Now and then I come across a movie that I’ve seen bits that I thought were great, but when I see the entire film, putting that scene into context, I roll my eyes. Luckily, Crawlspace (1986) isn’t one of the movie that the snippet makes less sense when included in the whole.

This movie has excellent creeper moments, and better than average effects for the time, but what it’s lacking is a cohesive story; they kept adding things to it that I’m still shaking my head over.

In the beginning, it was like an exploitation film with a pervy landlord, Karl Gunther, who only rents to hot girls; think 13 Cameras’ under-appreciated older brother with the ambiance of a Cinemax After Dark feature. Then it changed after Josef Steiner comes to confront Gunther about being a killer doctor, and apparently a Nazi.

Klaus Kinski is perfect in the role of Dr. Karl Gunther, and honestly, I think he would’ve been a better Hannibal Lector than who they cast in those films. After every kill, he plays Russian Roulette, and I expected him to say “Not today, Satan. Not today,” but he didn’t, he said something else that wasn’t as campy or fun. Klaus is super creepy as a Nazi transvestite who only wears make-up…another of those things that I can’t stop shaking my head over.

Even with the story that lost control, Crawlspace isn’t a waste of time. I give it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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