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"I had her tongue cut out..."
macabro35719 April 2004
Hey I love this one. I've always been a Klaus Kinski fan and he's so particularly demented and soft-spoken from the get-go in this one, that he can't possibly be the good guy. No one with a German accent is.

He plays the Dr. Karl Gunther, son of a Nazi war criminal, who's escaped to America from Argentina and becomes an apartment manager. It also turns out that many of his tenants mysteriously disappear while the building is under his supervision.

It seems the 'good' Doctor can't stop killing them and he sets up his murders by crawling around in the building's heater ducts and observing his victims before making his move. There's also a woman he holds captive in an animal cage up in the attic, who he keeps as company after he's cut out her tongue.

Then innocent Lori Bancroft (Talia Balsam) moves in and Kinski takes a lot of interest in her before going on one final murder spree towards the end.

Also notable for being filmed on the same apartment building set as TROLL (1986), with all the action taking place indoors and in the heater ducts. Don't look for a wide variety of locations here. It's a small film.

Like I said, I enjoyed it and would recommend it mainly for Kinski's performance, but don't expect any extras on the MGM DVD because they're aren't any.

7 out of 10
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So be it.
Hey_Sweden26 December 2013
Meet Karl Gunther (played by legendary eccentric Klaus Kinski). He's the demented son of a notorious Nazi war criminal and a former doctor with his own shady past. He's now the landlord of an apartment building that strictly caters to young females. He regularly spies on the ladies from the buildings' hidden crawlspace area, and kills them as well. He even keeps a woman named Martha (Sally Brown) enclosed in a too-small cage. He keeps a diary of his thoughts and activities, to provide us with some exposition and insight into his character. After he brings in a new tenant, university student Lori Bancroft (played by Talia Balsam, the daughter of actor Martin Balsam), he begins to be visited by a Nazi hunter named Josef Steiner (Kenneth Robert Shippy).

Kinskis' performance essentially IS the movie. Overall, this brief bit of nutty mayhem, written and directed by David Schmoeller ("Tourist Trap", "Puppetmaster"), is mildly amusing but quite forgettable. Kinski, of course, is anything but, and he does seem to relish portraying this character (although he did make life miserable for Schmoeller and crew). There are a bunch of rats in this thing, some entertaining makeup effects gags (but not very much blood), excellent production design (by Giovanni Natalucci) and music (by the great Pino Donaggio), and a very nondescript (if attractive) supporting cast, including Tane McClure, the daughter of Doug McClure. Balsam is a reasonably personable heroine, but Shippy is boring and unintimidating in his part. Schmoellers' direction lacks style, and his dialogue, for the most part, ain't so hot. (He does admit that the movie isn't particularly good.)

Kinskis' presence and performance raise the rating by a point.

Future "Tremors" director Ron Underwood was the associate producer here. Schmoeller has a cameo as a rejected tenant.

Six out of 10.
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Stepping into his crazy old man's shoes
sol-kay20 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** With his old man, a Nazi concentration camp doctor, being executed after the war for crimes against humanity junior or Doctor Karl Gunther(Klaus Kinski), now in his fifties, had become fascinated with the German Third Reich. Watching in his attic hours of newsreels of Hitler's Germany at the zenith of it's power when it was both both feared and envied all over the world. Gunther is also fascinated with young women whom he rents out apartments in his rooming house and loves to watch them in all states of dress and undress. From the safety of the crawlspace that leads from his dumpy attic apartment throughout all the apartments in his building.

You can see right away that actor Klaus Kinski is just itching to break out of his restrained role as the meek and soft spoken Dr. Gunther. As he's given a chance later in the movie by director David Schmoeller, who does an Alfred Hitchcock cameo early in the film. When Kinski finally strut his stuff he leaves absolutely nothing to chance. Going so out of his skull that for a moment you think that he's not really acting at all but just being his own wild crazy and creepy self.

Collecting body parts of his many victims Gunther also keeps this woman mute Martha White(Sally Brown), who's tongue he cut out, in a cage in his attic. Just to have someone to talk to and at the same time not give him any arguments over what he's talking about. Gunther also has a number of young women living in his building whom he constantly spies on and whenever they have their boyfriends come up to see and have sex with them. Gunther end up not only murdering the gentlemen but also cutting out some of their body parts, two eyes and a ring finger, and putting them in jars of alcohol as souvenirs.

The movie takes a turn for the worst, for crazy Karl, when his past finally catches with him in the person of young Josef Steiner, Kenneth Robert Shippy, who's been tracking him down for over three years. It turns out that during his five year tenure as the top surgeon at the National Hospital in Buenos Aires Argentina 67 patients who were under his care died mysteriously, one of them being Josef Steiner's brother.

Gunther has this obsession with death that he picked up from reading his late fathers lurid writings about concentration camp life. That soon has him going completely wacko with Gunther constantly trying to blow his brains out,by playing Russian Roulette. As well as trying to murder, with much success, his female tenants. Later by letting rats loose all over the apartment building Gunthers has his tenants, all four of them, go into hysterics. At the same time he murderously finishes most of them off for being, what I think, late with the rent.

Leaving no stone, or body, unturned Gunther making sure that nobody can finger him as the killer has him also knock off, with a poison arrow, Steiner when he got too close to the truth about his murdered brother. That as well as the other 66 victims that Gunther left behind, at the National Hospital, back in Argentina. With only one of his tenants still alive the plucky Lori Bancroft, Talia Balsam, Gunther chases her all throughout the crawlspace with an army of hungry rats. Only in the end to get himself blasted by Lori with the last remaining bullet of his .44 magnum that he played Russian Roulette with himself.

This is an all star Klaus Kinski movie with him being the only reason to really watch it. Going from hot to cold as well as being dressed in normal mens clothes or in drag, with lipstick smeared all over his face. Kinski is the glue that keeps the movie together and makes it both weird and entertaining at the same time. The violence in the film "Crawlspace" was more or less standard in movies like itself but its star, the late and off-the-wall Klaus Kinski, gave what amounted to a unique one of a kind performance. That of an out of control nut-job who goes off the deep deep end in an utterly mind boggling performance that only the great Kinski could, and did, successfully pull off.
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Dr. Gunther! Your a very bad man.
suspiria1014 February 2003
Karl Gunther is the superintendent f an apartment complex. His discerning tastes lead him to rent to only the choicest of tenants….female and beautiful. Does his leaning to the fairer sex have a more sinister reasoning or is he just a supreme pimp-daddy. Klaus Kinski is by far what makes this movie fun. There are a lot of good things happening in this movie but it would only be half the film without him. This film is producer by Empire Pictures, a now defunct Charles Band headed studio that was responsible for a lot of cool mid-80's genre films (Troll, Ghoulies and Eliminators come to mind). The direction has flare and the script is decent. The music by Pino Donaggio is excellent. It's fun but the script should have had more. I wanted to know more about the character, in particular the Gunther characters past.

The Lesson Learned: That said it wouldn't make a high brow top ten list for that year but it would make a genre fan happy. I enjoyed it and you might too. So be it.
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Another great horror flick you may have somehow missed in the 80's...
jay-bethke3 May 2004
Klaus Kinski's performance is, as usual, well beyond the expectations of the film (and, as always, in another world beyond the accompanying cast). But that isn't to say the notion of a creepy ex-Nazi landlord crawling around in the ceiling and spying on and killing pretty college girls isn't a good one for horror ...just that if somebody else had tried to pull it off, it would never have been so much fun. Perhaps part of the problem with this movie getting the attention of horror fans (none of those I know had seen Crawlspace before I recommended it) has to do with marketing. The box gives it the appearance of something more akin to drama or even mystery. If the designers had done something so simple as put Kinski on the front cover, dressed in his Nazi costume, applying lipstick to those big lips of his, this movie would have received a lot more attention.
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Expected a lot, but got little.
Nightman8520 May 2008
Crazy old landlord, and former Nazi, preys upon the lady tenants of his building via a system of passages.

Being directed by David Schmoeller (maker of 1979's excellent Tourist Trap) I expected a better-than-average horror film and was sadly disappointed. While Crawlspace has its moments of creepiness, it doesn't possess hardly any of the tension or suspense that one would hope for. It basically becomes a run of mill killer-psycho movie with little imagination.

However, the film is not a complete waste. Klaus Kinski does make for a decent villain, who is one very sick and twisted character. Kinski fans will likely enjoy this movie more than most viewers.

Over all, an OK effort that could have been much better.

** out of ****
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Kinski as a crazy killer (just for a change).
BA_Harrison14 September 2017
From director David Schmoeller, who gave us the enjoyably offbeat slasher Tourist Trap, Crawlspace is an equally bizarre horror starring the inimitable Klaus Kinski as Karl Gunther, a mentally unhinged landlord who has developed an addiction to killing, satisfying his urges by luring his tenants into his deadly, booby trapped apartment. When he's not in a murdering mood, Gunther can be found crawling through the air ducts of his building to spy on the women who live there, writing about killing in his diary, playing Russian roulette, or wearing Nazi regalia while watching footage of Hitler (Gunther's father was a Nazi surgeon).

For an '80s horror film, Crawlspace is fairly light on the gore and scares, but with its star in full on demented mode, the film cannot fail to entertain: whether it be carefully preparing a chair with a spring-loaded spike in the seat (nasty!), crushing rats with his bare hands, travelling at speed through the air ducts on a wheeled toboggan, smearing his face with make-up, or simply chatting to the tongue-less woman that he keeps caged in his room, Kinski's crazed performance is a delight to behold.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.
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JasparLamarCrabb25 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A tightly made horror film written & directed by David Schmoeller. College student Talia Balsam rents an apartment from landlord Klaus Kinski and soon realizes that it's not just rats running around the building's crawlspaces. Kinski is absolutely demented, following in the steps of his Nazi doctor father and coming up with clever ways to kill people. He's a rancid peeping Tom who puts a gun carrying one bullet to his head, deciding it's safe to continue killing if he doesn't blow his brains out. It's a creepy movie to say the least. Balsam is pretty appealing and there's a great music score by Pino Donaggio. Director Schmoeller has an amusing cameo early in the film.
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Normal people: stay away from this demented movie
experten25 March 2001
If you only want a normal suspense movie, stay away. If you only want gore, stay away. But if you have a strong stomach and want to experience a movie like no other, with first class actor Klaus Kinski as a seriously demented, but intelligent, sadistic serial killer, then this movie is for you.

Kinski wants to control his victims so he can enjoy his power over them. He studies them secretly and subjects them to small experiments to study their reactions before he kills them. By killing he can feel that he is alive, because his actions have impact. Kinski watches documentaries of the nazis and they inspire him, but he feels that he is better than the nazis because he lets nobody escape, not even himself. The gore-scenes are only cream on the cake. My rating is 10 out of 10.
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Kinski the Nazi
Michael_Elliott3 December 2008
Crawlspace (1986)

** (out of 4)

Klaus Kinski plays the son of a Nazi who rents out his apartment rooms to pretty women so that he can spy on them and then kill them. This could have been a rather interesting film but absolutely nothing happens here. I mean zero, zilch, absolutely nothing. I'm really not sure what the point of the film was, although it's clear the director was trying to get into the mind of a killer yet we never know what the hell Kinski is thinking or why he's doing what he is. Kinski is quite amusing in this role but it's a wasted opportunity.
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Klaus Kinski Gets His Creep On...
meddlecore23 October 2016
Crawlspace is one of the creepiest films you'll ever see; largely thanks to Kinski's portrayal of Gunther, the son of a Nazi war criminal- and seasoned serial killer- who runs a boarding house for women. Rarely do films give you an idea what lays in store, so quickly. And few actors possess the natural creep factor that Kinski exudes.

After fleeing from Argentina- where he was a doctor, practicing his trade by, killing off all his patients- Gunther would settle in America; where he would build a mansion that would make Holmes proud: complete with a crawlspace for voyeurism; and all manner of booby traps- to prevent anyone who might discover his secrets from escaping.

Gunther keeps one of his former tenants, hostage in a cage, as a pet. He cut out her tongue, so that she may never speak of what she's seen, but he keeps her around for someone to talk to.

He also knocked off his last tenant, and, considering such, is looking for someone to fill the vacancy. Enter our protagonist, Lori.

Whereas he first began killing (the terminally ill) for reasons of compassion, he now suffers from an insatiable bloodlust, and has become addicted to killing. It makes him feel closer to his father.

Though, after each murder, he leaves it up to fate to decide whether he will continue kill again. He draws blood, smears it on a bullet and uses it to play a round of Russian roulette. If he does not blow his head off, he considers that divine sanction to continue on.

However, he didn't count on his newest tenants tenacity, and will to live. Perhaps she is just lucky, or perhaps this is what fate ultimately had in store.

Worth watching to see the master-of-creepiness in action...and for all those awesome booby trap kills.

6 out of 10.
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The mad genius of Klaus Kinski
dwa195611 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Opening scene:

A woman for no apparent reason begins walking up a flight of blood-red carpeted stairs, a flashlight in hand. She sees, at the top of the stairs, that a door is left open. Strange. She investigates. To her intrusively horrific disbelief, in this eerily illuminated room, Nazi war photos adorn the walls to one side, while other side is decorated with scores of caged rats, a kitten, and a caged mute woman staring out passionately.

Enter Klaus Kinski as Dr. Karl Gunther. "She can't talk", calmly mutters Gunther to the ill-fated intruder, "I cut off her tongue…what a shame, I really liked you", before unemotionally murdering the intruder in a most unusual way. Fade to the kitchen where Gunther, slicing open a finger and coating a single bullet with his blood, proceeds to load the bullet in a gun, spins the cylinder, places the barrel to his temple, and pulls the trigger. Nothing… "So be it." As if to justify what he has done...and what he is about to do.

Crawlspace is one of those rare lost treasures of the horror genre that has never really gotten its due. Perhaps because it was a relatively low-budgeted affair. Perhaps because it did not get much publicity. Who is to say? It is, without any doubt, however, a triumph as a well written, well directed, and more importantly amazingly acted study of a man whose lust for voyeurism and blood consumed him totally beyond the brink of any semblance of sanity. Kinski simply astounds.

Written and directed by David Schmoeller, the movie boasts an outstanding soundtrack by the famed Pino Donaggio. And although Mr. Schmoeller personally and professionally hated Kinski enough to thoroughly trash him in the 9-minute (and outrageously overpriced) documentary, "Please Kill Mr. Kinski", it is clear the two of them (Schmoeller and Kinski) got the most out of each other's talents. Schmoeller, by far, got the better of the deal. Schmoeller has 12 films to his credit, Kinski has over 150. Enough said.

Dr. Karl Gunther has recently been uncovered by Nazi-hunter Joseph Steiner who has spent the last 3 years locating Gunther who fled Argentina where, under his care, 67 patients of seemingly good health died under "mysterious circumstances", to which Gunther refers to as "euthanasia".

That Steiner interrupted the day-to-day routine of Dr. Gunther's "behavioral studies" of the gorgeous tenants of an apartment building he owns; was a most certain distraction to Gunther to be dealt with, as only he knew how. Murder most heinous and cruel.

It is discovered that Dr. Karl Gunther's own father was a Nazi war criminal who also had a passion for mercy killing. Mostly women and children. Gunther's writings in his personal journal reflect his musings over the ironic similarities between father and son.

Dr. Karl Gunther has an unusual way of spying on his lovelies. The ductwork, which provides heat, is conveniently located near the ceiling and works quite well as a "crawlspace" in which Gunther can merrily go about his business of studying his tenants in various states of dress and undress.

Enough cannot be said of this movie. There are few dull moments. A lot of action and a lot of Kinski, the genius who once again proves that his appearance in a film is reason enough to see it. Kinski's supporting cast members are nowhere near the caliber of actor(s) as he. But then who is? Talia Balsam, Barbara Whinnery, Carol Frances, and Tane' provide a pleasant visual distraction while Sally Brown as the pathetic and tragic Martha is very convincing as the wretched, tortured soul she portrays in her horrifically tragic and confined silence.

After watching Kinski portray yet another madman, one who terrorizes his tenants in the ductwork using odd tap tap tapping sounds, with rats aplenty, those of you who live in apartments after viewing this movie will find yourselves gazing at the vents and ductwork, wondering if anyone is behind there watching, leering, and plotting… in the "Crawlspace". "So be it".
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Uninvolving horror film
Maciste_Brother10 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
CRAWLSPACE has an interesting idea behind it but unfortunately, like most of David Schmoeller's films (he directed the boring TOURIST TRAP), the whole thing is just too uninvolving to be memorable in any way, shape or form. The film feels like it's missing a third of story and the way the film starts sorta echo this impression: we see a woman walking around the apartment complex and eventually discovers Kinski's horrifying background and pays for it. One feels that when the movie starts, it had been in progress for some time already. Except for the lead actress, the mute woman and Kinski, the other actors are mostly terrible. And the sets look, for the most part, cheap and very studio like. CRAWLSPACE is a somewhat interesting footnote in the horror genre, nothing more.
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alife27 December 2002
Granted that the sight of Klaus Kinski applying lipstick and eyeliner to his own shriveled, transparent face is terrifying, this film is unbelievably bad. Kinski's potential is completely lost in an utterly inept production. Even at 80min, it's tediously long.

Equal parts PEEPING TOM, PHANTASM, and APT PUPIL, this film could not possibly be any cornier or unscary than it is. Take the climactic 'chase' scene for example (included in the trailer), in which Kinski grabs hold of a scooter board to race through the crawlspace; cut to a close-up of his bucktoothed grin ...... surfs up!
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A very kinky Kinski slithers around the crawlspace...
Doylenf14 October 2006
He's a voyeur's delight, this Kinski chap, smearing his thick lips with lipstick and watching Adolf Hitler speeches in his attic, where he has assembled a good number of torture instruments and weapons. He watches a lot of Hitler's filmed speeches on a screen in his attic, even saluting once in awhile--that is, when he isn't busy slithering around the crawlspace to watch his pretty tenants through the vents or distract them with noises they might attribute to mice or rats.

His fondness for being a voyeur takes up most of the running time of this brief thriller and the payoff is only a few scenes of real horror in between long stretches of minimal suspense. But the last fifteen minutes are the most suspenseful, as his chase through the crawlspace begins in earnest when one of his tenants (TALIA BALSAM) discovers his favorite hiding place. The final confrontation scene, however, is a distinct letdown and ends much too abruptly.

Good for a few chills, but really not satisfying enough as a thriller to please most horror fans. A scene involving a man seated on a special kind of chair has a certain stabbing effect, but most of the killings occur off screen and only the results are shown in brief shots.

Fans of KLAUS KINSKI will probably want to see this. Others beware. He's quite a menacing character and could easily have followed in the footsteps of Conrad Veidt if he'd chosen to do films in the U.S.A., playing Nazis and other villainous types as Veidt did.
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The Scarecrow says, "pretty awful"
Scarecrow-883 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The film is just limp. You may desire more of an introduction than that when first reading someone's response after seeing a hunk of trash such as "Crawlspace", but it's my only accurate description. It seems to go nowhere and feels like two hours when it is only around 20 minutes long. The ending feels rather hackneyed as if many deaths were cut out in support of time constraints. One thing I felt the film lacked was any kind of real thrills. It's all anti-climactic. The film is simple in it's grotesque nature, but really doesn't shock as it does bore you to tears. Kinski plays the owner of an apartment complex who spies on women through a crawlspace which leads to each room via ventilation shafts. He eyes a particular young college women played by Talia Balsam. The film isn't really that violent so even that can't help give this film any momentum. It's simply a lifeless exercise with Kinski doing all he can with his sicko doctor whose father was a nazi. He loves to kill as he explains, but director Schmoeller never allows us to see much violence. It's sleaze without much sleaziness. The film is just not worth the time unless you're a Kinski die-hard.
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One Of My Personal Cult Favorites
mkucherov28 June 2000
Klaus Kinski was one of the great underrated actors of our time. Perhaps because he was too wild, uncompromising and tragically self-destructive to play the Hollywood game. Sure, CRAWLSPACE is low-budget, and he did it for quick cash. But his performance as the tortured, enigmatic, and totally twisted Dr. Gunther corruscates with understated brilliance.

Scenes from this film will always stay with me: Kinski playing Russian roulette with himself after he kills each victim and announcing "So be it!" when fate spares him and he can keep on killing. Kinski's deadpan voiceover as he writes his demented philosophical musings into his madman's diary. Kinski's almost touching monologues to the woman who's tongue he has cut out and whom he keeps in a cage to ward off loneliness. Kinski holding his hand over the gas burner as he waits for a prospective tenant/victim to take the apartment. Kinksi with lipstick and makeup in full SS drag, saluting "Heil Gunter!"

I could go on, but then again I'm a diehard Kinski fan. Even though this movie is low-budget, I think it is well-written, well-acted, and successful on many levels. It's one of my sentimental favorites, which I have seen more than once. Deserves to be redone!!!
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Bizarre deluxe
Klaus Kinski plays Gunther, an apparently retired doctor who is the landlord of an apartment block. His appearance is effete, certainly he gives off the impression of being very withdrawn. It becomes apparent that his father was a Nazi genocide employed by the SS and the family minus dad flew to Argentina after the war. Little Gunther became Doctor Gunther and started to "euthanise" dozens of patients suffering from minor ailments. I suppose in 1986 this would have seemed fanciful, however in the UK, and after the revealed murders of Dr Harold Shipman, it is somewhat less so now.

Gunther has however got bored with these less graphic murders and has now taken to polishing off his all female tenants who he spies on through vents connected by a network of crawlspaces.

One of the most disturbing things about this movie is that Gunther keeps a young lady in a cage in his room. He's cut her tongue out and cut most of her hair off, who knows what else, she looks very sallow. Her position is that she is there as someone for Gunther to talk to. She appears not to be frightened that Gunther will torture her any more. Rather she is simply suffering from seeing the terrible things he does to others, she passes him a note at one point begging him to kill her.

Her character is seemingly a perverse reference to Maria Falconetti's performance as Joan of Arc in the silent movie The Passion Of Joan Of Arc. Like in the silent movie she is voiceless and expressing deep sorrow and anguish solely via facial movements.

One thing that I love to see in movies is excellent interior design. Rooms can have extremely potent psychological effect if done right. The interior design of an apartment can reveal a lot about the personality of the character living there if it's done properly, and can be an excellent short cut in setting up character development. The apartments in this movie are done very well. Gunther seems to enjoy draping everything, cutting out the straight edges, even a cage of rats is draped in tasselled velvet. He seems fastidious and prissy, a coolly observant psychopath.

Gunther almost seems to see himself as a scientist, he has no real vendetta against women, and he writes a journal exploring his addiction. It's a calm movie at points, even though he's turned his apartment into a trap complete with models of torture devices and a mutilated woman in a cage.

My favourite spectacle in the movie though is a chocolate party that a bunch of the female tenants have. Chocolate and tequila milkshakes chocolate, chocolate cakes, chocolate biscuits, basically they turn the apartment into a chocolate bordello. How great for all us male voyeurs to see such a bizarrely grotesque feminine ritual!

The big thing the movie has though is Klaus Kinski's acting, it's rare that a director will focus on an actor's face closeup for any substantial amount of time and let an actor show their talent. We see Klaus Kinski play Russian Roulette, seated on a chair on a chequerboard floor, the facial nuance is brilliant.
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good/bad horror movie
monkey-man14 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is good/bad and there are two reasons why this movie is good and the two reasons are:

1.The main character in this movie is called Docter Karl Gunther (Klaus Kinski) and i think that he is so dam freaky because every thing he does in this movie is so strange.

2.All of the ways people die in this movie are great and the best way someone dies is how a man is sitting in a seat and he accidentally presses a button and a big metal spike comes out and kills him.

Over all if u like good suspense horror movies u should watch this movie and my rating for this movie is six out of 10.
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scythertitus22 November 2019
This movie is very much of its time and is probably more something to watch with a few friends and a running commentary. Otherwise while it has some fun quirks to it, there isn't much that really makes sense or is compelling.

What it has going for it is some originality. The way it is told from mostly the killers perspective as he views others and we get a view into his life with his journals is a great idea, however it is underdeveloped and doesn't really pay off in the end.

Overall there is some fun to be had here and with better writing this could have been something very interesting. As it is, it is some very schlocky 80s camp and that's not too bad if that's all you are looking for.
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Very scary
jacobjohntaylor117 August 2019
This is one of the scariest movies ever. It has great acting. It also has a great story line. It one of the scariest movies I have seen. If does not scary you no movie will it is scarier then The Shinning.
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Only the cautious minded should watch this
GOWBTW3 September 2016
A good deal of living isn't a pain. Only if you see the signs of something that is too good to be true. In "Crawlspace", Klaus Kinship plays Karl Guenther, an apartment owner with a sinister secret. When Lori(Talia Balsam) answers his ad for a apartment for rent, she gets a show of the place, while Karl turned on the stove and sears his palm. She gets the place, and meets the neighbors. Unbeknownst to the others, Karl Guenther is also a voyeur. He spies on the lady tenants, and mentally seduces them. Earlier, Sophie(Tane) was being watched by not only Karl, but her boyfriend Hank (David Abbott). When they get acquainted, Karl watches them perform. When all the ladies have a "Sweet party", Karl devises his plan to crash it. He rigged a compartment for the rat to come in. All but Lori freak out. The big dirty secret of Karl is that he's a doctor; A Nazi doctor. He was responsible for killing 67 people in Argentina. One of the victims is the brother of the man who has tracked him down for 3 years. Following the footsteps of his father, he's sharing the ideology. Karl has added items to his collection. One of them is a woman whose tongue is cut out. The eyes of Sophie's boyfriend who had a standoff against in the second night, and the finger with the ring of from and resident's date. The standoff is tight. More like being in a labyrinth. This movie is like for scientists, history buffs, and what not. It's not for everyone, for horror buffs this is the one. 4 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful little film, strongly underrated
Silent_Abstraction3 November 2006
I saw this one back to back with "Cobra Verde" and, surprisingly, actually liked it better. It's an inexpensive little serial killer film, rather low on violence on the contemporary "Saw" scale, but with excellent camera-work and music (composer Pino Donaggio worked with Brian de Palma and Dario Argento, and cinematographer Sergio Salvati shot some of Lucio Fulci's best movies). Kinski gives a very beautiful performance here: He's in almost every scene, and his characterization of the evil nazi/doctor/landlord is restrained, faceted and balanced, meandering between the light-hearted and ugly. I didn't know that his acting in the mid-eighties still had such quality. If you get a chance, watch director David Schmoeller's (he wrote all the Puppet Master movies and directed the first one) hilarious short movie about his collaboration with Kinski, aptly titled "Please kill Mr. Kinski" (1999). Making the movie must have been hell for the poor guy, but the result is quite rewarding.
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CRAWLSPACE (David Schmoeller, 1986) *1/2
Bunuel197610 November 2006
This Italian-produced slasher flick is merely a cheap rehash of Michael Powell's PEEPING TOM (1960) with all its exploitation elements accentuated and psychological insights all but removed. The cast is very weak - Talia Balsam (Martin's daughter and George Clooney's ex-wife!!) is something of a novelty in that she is hardly attractive enough to be the leading lady for this kind of film - and it's only the sight of Klaus Kinski crawling from one apartment to the other to do his peeping - not to mention his limb-laden room where he keeps narrating the entries in his diary - that holds any interest at all for the viewer; some of the killings are grisly enough perhaps but nothing sufficiently memorable.
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A Strong Slasher of the 1980s
gavin69427 October 2010
A retired doctor (Klaus Kinski), who is also the son of a Nazi surgeon, rents out apartments to young women so he can crawl through the air ducts and spy on them. Of course, with Nazi blood running through his veins, spying is not all he has in mind.

"Crawlspace" is, unfortunately, not a very well known film. Sure, slashers in the 1980s were common enough, and being a Charles Band production, you might have your doubts. But this was during his Empire years, when he was producing such greats as "Re-Animator". And this is no typical slasher: the focus is on the subversive nature of the killer, not on the body count (which is actually rather low). Band's influence can be seen in only one real way: the re-use of sets from the movie "Troll", which helped keep the budget low.

As horror historian and ambassador Jon Kitley says, "Despite the unique storyline, it is really Kinski that makes this movie memorable." Kitley says he was "amazed at the sheer talent" of Kinski. This is absolutely true: while the film could have starred anyone, Kinski's look, voice and mannerisms really give him the rich, creepy feeling the character of Dr. Gunther needs. All else is background to his presence, making him something of an anti-hero.

Director David Schmoeller really gets in there with angles, and shows us just how tight those crawlspaces are that Gunther worms his way into. It's not quite claustrophobic, but pushes the boundaries of where we think a man can hide. Schmoeller, along with Ken Hall, went on to write the screenplay for and direct "Puppet Master". Frankly, I think this is the better film.

I was somewhat confused by the Friedrich Nietzsche photograph on the office wall, the Nazi film and the Nazi hat. I understand the Nazi ideals and beliefs somehow came from Gunther's father, who fled Germany to raiuse the family in Argentina. But to lump Nietzsche in with the Nazis is just misguided, at best.

If you can find a copy of this, pick it up. Rent it, or buy it. Netflix has it available for you, but I really think this is one of those films any horror buff should have in their personal collection. I am not sure what is on the DVD as far as special features, but if any film is worthy of some great features, this would be the one.
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