I enjoy watching strange films for this project that I would otherwise probably never see. Crawlspace is such a film. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It’s somewhere in the middle, which makes it more easily forgotten than much worse films.
There are several good reasons to watch this flick, though. The biggest one being that it features Klaus Kinski (one of the finest and craziest actors to ever live). The first time I saw Kinski was in Aguirre: The Wrath of God. Suffice to say, I had never seen anything like it. Both he and the movie were a major stroke of genius. Okay, Kinski is the only good reason to watch this film. His presence alone makes it worthwhile. Unless you wanted to see what the director of Puppet Master was up to in his early days.
Kinski is the maniacal owner of an apartment building that he has turned into his very own giant kill room. He has built in secret pathways in order to stalk his tenants and, of course, kill them in gruesome manners. What makes this film stick out from other ‘80s drivel is just how messed up Kinski is. In part because of his father’s profession as a Nazi doctor; Kinski is unable to truly feel alive unless he kills. But he isn’t all bad, after each kill he plays a tense game of Russian Roulette with his trusty handgun. I really enjoyed these parts of the film. Almost like he was saying, “Punish me if you will. I deserve my fate.” When the gun doesn’t spill his brains, he gets the chance to continue his evil deeds. Twisted karma?
This adds some additional depth to his character and makes for unique viewing. Then again, anything with the crazy German is unique.
Unfortunately, the film has plenty of dumb moments to distract from an otherwise decent film. Particularly near the end, in the titular crawlspace, Mr. Kinski pulls out a skateboard like contraption that allows him to zip through the corridors. What the hell was that doing up there? Does he often need to fly around crawlspaces on a skateboard speeds? Also, his elaborate setups for deaths come off as cheesy. Once again, during the end, there is a rather inexplicable scene involving a giant puncture wound. The setup alone is outlandish and makes zero sense.
It’s just good enough for a watch because of Kinski’s fine job as the villain. Otherwise I don’t think I can recommend this movie for anyone but fans of Empire Pictures (Full Moon).
Snore Factor: ZZZZ