Film: Crawlspace

Crawlspace is a 1986 Slasher Movie directed by David Schmoeller starring Klaus Kinski. It is notable for Kinski's usual on-set antics driving his co-stars and director almost insane to such an extent that Schmoeller made a short documentary about his experiences with Kinski titled "Please Kill Mr. Kinski". Despite all the issues, Kinski manages to unsurprisingly be the most memorable part of the otherwise mediocre film.

The story consists of Karl Gunther, son of a Nazi soldier, a guy with obvious issues who rents apartments out to beautiful women, peeps on them and kills them by rigging the apartments with traps. He is also being stalked by a Nazi hunter whom he decides to take care of. Then there is a mute slave he keeps trapped in a cage whom he talks to. He also is suicidal and plays Russian Roulette with himself.


Tropes in this film include:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: The titular crawlspace.
  • Arc Words: "So be it."
  • Ass Shove: Happens accidentially to the Nazi Hunter with a spear in a booby-trapped chair. Ouch.
  • Ax-Crazy: Karl. Jury is out on whether Kinski was acting or not....
  • Booby Trap: Karl is very fond of these.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A literal example in Karl's Russian Roulette pistol.
  • Creator Cameo: Writer/director David Schmoeller is the male tenant Karl rejects before Lori happens by.
  • Deadly Doctor
  • Death Seeker: Karl desperately hopes that his Russian Roulette game ends with his death because he won't stop killing otherwise.
  • Final Girl: Lori and Martha.
  • Genre Savvy: Suspecting there's a trap, Lori sticks her tennis shoe in the crawlspace entrance, springing a trap that slices it in two.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Nazi Hunter Josef Steiner.
  • It's Personal: Steiner is after Karl because Karl killed Steiner's brother while he was still a doctor.
  • Large Ham: Guess who?
  • Peeping Tom: Karl uses the crawlspace to spy on his lovely tenants.
  • Repeat Cut: The shot of Steiner's reaction of having a trap sprung on him is shown three times.
  • Tongue Trauma: Karl has cut out the tongue of his slave to avoid her from talking.
  • Tragic Monster: Karl, surprisingly. He is deeply ashamed of his Nazi father, and weeps after he is shown a photo of himself in a Nazi uniform, regretful of being a part of it. He feels compelled to kill, because it makes him feel alive, but at the same time tries to kill himself after every murder with his Russian Roulette ritual and the little morality he has left, knowing he won't stop until he is dead.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used when Lori spots Gunther behind her window at the start of the climax.
  • Villain Protagonist: Karl.