It seems that as of late I’ve had quite a few personal tales having to do with Scream Factory releases. They’re drawing from an era that has inspired me straight from the mom and pop video store wall. Today’s entry will be no different. Renters Beware! It’s Klaus Kinski with a mullet and a mouse trap acting like a prima donna surrounded by gorgeous nymphos and strange torture devices. Crawlspace alluded me as a kid. It’s not that I didn’t try to see it. I begged my dad to rent it at Long Valley Video, but he knew better. He grew up watching Kinski movies in the 70’s and new just how sadistic he could be. After reading the back of the box, he was assured to prevent its rental. And so I forgot about it for time. It popped up on Netflix Instant, but I couldn’t seem to find the time to check it out. Then of the great S.F. announced it would be arriving on Blu-ray. I waited to watch it. I knew it would look perfect. I knew it would have a back story. It was worth the wait and the story is intriguing told by one of my favorite directors, David Schmoeller who directed one of my top five favorite horror films of all time, Tourist Trap.
Synopsis from Scream Factory:
Landlord Karl Gunther (Klaus Kinski – Nosferatu The Vampyre) seems like a conscientious landlord who looks out for this female tenants. What they don’t know is that he has an elaborate network of crawlspaces that he uses to watch their every move. Can a new prospective renter stop this apartment building’s rapid turnover rate…or will Gunther continue to make a killing?
If you like the women of the 80’s, naked and being tortured by a creepy ex-Nazi then Crawlspace is for you. It’s the kind of movie that will make you remember just why you enjoy lingerie, especially red lingerie. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t cut the nipples out of that bra sooner. It almost has the feeling of early, pre-cursor torture porn. Not that it’s without plot, substance or script worth a damn. It is a complete movie with lulls in between the “good parts”. Kinski’s performance is classic and, as my father always said, sadistic to the core. Kinski doesn’t need to act much to be one of the creepiest cats in the complex. His look does that for him. He’s iconic accent and piercing eyes are needle pincer swastika pokers. The complex network of passageways used to navigate and infiltrate the apartment building is pretty damn cool; definitely and inspiration for later films like The Collector or The Collection.
The disc comes complete with audio commentary from the director/writer David Schmoeller himself. The inclusion of one of his works on the Scream Factory label gives me hope that I might just see my beloved Tourist Trap someday afforded their treatment (though I think it’s ever unlikely given the announcement that another company will release it soon on Blu-ray). There’s an interview with the make-up effects artist John Vulich. Perhaps the coolest piece of extra on this disc and maybe of a disc released this year is the short film, Please Kill Mr. Kinski. This is directed by David Schmoeller and tells the tale of the difficulty working with Klaus Kinski, who’s reputation precedes him, how he tried to drop the actor and the Italian producer’s plan to have him killed. You need to see this. Schmoeller may have saved Kinski’s life. The disc also includes TV Spots and a theatrical trailer. The reversible cover art shows both an updated cover and the original VHS cover that I am most familiar from my days of longing.
Note: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, 1080p Hi-Def Wide Screen 1:85:1
Crawlspace was worth the wait, and it probably wasn’t the most appropriate movie for a young Doc Terror to enjoy without a few more years under his belt. Crawlspace may not be out and out scary, but if you can get past some of the overacting, you might find that it has you checking your forced air vents for peeping Kinski’s, questioning the rats that seem to come from nowhere and have you crosschecking your landlord against the war crime posters.