Monday, September 5, 2011

Crawlspace (1986)

Written by: David Schmoeller
Directed by: David Schmoeller
Starring: Klaus Kinski, Talia Balsam, Jack Heller

We're going to play a little mental association game with today's movie, called “To Sleaze or Not To Sleaze”. I'm going to set up the scenario of the movie for you, and you tell me whether or not you think it a)has the potential to be the sleaziest thing you ever clapped eyes on, and b)whether or not it actually lives up to even a tiny little bit of that potential.

Klaus Kinski is a retired doctor, and the son of an infamous Nazi surgeon. He is now living under an assumed identity as the owner of an apartment building filled with what I'm sure are supposed to be attractive women. They believe the tapping noises coming from the air ducts are rats, but it is, in fact, Karl Gunther creeping around up there, and he has absolutely no intention of letting his father's work go unfinished.

Exactly right you are, that premise is just dripping with ick. I mean, the sleaze value of Klaus Kinski's leering creepy old face alone should put this a notch above just about anything that doesn't also have Joe D'Amato's name on it. Sadly, this is the most demure Nazisploitation flick ever made. Which means it's the only demure Nazisploitation flick ever made. They show racier things on Lifetime. There's virtually no gore, one brief and very strange instance of nudity (one of the women cuts holes in a lacy bra for her nipples to show through – seems like a waste of expensive lingerie if you ask me), and the whole thing just seems so very sterile and safe. It's like Schmoeller pitched the idea to Charles Band and they got all excited and put it into production, and then halfway through they realized it was 1986 and not 1976 and panicked that they'd never be able to sell the thing so they cut all the good stuff out.

Well, not all the good stuff. There's still Kinski's performance. He's one of those guys who brings a certain level of entertainment value to anything he does, no matter how much the rest of it might suck. If you're a Kinski completist, check it out. Otherwise, don't waste your time.

I will say this, though. If I rented an apartment from Klaus Kinski and he wasn't crawling around in the air ducts leering at me and kidnapping the other tenants to do horrible, sticky things to them in the basement, I'd want my money back.

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