This is a creepy little film starring a very creepy Klaus Kinski as Karl Guenther – the son of a Nazi doctor who captures young women and slowly tortures them to death. He watches them through his ‘crawlspace’ – an air vent – and is a voyeur like Norman Bates in Psycho. It feels quite giallo and Brian De Palma (it’s directed by David Schmoeller, so has nothing to do with any of that) and the tongueless woman he keeps in a cage (Sally Brown) rings like an inspiration for Martyrs.
The whole mood of Crawlspace makes you feel uncomfortable. Kinski is an effective villain and the Nazi connections to his character are horrible. There’s the exploitative elements of watching women undress and have sex with their boyfriends – we, the audience, therefore also become the voyeur; like a Dario Argento or De Palma film.
The last 15 minutes or so are pacey with a chase in an air vent involving copious amounts of rats, but the film is otherwise quite slow and often frustrating.
It’s a really grubby movie and you won’t feel nice after – but there is a sleazy merit to it and it’s worth a watch.
GORE RATING: 3/5
Watch it for: Klaus Kinski is a chilling protagonist
Watch out for: The first kill is pretty yucky
Next up…The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2015)