Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Greatest Movie...

... in which a murderous Klaus Kinski is upstaged
by a singing rose with nipple slits?

Crawlspace (1986)

Heil Gunther! I've been putting off writing about this movie for a couple days now because I want to do it justice. Put quite simply, my life will be divided into two halves - pre-Crawlspace and post-Crawlspace. Where this movie has been all my life I don't know, but once I glimpsed her across the smoky room sipping her cheap chardonnay at the bar I knew it was love.

The words describing the film at IMDb hit me with brutal force, each harder then the one before it. A slasher movie. Slap. From 1986. Slap. Called Crawlspace. Slap. Starring Klaus Kinski. SLAP. As "a man who runs an apartment house for women [and] is the demented son of a Nazi surgeon [and] has the house equipped with secret passageways, hidden rooms and torture and murder devices."


I mean just look at the keywords IMDb has listed for it!

But even with all that, even with Klaus Kinski and Nazis and booby traps and cats, it doesn't even get to a tenth of the delight that Crawlspace had in store for me. Let's start at the beginning, because this sucker had me in its sweet embrace from first glance. Here's a life lesson for you folks! If you walk into a creepy dark attic and the following are the first three things you see:

This is not how you react:

If you react like that to those three things,
you deserve to die. And die you shall!

Life lesson number two: If you go to interview for an apartment and the landlord is Klaus Kinski... well really that alone ought to be enough to make you run screaming from the building. But if it's Klaus Kinski and the entire time you're looking at the apartment he stares at you like this?

You do not take the apartment, and you run. RUN.
Otherwise you deserve whatever comes to you, stupid!

But I'm already feeling guilty for sapping away the movie's pleasures without allowing y'all to experience them for yourselves. See this movie! Klaus Kinski plays Russian Roulette with himself every time he murders someone!

The ladies get wasted on "tequila milkshakes!"

Rats are beamed down from Mars.

This is a character.

But all of that is just prologue to the main event that is Sophie. Played by the lady Tané McClure, who went by just Tané for this role. Of course she did! She needs no surname! She is Tané! A rose, so sweet, so delicate. The first time we meet Sophie, she is snipping nipple holes into her bra and dancing around in front of a mirror.

Who doesn't do this when they're alone? But it turns out this is just a way of initiating her rape fantasy with her boyfriend who's been peeping at her window, of course. The sex scene that follows is super sexy and romantic.

Romance alert! The next time we spend some time with Sophie, she is again performing in her apartment. Only this time it's on a piano! Yes, we get a musical number. A musical number! And a very serious one at that. Sophie's alone at her piano and she's really feeling it.

We don't have to love forever
Just tonight
We don't have to say sweet whispers

Just tonight

We don't have to be true lovers
Just kiss me tonight
We don't have to hold each other
Just tonight

We don't have to say, "I love you"

Just for tonight, lovers tonight

Hold me tonight
Make me believe

You need me tonight

Don't make me feel like a fool
Don't think that I would ever cry for you

But why should I want one more night with you

When I don't really love you


Unfortunately for Hank, her pretty-eyed boyfriend and Alaskan Zombie fetishist, his peeping doesn't work out as well for him as when he watched her cut out nipple slits in her bra.

Aww, poor Hank.

Yes, yes you are lady. So hot! It's been awhile since I've fallen head over heels for a stock horror character made so much more, but Sophie earns her place in the pantheon. She's up there with Judy or Chubby Bannister y'all.

As an aside, how I wish I had musical abilities! I always say it when confronted with these terrible musical moments in 80s slashers, but if I could sing or play an instrument nothing would stop me from starting a band that played nothing but covers of songs like this or "The Ballad of Harry Warden" from My Bloody Valentine, so on. I can picture myself at the piano on a stage, all the lights turned down save a lone spotlight on my head, as I belt out Sophie's Song. Magical.

So as you can see, Crawlspace is the greatest movie you haven't seen. It's available on Netflix to Watch Instantly and I can't recommend it enough, yo. I feel like I haven't even got started sharing its wonder, but some discoveries must be left to you.

And I'm gonna have more to say on Thursday too (wink wink). So I'll leave you for now with this nugget of info from behind-the-scenes (via). Kinski was apparently monstrous to deal with on the set of this movie and made life hell for its director.

"After several days of already strained shooting, David Schmoeller called cut to one of Klaus’ scenes. The actor doubled over and held his head screaming “Cut! Cut! Cut!” over and over again. So the director, trying to keep his star happy, inquires what is wrong to which Kinski replies, “I’ve made over 200 films and every time always directors calling cut, cut, cut!” Schmoller while barely retaining his composure says, “Well, Klaus, what would you prefer I say.” Kinski rose up and looked at his director, “Say nothing, and I will stop when I am finished.”

All in the name of ART!


Ivan said...

Yow, I'd forgotten about the plethora of insanity in this one! Thanks for the heads-up: to the top of the N-flix Instaview list it goes.

greggiboi said...

I think a potential tenant might be mesmerized into complacency by that warm, fuzzy and friendly sweater KK wears. It'd do it for me.

Simon said...

God, that Kinski quote is so amazing. I want to make that into a poster or something.

I really want to see this now.

Glenn said...

I love that a character in this movie has a framed copy of Barbra Streisand's Emotion LP.

Neil Fulwood said...

Hold on. You're basically saying that Sophie's boyfriend delays orgasm by thinking of an as-yet-unmade zombie remake of the (in 1986) as-yet-unmade '30 Days of Night'.

Plus there's Klaus Kinski and rats from Mars.

You have just sold me on this movie. Big time.

dagnabbit said...

Watched this last night on your recommendation, great pick! The thing that struck me immediately was the color quality...how the hell did we go backwards in cinematography?
Tane poured on the super cheese but I thought the lead actress Talia Balsam was great and looking her up on IMDB...daughter of Martin Balsam??? Ex-wife of George Clooney??? Wife of Mad Man John Slattery??? Who knew?
This movie is fun, creepy, and chock full of little character moments.
"I was convinced the guy across the hall was a vampire. ... Well, not a real vampire."
"Sorry kitty"
"Jessica I have no idea what you're talking about but you're utterly charming."
The photo of Jessica posing with Park Place and Boardwalk from Monopoly.

Thanks for the suggestion!