I have always had a soft spot in my heart for bleak films. Movies can become a form of escapism – to lift you out of the doldrums. However I prefer films that actively put me into a depressed mood for reasons best known to myself.
It can be very cathartic to watch a bleak movie. You can play out all of your miserable, mean spirited fantasies on the screen and live out the worst possible scenario in a safe and harmless way. Such movies afford a glimpse into the abyss. They are to be applauded for going against the grain and staying true to their own dystopian vision.
I have provided you all with ten bleak movies to liven up your day. Please, please, please tell me about your own favourite bleak movies below so that I can be pointed in the direction of more gloom mongering…
10. Driller Killer (1979)
Reno is your typical tortured artist. He has no money to pay his rent. An art dealer refuses to give him a loan. He lives in possibly the crummiest area of New York. When a punk band called the Roosters move in next door and incessantly practice their very loud, very bad music, Reno flips his lid. Buying a power drill, he goes out on nightly rampages to relieve his tension by killing bums with a drill to the head. Eventually, he is so erratic his girlfriend Carol moves back in with her ex husband Stephen. He is making tea whilst she is in the shower. Reno kills him and gets into the couple’s bed. What a delightful surprise awaits Carol!
For a low budget, independent film Driller Killer packs quite a few punches in its violence as well as its portrayal of a deeply disturbed individual. It was brutal enough to gain a place as a ‘Video Nasty’ during the hey days of video regulation in the UK during the early 1980s. I doubt it was because of the content of the film but rather its title and VHS cover showing a drill going in full throttle into a hobo’s head. There is a certain dark comedy to the events that befall Reno. However I found the end of the film when Reno gets into Carol’s bed to wait for her quite disturbing and bleak – after all, he is likely to kill the poor woman. Reno is never recognised for his artistic talent and anyone would have been driven up the wall listening to the ‘music’ of the diabolical Roosters. Big time bleak and depressing in a blackly comical way.
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