Crawlspace (1986)

R | 80 mins | Horror | 26 September 1986

Director:

David Schmoeller

Producer:

Roberto Bessi

Cinematographer:

Sergio Salvati

Editor:

Bert Glatstein

Production Designer:

Giovanni Natalucci

Production Company:

Altar Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

       A 9 Nov 1985 Screen International news item stated that principal photography would begin on location in Rome, Italy, the week of 11 Nov 1985. According to a 28 Sep 1986 LAT article, the film had a budget of $1 million. A 5 Mar 1986 Var advertisement announced that principal photography was completed on that day.
       The 28 Sep 1986 LAT reported that writer-director David Schmoeller was pleased to work with actor Klaus Kinski although he appeared to carry his role as a madman offscreen as well as on the set. The first day of filming, Kinski informed Schmoeller that director David Lean had not tried to give him direction on Doctor Zhivago (1965, see entry) and he did not expect any from Schmoeller. During one scene, when Schmoeller indicated he wanted to do another take, Kinski reportedly charged at him, and screamed, “I am not a hamburger. I am Klaus Kinski!”

      Onscreen end credits list Jack Heller incorrectly as “Jack Hiller.” End credits state: “Filmed at Empire Studios-Rome, Italy,” and “Special Thanks to Albert Band & Debra Dion.” ... More Less

       A 9 Nov 1985 Screen International news item stated that principal photography would begin on location in Rome, Italy, the week of 11 Nov 1985. According to a 28 Sep 1986 LAT article, the film had a budget of $1 million. A 5 Mar 1986 Var advertisement announced that principal photography was completed on that day.
       The 28 Sep 1986 LAT reported that writer-director David Schmoeller was pleased to work with actor Klaus Kinski although he appeared to carry his role as a madman offscreen as well as on the set. The first day of filming, Kinski informed Schmoeller that director David Lean had not tried to give him direction on Doctor Zhivago (1965, see entry) and he did not expect any from Schmoeller. During one scene, when Schmoeller indicated he wanted to do another take, Kinski reportedly charged at him, and screamed, “I am not a hamburger. I am Klaus Kinski!”

      Onscreen end credits list Jack Heller incorrectly as “Jack Hiller.” End credits state: “Filmed at Empire Studios-Rome, Italy,” and “Special Thanks to Albert Band & Debra Dion.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
1 Oct 1986
p. 3, 21.
Los Angeles Times
27 Sep 1986
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
28 Sep 1986.
---
Screen International
9 Nov 1985.
---
Variety
5 Mar 1986
p. 15.
Variety
21 May 1986
p. 30.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Empire Pictures Presents
A Charles Band Production
A David Schmoeller Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam op
2d asst cam op
3d asst cam op
Still photog
Key grip
Projectionist-USA
Projectionist-Italy
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Asst ed-Italy
Asst ed-Italy
SET DECORATORS
Spec prop photographs
Set dresser
Asst set dresser
Prop master-USA
Prop master-Italy
Propman
Asst propman
Asst propman
Const coord
Painter
Painter
Greensman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward coord
Seamstress
MUSIC
Orch cond by
Piano and voice consultant
Hebrew lament sung by
Mus rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Foley ed
Asst sd eff ed
Apprentice sd eff ed
Foley artist
Spec sd eff
Chief eng
Foley rec at
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec makeup eff
Spec makeup eff
Designs & visual eff consultant
Spec mechanical eff
Spec mechanical eff
Spec mechanical eff
Spec makeup for Sally Brown
Des/ Supv
Title des
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Asst makeup artist
Hairstylist
Hairdresser
Chief makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Exec in charge of prod-USA
Prod coord-USA
Prod coord-Italy
Loc supv
Asst to Charles Band
Asst to Debra Dion
Casting asst
Asst to David Schmoeller
Asst prod coord-USA
Asst prod coord-USA
Asst prod coord-Italy
Prod asst-USA
Researcher/ Stock footage
Prod asst-Italy
Prod liaison
Exec controller
Prod comtroller-USA
Prod accountant
Accountant
Asst accountant
Grip & lighting equip
Post prod facilities provided by
Exec in charge of post prod
Asst to Mr. Arensman
Post prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
"Lovers Tonight," music by Pino Donaggio, lyrics by David Schmoeller, ©1986 Alband Music
"If I Had Enough Money, I'd Buy Me A Man," music by Pino Donaggio, lyrics by David Schmoeller, ©1986 Alband Music.
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 September 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 26 September 1986
Production Date:
the week of 11 November 1985--5 March 1986 in Rome, Italy
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Cameras and Lenses by Technovision-Rome,Italy
Duration(in mins):
80
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28107
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When a female tenant searches for apartment manager, Karl Gunther, in the attic, she sees several cages containing rats. Silently, a deadbolt automatically locks the door behind her. She notices a mute girl named Martha White locked in a cage, gesturing for help. Karl appears, and explains that he cut out the girl’s tongue, and points to it, floating in glass jar suspended in liquid. He presses a button that automatically impales his tenant with a spear. Martha witnesses the murder, and cowers in her cage. Karl sits at a table, loads a bullet engraved with his name into the chamber of a gun, and plays Russian roulette. When he is spared, he murmurs, “So be it.” He then posts an “apartment for rent” sign. Later, Karl spies on tenant Sophie Fisher, dressed in red lingerie in her apartment. An intruder with a knife confronts her, and orders her to continue undressing. The intruder is actually Sophie’s boyfriend, Hank Storm, and she wishes he would use the front door instead of sneaking in her window. They make love, and Karl watches the whole episode. Soon, a college student named Lori Bancroft asks to see the apartment. She thinks it is a great improvement over her last place, where her landlord seemed like a vampire, and agrees to rent the apartment. Later, Karl writes in his journal that he used to kill in the name of science, but now he kills because he is addicted. When he feeds Martha through the bars of her cage, she hands him a piece of paper, requesting in writing that he kill her. He says he cannot comply because he would have ... +


When a female tenant searches for apartment manager, Karl Gunther, in the attic, she sees several cages containing rats. Silently, a deadbolt automatically locks the door behind her. She notices a mute girl named Martha White locked in a cage, gesturing for help. Karl appears, and explains that he cut out the girl’s tongue, and points to it, floating in glass jar suspended in liquid. He presses a button that automatically impales his tenant with a spear. Martha witnesses the murder, and cowers in her cage. Karl sits at a table, loads a bullet engraved with his name into the chamber of a gun, and plays Russian roulette. When he is spared, he murmurs, “So be it.” He then posts an “apartment for rent” sign. Later, Karl spies on tenant Sophie Fisher, dressed in red lingerie in her apartment. An intruder with a knife confronts her, and orders her to continue undressing. The intruder is actually Sophie’s boyfriend, Hank Storm, and she wishes he would use the front door instead of sneaking in her window. They make love, and Karl watches the whole episode. Soon, a college student named Lori Bancroft asks to see the apartment. She thinks it is a great improvement over her last place, where her landlord seemed like a vampire, and agrees to rent the apartment. Later, Karl writes in his journal that he used to kill in the name of science, but now he kills because he is addicted. When he feeds Martha through the bars of her cage, she hands him a piece of paper, requesting in writing that he kill her. He says he cannot comply because he would have no one to talk to. Later, another tenant, Harriet Watkins, asks Karl to help carry her groceries. She flirts and invites him in for a drink. He claims he never touches alcohol, has had unsuccessful relationships and hates women. Still later, Karl spies on a welcome party for Lori, thrown by Harriet and the other women renters in the building. From a hand-held device, Karl releases a rat into Harriet’s apartment and breaks up the festivities. In his journal, Karl says he was chief surgeon at the National Hospital when he began practicing euthanasia. He liked the idea of relieving patients of their pain. In 1971, he read his father’s diaries and discovered, to his horror, that his father was responsible for exterminating Jewish people, but rationalized his actions by calling it “euthanasia.” One evening, Karl kills Hank when he appears outside Sophie’s window. He dismembers the body, and puts the body parts into glass jars in his attic workroom. Karl plays another round of Russian roulette with his revolver, but is again spared. One day, Karl receives a surprise visit from Josef Steiner, who claims to have searched three years to find him. As the men talk, Josef believes Karl is a murderer, responsible for the deaths of sixty-seven patients with routine ailments who were admitted to the National Hospital in Buenos Aires, where Karl was chief resident. One of the patients killed was Josef’s brother. Karl expresses sorrow over the brother’s death, but explains that during twenty-seven years of practicing medicine, it was not always possible to save every patient. When Josef pulls a magazine article out of his briefcase, describing the execution of Karl’s father for Nazi war crimes, Karl insists Josef leave. As he goes, Josef hands Karl a photograph of Karl as a boy dressed in a Hitler youth uniform. The memory brings Karl to tears. Josef warns he will be watching Karl. In his workroom, Karl creates more torture and killing devices. He believes killing is what he was meant to do. It makes him feel like a god to take away life. One evening, tenant Jessica Marlow and her companion, Alfred Lassiter, have drinks in her apartment after a date. Karl hides in the ductwork, and spies on the lovers, tapping his knife. Jessica explains the building has mice. Karl interrupts their lovemaking with more tapping. Alfred tells Jessica he cannot make love with the strange sounds in her apartment. He suggests her landlord hire an exterminator and leaves. In the hallway, he follows the noise through the open attic door. There, Karl kills him, and places his finger in a glass jar. He documents Alfred’s murder in his journal as he has done with every killing since he relocated to America. Later, Josef Steiner talks to Lori. He shares his suspicion that Karl is a murderer, which makes her uncomfortable. When she asks Josef to leave, he warns that she is not safe in the building. Karl overhears their conversation. In the hallway, Josef investigates a tapping sound coming from Karl’s apartment. He walks through the open door, and reads pages from Karl’s open journal on a table. Karl appears from behind a curtain, and activates a steel spike that impales Josef in the chair where he sits. Later, Karl plays Russian roulette several times, but is spared. He applies black eyeliner and smears red lipstick on his lips. Then, he watches a newsreel about Nazi Germany, and declares himself to be his own god, jury, and executioner. He wears a Nazi soldier’s hat, and salutes the screen. Later, Lori returns from class, and discovers rats crawling inside her refrigerator. An anonymous telephone caller asks who is swimming in her bathtub. She enters the bathroom, and finds Josef dead in the bathtub with a swastika carved into his forehead. As she runs away, she sees Karl staring at her through the window. She runs to Sophie for help, but she is also dead and propped up at her piano. Next, she runs to Harriet’s apartment, but Harriet has been gagged, and bolted to the wall with a swastika carved on her cheek. Horrified, Lori runs to the attic, and locks herself inside, thinking she will be safe. As she looks around, Martha cries to be freed. They fumble with the key. Martha conceals it, while Lori hides in the ducts when she hears Karl’s footsteps. When Karl narrowly misses wounding Lori with a spear, she crawls through the ductwork, and Karl sends rats to attack her. As she crawls, she notices there is a view into every apartment. Karl lowers himself into the passageway to find Lori. She turns around, and sees Karl rapidly approaching on a dolly. She races to an opening that allows her to climb into the attic, where Karl’s Nazi newsreel plays. Lori hides among the detritus. Martha finds her in the dark and the two women venture out when it appears Karl is accidentally impaled by one of his torture devices. However, as Lori walks with Martha to Karl’s apartment, Karl, still alive, removes a phony spike from his chest. Covered in blood, Karl appears at the front door of his apartment as Lori telephones police. She drops the phone and grabs Karl’s revolver. He laughs because the gun appears to have no bullets, but finally Lori fires a shot that kills Karl. As he collapses, he murmurs, “So be it.”

+

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.