Project Horror, Day 27: Crawlspace


I went into this movie really wanting to like it.  Klaus Kinski is a fantastic actor, so I was looking forward to seeing something of his that I hadn't seen before.  This is one of his few English-language films, but his collaborations with director Werner Herzog are the stuff of movie legend, as are the sometimes fiery behind the scenes stories.  When he tried to walk off the set of Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Herzog held him at gunpoint and forced him to continue with the film.  He's got a wild-eyed intensity that I thought would play well in horror.

Unfortunately, the movie didn't really bear this out.  Kinski plays the landlord of a small apartment building, where he rents only to attractive young women.  He crawls through the air ducts to spy on them and occasionally kill one of them.  There's also a subplot where a man who suspects Kinski's character of killing his brother via medical euthanasia a few years earlier shows back up on his doorstep.

Kinski is usually so good at projecting menace, but for some reason he chose to play this role in a very subdued, muttering way.  Also, the years between 1986 and the present have not been kind to Crawlspace; it looks very dated.  For most of the movie, the landlord is more annoying than frightening.  It just doesn't really work.

Now, the pros:
  1. Even when he's not great, Kinski can still act more with his eyes than most actors do with their entire body.  His Russian Roulette scenes are the most interesting parts of the movie.
  2. Only 80 minutes long!
  3. The motion picture debut of Tane McClure, who went on to a rich career in late night cable movies.
I dunno - the movie's description made me think I'd be getting something along the lines of H.H. Holmes, but I got something much sillier instead.  I give it two Newton's Cradles out of five (because in this one scene... aw, forget it).


Will Meekin said...

Agreed. This movie was way oversold to me by my uncle as "one of the most terrifying movies ever," "banned upon release" (which I haven't documented and really don't care one way or the other). Not so much.

The late-career Kinski we see here strikes me very much the same way the late-career Udo Kier does these days, still spooky looking, but really only hired to make bugeyes and unsettling pronouncements, while waving shiny metal objects around with a crooked smile on his face.


Post a Comment

Every comment is like a fresh flower, so please write!