- 1 hr 20 min
Crawlspace is a 1986 horror film that features Klaus Kinski, Talia Balsam, Carole Francis, Barbara Whinnery and Tane McClure. Produced by Roberto Bessi, the story about a demented man who traps young women and terrorizes them was written and directed by David Schmoeller. Karl Gunther appears to be conscientious but is a psychopathic landlord who owns a home located near a university. He rents only to beautiful young females. Through a series of ducts that are constructed to fit his body, he spies on each tenant as they change clothes, shower and entertain guests. His tenants feature a rising soap opera star, Harriet, a vivacious secretary, Sophie, a very accomplished pianist who has rather wild affairs with a boyfriend and Lori, a college student. All are happy to reside in Gunther's very well kept apartments. However, when they complain of hearing a tapping sound at night, he explains that it is rats, when it is really him spying on them. Fairly early in the film, it is revealed that Gunther's father was a Nazi. Through journal narration, it is discovered that his father's memoirs are part of what has inspired him to reach the heights of depravity. Infected by his father's past, Gunther learns to enjoy torturing and killing. He also fuels his activities by watching Nazi documentaries in the attic. Once trapped, Gunther gradually begins to play cat and mouse with the female tenants and their dates by releasing rodents into their apartments. As time progresses, a new female tenant and others begin to take notice of Gunther's extra-curricular activities. Nazi hunter, Josef Steiner (played by Kenneth Shippy) identifies Gunther as a Nazi's son, and reveals that he is also a former doctor from Argentina, where his patients had an inordinately high rate of fatality. Throughout the film, Gunther is seen using various devices and weapons to terrorize and murder his victims. While in his study, it is learned that Gunther has locked a woman in a cage. She has become mute, since he had her tongue removed. The tongue, as well as other victim's body parts, are housed on the mantel. The situation is so unbearable for the woman in the cage that at one point, she writes a note begging him to kill her. However, Gunther refuses, citing that then he would have no one to talk to. Gunther is full of self-hatred, as evidenced by his Russian roulette play, coating bullets in his own blood. Kinski's performance is the centerpiece of the film, displaying a stunning level of degeneracy.