3 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 9 minutes
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In case Werner Herzog’s “My Best Fiend” didn’t quite satisfy your appetite for horror stories about the late Klaus Kinski, this short documentary by schlock director David Schmoeller (“Puppetmaster”, “The Arrival”) will serve nicely as an after-dinner mint. Schmoeller’s troubles began when Kinski, known for his monstrous behavior both on and off the screen, agreed to star in the director’s 1986 feature “Crawlspace.” The German actor’s on-set tantrums became so disruptive to the shoot (within the first three days of production he had started six fistfights) that the film’s producer decided to have the star killed “for the insurance money.” Cooler heads prevailed, but still the crew begged the director, day after day, “Please kill Mr. Kinski.” Telling his tale in dry, deadpan style from behind a desk, Schmoeller comes off as a cross between Spalding Gray and Mister Rogers. The problem is, he’s not quite as funny as he thinks. Fortunately, his monologue is intercut with footage of Kinski ranting and railing in stream-of-consciousness fashion. “Here’s what makes me allergic to directors,” he fumes at one point. “Telling me how to die! Were you already dead?” Even in death, it’s clear this one-of-a-kind actor leaves a lasting impression.

Posted on April 18, 2000 in Reviews by

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