Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Robot Ninjas vs Dragon Zombies: Season One, Episode 9: "Crawlspace"

There be rats in ye vents.

The Man with the Iron Vents

      Yeah. That's right. We are back. Whooo! I can not tell you how much I was missing... crappy... 80s... horror. Okay, maybe people don't get it, but for me, there isn't really anything more fun in the movie world than ripping apart some awful films. Well, except maybe actually good movies. And boy, do we have a crapfest for today. Because nothing says fun like Klaus Kinski in make-up. Right? Right... Crawlspace is directed by and written by David Schmoeller (Netherworld) and follows the murder obsessed apartment landlord Gunther, yes Gunther (Klaus Kinski, Nosferatu the Vampyre) as he stalks the female tenants of his apartment building, including the new girl Lori (Talia Balsam, Mad Men), secretary Harriet (Barbara Whinnery, Hot to Trot), soap opera star Jessica (Carol Francis, Fingers) and pianist Sophie (Tane, Legally Blonde). Sounds like fun to me!

Are you wearing eyeliner? Also, BLOOD!!!
Fish in a Barrel

      Calling Crawlspace an easy target is a bit of an understatement. I had never heard of the movie going in and I only watched in because I picked it out randomly from Netflix. This is the kind of movie you almost feel bad about making fun of. It never had a chance to be good. I mean, just look at that picture. Or the one below it. What chances did it ever have? There is a good amount of fun to be had with the film. It's horribly cliched, overly silly and often hilariously poorly written. But, it actually isn't nearly funny enough to be a so-bad-it's-good classic. In fact, it quite often is downright boring. For a movie involving a creepy man who hides in air vents and watches girls in their apartments, there is very little things like, I dunno, murder or nudity. I think we see 3 people die on-screen. And the only nudity is from the very beginning when one of the girls... cuts holes in her bra to show her nipples? Everyone was doing that in 1986! It's not like a movies needs nudity and murders to be good, but at least it would have made it interesting. Also, if there is hardly any nudity in your movie, don't put a naked person on your cover. It's cheap and false advertising. 


      But, by far, the biggest draw to the film is Klaus Kinski's main character/villain all in one. Kinski, who I'm sure I meet again in this series, plays Gunther with the kind of over-the-top hilarity that is needed when playing a peeping tom, son of nazi, serial killer named Gunther. He always has your attention when he's on-screen and he causes easily the most fun in this movie. Now, if only the rest of the movie was as fun as he was. The biggest problem is that his character is an absolute mess. He has no motivation. Now, granted, for a movie like this, the killer doesn't need a terrible lot of motivation to kill people, but here, Gunter does so many strange things that go unexplained. The movie bills it's as a Peeping Tom-style movie, yet I think is more a Jackass-style one. Gunther never spies on the changing or having sex. Like you'd expect in a movie about a creepy guy named Gunther who goes into air vents and watches women in the apartments. Instead, he goes to their vents and makes them think that there are rats in the vents. And that's it. Why? What purpose does it serve? Annoying people to death? Just show them this movie I'm sure that'll work.

He's sad because he just finished his last popsicle.

The Verdict

      You could do a lot worse than Crawlspace. Kinski is hilariously over-acting in this movie and there are quite a few funny moments, especially in the beginning. But, that said, the film never does enough to really warrant a viewing. The film contains none of the fun, easy to make fun of cliches you'd expect in a movie about a creepy guy named Gunther who goes into air vents and watches women in the apartments, like nudity, interesting deaths or any kind of fun. Instead, Kinski puts on makeup  watches footage of nazis and makes women think the apartments have a rat problem. For no explained reason. How thrilling! Crawlspace gets 2 and a half stars out of 6. 

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