Crawlspace (1986)

Crawlspace (1986)
Article 5775 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-25-2020
Directed by David Schmoeller
Featuring Klaus Kinski, Talia Balsam, Barbara Whinnery
Country: USA / Italy
What it is: That’s what we’re trying to figure out.

A young woman becomes a tenant in an apartment building, unaware that the landlord is the homicidal son of a Nazi surgeon.

Is it a slasher, or is it a psycho killer movie? In this one, it’s a little hard to tell. If it’s the former, then getting Klaus Kinski to play your slasher villain is overkill. Still, on the plus side, he’s probably going to make the villain a lot more interesting than it might otherwise be. On the down side, you cast Kinski at your own peril; director David Schmoeller would reflect on the unpleasantness of the experience in a short called PLEASE KILL MR. KINSKI, a plea that was made to the director by the other cast and crew members. On the other hand, if it is a psycho killer movie, we need a somewhat more complex character for our killer than we find here; for example, having our killer be the son of a Nazi surgeon should feel like an organic choice rather than a gimmick. And, once we reach the climax of the movie, it seems to follow the slasher playbook closely. The odd little touches here and there keep the movie from being entirely routine, but overall, it’s a bit on the disappointing side.

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