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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Crawlspace [Blu-ray]


(David Schmoeller, 1986)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Empire Pictures

Video: Shout! Factory



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:20:29.324

Disc Size: 23,063,756,048 bytes

Feature Size: 20,533,856,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 17th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2064 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2064 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: DTS-HD Master Audio
English 2022 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2022 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






Audio Commentary with director David Schmoeller

• Interview with Make-up Special Effects Artist John Vulich (8:33)

Please Kill Mr. Kinski (9:05)

• Theatrical Trailer / TV Spots (2:29)





Description: Landlord Karl Gunther (Klaus Kinski , Nosferatu The Vampyre) seems like a conscientious landlord who looks out for his female tenants. What they don’t know is that he has an elaborate network of crawlspaces that he uses to watch their every move. Can a new prospective renter stop this apartment building’s rapid turnover rate…or will Gunther continue to make a killing?

Also starring Talia Balsam (The Kindred) and Tane (Death Spa), directed by David Schmoeller (Tourist Trap, Catacombs, Puppetmaster) and featuring a haunting score by Pino Donaggio (Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, Piranha), this disturbing and somewhat creepy film is driven by a compelling performance from Kinski.



The Film:

In 1986, the heyday of Empire International Pictures, David Schmoeller wrote and directed this lovely little romp through the mind of a now-adult Hitler Youth. Voyeurism. Sadism. Masochism. Misogyny. Euthanasia. Sorry, I'm back now. I was just reminiscing.

There's a nice precredit scene with a nifty implement gizmo. Then Klaus (Dr. Gunther) Kinski kicks in, with a delightful game of Russian Roulette. I know, you're saying that this is all well and good, but is there a plot? You bet! Dr. Gunther (the father) was executed for crimes against humanity because of his "experiments." Dr. Gunther (the son) worked in several hospitals where many patients happened to die under his care, including the brother of Joseph Steiner, a Truman Capote lookin' bastard now set on revenge.

Excerpt from Bruce Walsh at Exploitation Retrospect located HERE

A homicidal maniac doctor specializes in murder and owns a peaceful boarding house for lovely aspiring actresses. They feel safe and comfortable there. Little do they know, the good-doctor is getting his jollies by crawling through narrow spaces between the walls peeking at them through the heating vents. Sometimes he likes to shake the women up by making scary noises in the vents and blaming them on rats. The poor women also do not know that he is also a sadistic killer with a taste for slow, gruesome torture and clever traps. The whole nasty situation comes to a head when a Nazi hunter begins to trail him. Although the doctor himself was never a Nazi, his father was a wanted war criminal. Later it is revealed that the physician feels that he is predestined to follow in his father's grisly footsteps. He proves this after every killing when he plays a game of Russian roulette with his revolver. Each empty chamber is an affirmation that he is doing what he should.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Crawlspace looks solid on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory - who seem to be digging deep to release more exploitive 80's horror films. This is a doozy.  The image quality is not particularly remarkable except in its superiority over SD. There is a smattering of depth and excellent detail in a few close-ups.  This is single-layered with a decent bitrate. Certain colors are passive and look faded but this may have been how the film looked originally. Contrast has some layers but is not a key attribute for the visuals. There are no flaws - the video is clean and produces, what appears to be, an authentic, if unexceptional, video presentation.
















Audio :

A standard lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 2064 kbps supports Pino Donaggio's original, suspense-filled, score with the few effects taking a back seat to the music. Depth and bass response were apparent. There are no subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.


Extras :

Informative audio commentary with director David Schmoeller plus an 8-minute interview with Make-up Special Effects Artist John Vulich and a another segment with Schmoeller entitled Please Kill Mr. Kinski. Shout! Factory also include a Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots.



Gruesome stuff and directed adeptly to elicit maximum... uneasiness. Hard to imagine anyone but Kinksi as the baddie (which his characterization elevates to super-baddie).  The Shout! Factory Blu-ray produces a fine 1080P presentation - fans of the horror genre may wish to be 'creeped-out' by the nasty Crawlspace

Gary Tooze

December 10th, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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