she spies a few different couplings going on – a hunchback lab assistant guy (who talks like Igor and wears what looks kind of like a Toxic Avenger mask) is getting it on with a squirting French woman named Esmerelda, two lesbians covered in gold paint are playing with some light up dildos, a groom and bride zombie couple are boning away in a coffin and, last but not least, George Payne in a goofy leather outfit teams up with a similarly dressed man to double team a moderately attractive blonde woman laying rather lifelessly on the table in front of them.

    Once Louise has seen her fill of fornicating freaks, she takes off and winds up in a cemetery where she hides until Mr. J shows up with his Solid Gold entourage for yet another bizarre and frankly quite horrifying dance number. This leads into an orgy where Mr. J gets in on the action along with Payne and his leather pal and some dudes in Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan masks. Of course, there’s an attempt at a twist ending, but we won’t discuss that here – you’ve already been told too much.

    Directed by ‘Joyce James’ for producer Timothy Greene Beckley, Driller can’t possibly hope to take the original fifteen minute Michael Jackson video and turn it into a feature length film even by padding it with a quartet of sex scenes, but you’ve got to give the filmmaker’s credit for trying. Padded with horrible song and dance numbers that, professional choreographed or not, will have you laughing out loud, it’s a completely ridiculous film that should be seen to be believed. Mr. J, front and center in all of this, doesn’t really have much of a resemblance to Michael Jackson at all nor does he sound like him when he sings (his singing appears to be dubbed) even if the opening number is to the instantly recognizable beat of Billy Jean. The film gets bonus points for getting the werewolf effects pretty close to the original (sans rotating wolf prick and colored spooge, of course) but the whole thing is just flat out loopy.

    Most of the performers here are fairly disposable but it’s a kick to see George Payne of all people show up here even if he isn’t given anything to do outside of his sex scene (if you’ve seen him act, you know he’s got screen presence!). Outside of her sex scenes, the first of which is not sexy at all, Taija Rae spends most of her screen time standing around looking slack-jawed and confused. She’s plenty attractive and has the right sort of girl next door look to her that works in the role, but there’s really not much of a script or story here for her to work with. None of that really matters though – this isn’t a movie you’re going to watch as an example of superlative thesping, it is a pornographic take on a Michael Jackson video after all. When a movie has werewolf dick, song and dance numbers, zombie sex, presidential poon pounding, vaginal squirting, and a Prince lookalike in it it’s best to just accept it for what it is.


    Despite what the cheeseball Amiga style opening credits may infer, Driller was definitely shot on film and it looks like film elements were used for this transfer. Though there are times where the image is a bit on the dark side and some vertical scratches pop up here and there, this is otherwise a pretty decent looking effort on the part of Devil’s Den. Print damage pops up here and there but not in an overly distracting way and while some of the darker scenes are a bit murky, color reproduction generally looks alright. There aren’t any serious mpeg compression artifacts to note nor is there any edge enhancement to complain about.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix on the DVD sounds about as good as you’d expect a quarter century old low budget adult film to sound. Dialogue, what little there is, happens to be quite clear and easy to follow and the musical bits and various songs sound nice enough.

    The best extra is an interview with the film’s producer, Timothy Greene Beckley, who speaks for almost half an hour about putting this oddball production together. Of course, he cops to the production’s attempt to cash in on the massive popularity of Michael Jackson’s Thriller but he also covers the involvement of the late Roger Watkins, who was onboard as a production manager and who, Beckley claims, complained a lot. He talks about working with the lovely Taija Rae, about some of the choreography and how various professionals were brought onboard to get some of the girls suitably trained to pull off all the dancing we see in the movie. Beckley, hiding behind some big sunglasses and sitting in front of a swanky tiki bar, is pretty upfront about what this mess is all about, and this actually turns out to be a pretty interesting look at this cinematic oddity.

    There’s also an audio interview with Esmerelda, conducted by ‘Mr. Creeper,’ in which she talks about what she’s been up to, her love of vampires and Frank Langella, and more. It’s only a few minutes long and doesn’t go into a ton of detail, but it’s amusing to hear her thick New York accent come out on the phone when her character spoke with such a goofy French accent in the movie. For those wondering, yes, she is still squirting. Aside from that, look for a still gallery of magazine articles and stills taken from the early eighties, a promo spot created to advertise the DVD release (it’s marked as a trailer), menus and chapter stops.

    The Final Word:

    Rescued from the pit of obscurity by Devil’s Den’s fine DVD debut, Driller: A Sexual Thriller isn’t particularly sexy, but it’s bizarre enough that you probably won’t even notice that. If it’s a little bit long, at least it’s consistently strange enough and has enough cult appeal that it winds up an endlessly amusing and completely ridiculous watch. Fans of the more bizarre side of vintage adult films will absolutely want to give this one a look.