Cinema Sinner: Crawlspace

Disclaimer: These films deal with deranged material and are meant for mature audiences only.

To enjoy this film with your date:
Clothes: A college moving company’s T-shirt
Food: Your filthy roomate’s dried puke
Music: “Dead Man on Campus” soundtrack

You come home and find your place trashed. Your John Belushi “Animal House” poster has been ripped off your wall of depravity; your food has been eaten, there is dried vomit on your carpet and, to top things off, your DVD player is full of Orlando Bloom films. Moving out of the residence hall and into your own place isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, is it? Well, you could be too nice of a person.

You’ve gotta go Klaus Kinski on your roommate. What does that mean? Check out David Schmoeller’s “Crawlspace” and find out. Kinski plays a landlord who is very selective about whom he lets into his apartment building, and rightly so. But he isn’t perfect – sometimes his tenants besmirch him, and then he has to make some evictions … by slaughtering them.

He does have a tender side, though. Kinski doesn’t kill all of his tenants; sometimes he just mutilates them. For instance, he mercifully cuts out the tongue and vocal chords of one whiny resident with a particularly big mouth. The victim is then allowed to live in a cage as Kinski’s new pet.

While Kinski may seem like the typical psycho Unlike most psychotic characters, what sets this film apart is Kinski himself, who really was as insane as most of the characters he played. In this film and in many others, he got into fistfights with fellow actors, pulled guns on his directors and was even accused of shooting off the fingers of some extras who annoyed him. Things got so bad that one “Crawlspace” producer actually tried to take out a mafia contract on Kinski’s life. But nobody dared to interfere with Kinski’s art because he could wipe someone out of existence with his bare fists.

It’s time to get your roomies schooled. Don’t let them walk all over you. Buy a human-sized cage and leave it in your living room, along with a jar of formaldehyde labeled “reserved for tongue of ___” (insert name here). And even if your new apartment doesn’t allow cats or dogs as pets, I guarantee your rental contract says nothing about humans.

The writer, Ranjan Chhibber holds a Ph.D in Film Studies and is a recipient of the 2003 Bender Teaching Award.

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