Crawlspace (DVD)

Crawlspace DVD review (click to see it bigger!)Starring Arthur Kennedy, Teresa Wright, Tom Happer, Eugene Roche

Directed by John Newland

Released by Wild Eye Releasing

Ahhh, the 70’s! The time when $20 bought a load of groceries, you could still afford to drive V-8 powered land ships on wheels, and people could let strange vagrants live in their basement crawlspaces without a care in the world…

Ok, maybe not that last part, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Not only did the 70’s spawn such wonders as yours truly, it also gave birth to some of the most beloved horror of all time. Whether it was on the big screen or the small, horror cinema of the 70’s has a flavor all its own. People today are still trying to recreate the 70’s recipe of genius, but it is very rare when the resulting dish is as tasty as the original.

Crawlspace was a 1972 made for TV film that showcases everything good and ghoulish about 70’s horror. It has great, tense atmosphere, just-off-the-mark actingm and those wonderful car mounted camera shots that are so lacking in today’s CGI laden world of cinema. This is one of those eerie episodes of late-night horror television that captured an audience in its grip and then disappeared into obscurity, leaving its fans with nothing more than a memory and creepy feeling when they think about it.

Elusive for years to the folks who remember it fondly, Crawlspace can’t hide in the shadows any longer. Wild Eye Releasing has pulled the veil off of this terrifying treasure and brought it back to our televisions in a new DVD release. It’s one of many titles in their TV Movie Terror Collection.

Now, back to the basement vagabond…

The Graves are a middle-aged couple who have moved from the city because of Mr. Graves’ poor health. Never having any children of their own, they become attached to a young man named Richard, who helps with a household repair. After they invite Richard to have dinner with them, they think they will probably never see the boy again. They couldn’t have been more wrong!

When Mr. Graves investigates strange noises coming from the basement, to his shock and bewilderment he discovers that Richard has been living in a cramped crawlspace beneath the kitchen. Instead of reporting the intruder to the authorities, the lonely couple decides to let him stay. They feed and clothe him and invite him to Christmas dinner. The strange situation seems to work out just fine, and the three of them develop a close “family” bond.

Unfortunately, things eventually go very wrong. While the Graves’ adoration for their guest has begun to falter, Richard’s connection to the kind couple has transformed from awkward affection to dangerous obsession. The Graves find themselves in a battle of life and death to reclaim their freedom from their now unwanted house guest.

I’m assuming the fact that Crawlspace was a 1972 TV movie has something to do with its bare bones DVD release. You get the 74-minute full-screen feature, a scene selection menu, and a few long pauses where commercials used to play, but seriously if it wasn’t for the DVD being released, this effectively unsettling film would have remained an all but lost memory for the fans of 70’s horror and a whole new generation of horror hounds would never have known it existed.

Special Features

  • Interactive menus!

    3 1/2 out of 5


    2 out of 5

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    Jon Condit

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