Crawlspace (1972 film)

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Genre Horror
Written by Herbert Lieberman (novel)
Ernest Kinoy (teleplay)
Directed by John Newland
Buzz Kulik
Starring Tom Happer
Arthur Kennedy
Teresa Wright
Theme music composer Jerry Goldsmith
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Herbert Brodkin
Producer(s) Robert Berger
Production location(s) Norwich, Connecticut
Cinematography Urs Furrer
Editor(s) Carl Lerner
Len Saltzberg
Running time 74 minutes
Production company(s) Titus Productions
Distributor CBS
Original network CBS
Original release February 11, 1972

Crawlspace is a 1972 made-for-television horror film and thriller directed by John Newland and Buzz Kulik and produced by Herbert Brodkin and Robert Berger.[1] The movie starred Arthur Kennedy, Teresa Wright, and Tom Happer in the title roles of the movie and Ernest Kinoy wrote the screenplay. The movie aired on February 11, 1972[2] on CBS.[3]

Movie Origins[edit]

The movie is based on the novel "Crawlspace," written by Herbert Lieberman. The plot of the novel revolves around the relationship between an elderly couple, Albert and Alice Graves, and a young heating oil delivery man named Richard. When Richard comes by to refill their furnace, Alice invites the young man to stay for dinner. This innocent invitation proves to be a fateful decision for the Graves. The novel was published on January 1, 1971.[4][5]


Older couple Albert (Arthur Kennedy) and Alice (Teresa Wright) Graves have just moved from the city to a small upstate town to help Albert recover from a heart attack.

When they call to have their furnace serviced, the repair company sends a young man named Richard (Tom Happer) to the house. The couple takes an interest in Richard, so they invite him to stay for dinner, and Albert lends him a book on poetry after becoming aware of Richard’s interest in it. After Richard leaves, both Albert and Alice agree that it was out of character for them to extend themselves to someone they had just met.

When Albert later checks on the furnace, he discovers that Richard (who is not in the house at the time) has taken residence in the basement crawlspace. Albert and Alice, who have longed for a child of their own for years, take Richard in, but rather than moving to the main part of the house, he insists on staying in the crawlspace. Even after being warned by Sheriff Birge (Eugene Roche) about Richard and other young drifters like him, along with Richard running away during the sheriff’s visit, the couple continues to develop a close bond with him.

Sheriff Birge's suspicions however, are soon confirmed when Richard begins acting violently. He smashes up the town's general store after being harassed by some of the locals there, and has a violent outburst towards Albert and Alice when they go out of town for a couple of days, even though they had left Richard a note telling him when they would be coming back. Over time, Richard’s behavior becomes even more erratic, resulting with Albert and Alice wanting him to leave, which Richard refuses to do.

The film ends with violent and tragic confrontations resulting with the death of the general store clerk and apparently Albert from a heart attack, after shooting Richard in self-defense when he attacks Alice.


DVD release[edit]

Crawlspace was released on DVD on October 1, 2007 by Wild Eye Releasing.[2]


  1. ^ "Crawlspace (1972)". Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Crawlspace - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "The Museum of Broadcast Communications - Kinoy, Ernest (U.S. Writer)". Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "Crawlspace by Herbert Lieberman". Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  5. ^ "Crawlspace by Herbert Lieberman (1971): Hey Daddy-O, I Wanna Go Down to the Basement". Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "Full Cast: Crawlspace (1972 TV movie)". Retrieved November 18, 2014.

External links[edit]