Be kind, rewind: should you check out 80s flicks The Attic and Crawlspace?

Time for a couple of video store throwbacks! I take on two movies that would collect dust on the shelves while we were all renting Freddy, Michael, and Jason!

THE ATTIC (1980)

attic

Carrie Snodgrass, who has quite a horror resume—Ed Gein, The Fury, The Forsaken, Trick or Treats­—stars in this psychological horror that almost isn’t a horror film. Not to mention, the music score is painfully 1970s.

So Carrie plays a lonely librarian who is being replaced by a younger woman because she almost (accidentally?) burned down the library. But she becomes close friends with the younger woman, who buys her a pet monkey and is very kind to her (despite her seeming to be a nut).

Meanwhile, her fiancé disappeared right before their wedding, so she lives with her verbally abusive father (Ray Milland), who is confined to a wheelchair. The movie is very much about her father’s extremely cruel words and her sad state of existence.

For horror fans, she regularly has daydreams about killing him. The best has to be the one after her monkey mysteriously disappears; she imagines a guy in a monkey suit attacking her dad. WTF?

attic carrie

In the end, Carrie finds out what’s in the attic. There’s your horror. The twist is quite unique, but in a weird way, it’s this huge letdown when you realize she isn’t going to snap and go psycho on anyone.

CRAWLSPACE (1986)

crawlspace

Leave it to Klaus Kinski to be a terrifying psycho killer in an 80s slashers…without a mask. I have to admit, this one barely made a blip on my radar in the 80s because there was no mask. But rewatching it now, I realize Crawlspace is one creepy fun slasher.

crawlspace klaus peek

And it’s so 80s, with an apartment full of bimbos that weirdo landlord Klaus spies on in all their nudity by watching through the vents. It actually starts almost as if you’re watching the “flashback” intro to a sequel—we see a woman getting killed in the attic by Klaus before he posts an ad for an apartment for rent. Yeah. There’s a whole previous story and it feels like this is the end of that movie!

Only, that was then. This is now. A new chick comes to see the apartment. She talks about how her previous neighbor was creepy—while Klaus is acting creepy as hell. Clearly not a good judge of character, she takes the apartment.

crawlspace girl

Yet the main girl isn’t even the focus for a majority of the movie. It’s all about Klaus, his Nazi and death obsession, the death contraptions he creates in his attic while talking to the tongue-less woman he keeps in a cage up there, and his use of rats as a diversion to keep the tenants from realizing it’s him making noise in the walls.

In between kills, Klaus plays Russian roulette. If he blows his brains out, it’s fate telling him he needs to be stopped. If not—it means he should keep killing. The movie takes a noticeable The Apt Pupil turn and then things get horror amazing!

crawlspace makeup

Klaus puts on eye makeup and lipstick while watching Hitler movies and looks even creepier than normal. Then he fucks with the main girl. He fucks with her bad. There’s a chase. There’s a fricking vent chase. Klaus hops on some sort of crawlspace skateboard rollercoaster (WTF?).

The movie concludes by bringing it all around again, like a chamber spinning in a revolver. That’s how you end a movie.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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