The Blood Runs In Rivers... And The Drill Keeps Tearing Through Flesh And Bone
New York City. Reno Miller, a scruffy young artist, enters a small Catholic church in Spanish Harlem where he walks to the front where an elderly bearded man is kneeling and chanting "pity the sinners" over and over. Reno seems to recognize the man as his long-lost father, whom is now apparently a derelict. The old man unclasps a hand and grabs Reno's hand. Reno runs, grabs his girlfriend Carol, who accompanied him to the church, and leaves. They ride in a taxi towards downtown, and Reno calls the man a "degenerate" and a "bum". Evidently, the derelict had a piece of paper with Reno's name and phone number and requested a meeting at the church to talk to him. Reno, despite knowing that the derelict was his father, denies knowing him to Carol. Reno and Carol go to pick up Pamela, their other roommate, who is in a local bar watching a punk rock band perform.
The next morning, Reno hears Pamela trying to drill a hole in the door, and he does it for her since Pamela is constantly spaced out being an ex-junkie. Reno, Carol, and Pamela all live together in a seedy apartment somewhere in Manhattan and are struggling to get by. Reno complains about the bills for the utilities they get from the water, to the electricity, and to the telephone bill and of the long distance, hour-long, phone calls that Pamela and Carol made in the past month. In frustration, Reno throws the phone out a window. Later, Reno has a dream about the mysterious bearded man and about the power drill that he used earlier. Reno hates his neighborhood where homeless derelicts reside on the streets around his apartment building. Reno goes to see Dalton, a flamboyantly gay art gallery owner and tells him that he is currently working on a masterpiece painting (which is a giant painting of a buffalo against a multi-colored landscape). Reno says that he needs another week and asks for a loan of $500 to pay for his rent. But Dalton refuses, saying that he had lent enough money to Reno this past year from a variety of reasons from medical bills to urtilty bills. But Dalton tells Reno that if he finishes the painting in one week and if he likes it, he will buy it and give Reno whatever money he needs to financially help him out.
Strapped for money, since neither Reno or Pamela have bank accounts, Carol writes a check for $500 for the rent and gives it to the grumpy landlord Al, which she claims that it is her alimony check that her ex-husband gives her. The landlord takes the check, but tells Carol that they are still a month behind on the rent, and in a few days, on the 1st of the month, they will be two month behind and he wants the rest of the money soon.
The following day, Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters, a punk rock band that Pamela hangs around, move into an apartment nearby Reno's and soon begin practicing their music. The loud music from the band drives Reno more unnerved and frustrated. That night, Reno, Carol, and Pamela watch TV since they have no money and cannot go out since Reno has to spend what little money he has on utilities, and Pamela apparently squanders what money she makes on drugs. During the commercials, they watch a TV advertisement for a Porto-Pack, a battery pack with allows a person to walk around with electrical appliances.
At 2:00 a.m., while trying to work on his painting, Reno becomes more agitated from the loud music that Tony and his band continue to play. He sees an image of himself saturated in blood, and goes outside into the dark streets for a walk. At the foot of a garbage-strewn alley, Reno sees an elderly derelict sleeping, and stands him up. It seems that Reno is going to accost the man, but he ducks into the alley with him when they see a group of teenage gang members chasing another bum in the street and run right past them. Reno drops the bum to the ground and vows that he will not end up like him or his derelict father.
The next day, Carol gets a letter from her ex-husband Stephen, who sends her a photo of them together as well as a $100 bill, saying that he misses her and wants her to return to him. Meanwhile, Reno becomes more angry and agitated when Tony and his band continues to play their music day and night and complains to the landlord about the loud music. But the landlord refuses to do anything because Tony and his band doesn't bother him, (which implies that the band pays their rent and probably bribe money to the landlord to stay off them, whereas Reno doesn't). However, the landlord gives Reno a gift of a skinned rabbit for dinner to show that there are no hard feelings, but then demands the rest of the rent money soon. Reno takes the carcass of the rabbit home to his apartment, and while preparing it for dinner, repeatedly stabs it with a knife (shades of 'Repulsion'). The next day, Reno eyes the Porto-Pack sitting in the window at a small hardware store on sale for $19.95. After checking to see that he has enough money on him, which apparently he does, Reno goes inside the hardware store and purchases the Porto-Pack. Later, a troubled Reno tries to sleep when the band finally stops playing loud music for a short while, but he hears voices calling out his name, and he sees an image of Carol with her eyes cut out. That night, Reno takes the Porto-Pack and goes out, with the drill attached to it. Reno sees another homeless bum sleeping inside an abandoned diner, and he drills the bum in the chest, killing him.
The following evening, Reno, Carol, and Pamela have tickets to see Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters at a local nightclub. At the club, Pamela hangs out with the band, while Reno and Carol talk about where they stand with their relationship and Carol tells him that her ex-husband has been writing to her asking her to come back to him. A little later, while Reno plays a pinball machine, Pamela asks Reno about the painting that he's working on and suggests that in attempt to get more money for the rent and bills, Reno have sexual relations with Dalton. Reno shrugs it off with slight disgust. The band finally gets to play, where Reno quickly becomes more agitated from the loud music and the crowd around him. Reno leaves the club unnoticed while Carol and Pamela dance and make out with each other.
Driven to the edge, Reno returns to his apartment, grabs the drill with the battery pack, and goes out on a drilling spree. All night long, Reno runs through the streets killing one homeless bum after another, first starting with a bum sleeping on the sidewalk, then another bum in a subway station, then a drinking derelict on the street. Reno the passes a small bus stop where he sees a weird and spaced out bum hanging around and harassing two men waiting for a late-night bus. When the men board the passing bus, Reno attacks the bum, drilling him in the back. Reno further attacks two more bums, drilling one and chasing the second down the street, and drilling him in the back. He ends his killing spree by approaching a derelict asleep in a pile of garbage bags, and drills the man in the forehead. Reno returns home for the night to sleep. Sometime later, Tony visits Reno at this apartment where the spaced out rock star comments on his paintings and asks Reno to paint a portrait of him. After Tony reluctantly agrees to pose for Reno's demand of $500 (rent money), he says that they need to start right away.
The next morning, Carol reads the newspaper which has one article of a man killed with a power drill. Reno sees an image of his initial drill killing and his own bloody image, and he snatches the paper away from Carol and accuses of her trying to drive him crazy. Later, Pamela brings home a take-out pizza for lunch, and while Carol and Pamela eat their cheese slices, they watch with slight disgust as Reno gobbles down slice after slice of pizza with green peppers on it like some famished animal. Reno tells Pamela to ask Carol if she wants some pizza with green peppers on it (even though Carol is sitting right beside him). Carol angrily throws a slice of pizza in Reno's face and leaves. Carol goes out to a nearby payphone and calls Stephen and tells him about wanting to leave Reno. Carol returns to the apartment to find a silly picture proclaiming "I'm sorry".
Reno paints Tony has he poses, and at various times, plays his guitar and even makes out with Pamela who shows up. Nearby, a bum in a nearby alley, restless and indigent due to all the noise Tony made, is attacked by Reno who drills his hands to a wall in a crude crucifix pose and then kills him. Afterwards, Reno goes to work on his painting and after nearly all night of working, he approaches the sleeping Carol and Pamela in bed together and tells them that his painting is finally finished.
Reno and Carol show the completed buffalo painting to Dalton. But Dalton declares the work of art "unacceptable", and leaves. Carol then yells at Reno for she is angry that he just sat in his chair with a blank expression on his face as Dalton yelled at him. The next morning, Reno awakes to an empty bed, and he chases Carol as she walks down the street with her suitcase, saying that she is finally leaving him and going back to her ex-husband. Reno tries to talk to her, and even grabs the suitcase away, but she keeps on walking. Pamela is devastated that her best friend and part-time lover has left, but Reno is beside himself with rage. He tries calling Carol and talks to her on the phone, but he is only talking to a dial tone. That evening, Reno, now completely demented, calls Dalton and invites him to come on over for he has something else to show to him, and Dalton (mistaking thinking that Reno is coming onto him) agrees to be there later with some wine. Dalton arrives at the apartment that evening, while Tony and his band are continuing to play their loud music, and Reno, dressed in all black clothing with his face pasty white and wearing blood-red lipstick, drills Dalton to death. A little later, Pamela returns to the apartment after hanging around Tony's band when she sees a bloody drill bit in the door and a dead Dalton hanging from it on the inside. Pamela backs away screaming, but Reno grabs her.
Across town, Carol is back with Stephen at his apartment and while she goes to the bathroom to take a shower, Stephen prepares some tea. Reno sneaks into the apartment and drills Stephen in the back, and hides his body behind the counter. Carol, done showering, walks to the bedroom where Reno is lying under the bed covers. She turns out the lights, gets into bed, and tells "Stephen" to "come here..."
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