HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
Harakiri
Way to the Stars, The
Man Who Skied Down Everest, The
Bottoms Up!
   
 
Newest Articles
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
   
 
  Keep, The A complete abortion!
Year: 1983
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Scott Glenn, Alberta Watson, Jürgen Prochnow, Gabriel Byrne, Ian McKellen, Robert Prosky, William Morgan Sheppard, Royston Tickner
Genre: Horror, Action, WarBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 7 votes)
Review: It breaks my heart watching The Keep, it’s like seeing an aborted foetus writhing around on a petri dish. Based on F. Paul Wilson’s novel, it’s a film with such awesome potential, with its great premise and talented actors. This could have been a highly suspenseful horror underpinned with rich metaphor, but instead it falls apart after the first few scenes.

Set in WW2 Romania, a group of battle hardened Wehrmacht soldiers led by Captain Klaus Woermann (Jürgen Prochnow) are ordered to hold the strategic Dinu Pass in the Carpathian mountains. They enter an eerie settlement and decide to take up positions inside the ancient monolithic Keep that forms the heart of the village. The Keep’s guardian claims that the place is haunted and warns the soldiers not to touch any of the metallic crosses which adorn the stone walls. The troops laugh off such superstitions and go about setting up their base. Inevitably, two of the soldiers tamper with the crosses, releasing an evil spirit from an ancient crypt deep inside the Keep. The Spirit then sets about murdering the soldiers one by one. In the meantime a mysterious Greek man, Glaeken Trismegestus (Scott Glenn) senses that something is wrong and begins his journey towards the Keep.

Dismayed at the loss of his men, Woermann contacts his Headquarters and an elite unit of Einsatzkommandos, led by the fanatical Major Kaempffer (Gabriel Byrne), is dispatched to deal with the problem. Believing the culprits to be Romanian partisans, Kaempffer’s SS troopers begin executing the locals, drawing disapproval from the mild-mannered Woermann. In desperation, the local priest (Robert Prosky) suggests that they invest the help of crippled historian Dr Theodore Cuza (Ian McKellen) and his daughter Eva (Alberta Watson), two Romanian Jews who are brought from an internment camp to the Keep in order to decipher the ancient markings found on its walls. The spirit saves Eva from being raped by Kaempffer’s troops and convinces Cuza that it is a force for good, capable of ridding the world of the scourge of Nazism. The spirit restores Cuzas health and requests that he take a talisman out of the Keep which will release the Spirit and allow it to continue the fight against the Nazis. With each victim the Spirit gains strength and its evil begins to spread to the surrounding village. Tensions mount between Woermann and Kaempffer and the mysterious stranger, who seems to hold all the answers, approaches for a final showdown.

Though a semi-coherent synopsis can be gleaned from The Keep, the film is a complete mess. This is largely due to its troubled production; over schedule and over budget, Paramount took the film away from Michael Mann with less than two-thirds of the thing shot. This is reflected by the general deterioration of the film after the first third, which showed some good promise with an atmospheric and suspenseful progression (the highlights of the film are Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack and the tracking shot through the endless dark of the crypt) and there is meticulous attention to detail in the soldiers’ uniforms. From there, the studio strategy was to hack together something to shove into theatres to recoup some cash, this results in some bargain basement effects with a monster that looks like a skinless Arnold Schwarzenegger being defeated by a silver Maglite. Even though it was filmed in Wales, more could have been made of the set (craftily splicing in some stock footage would have reinforced the mountain setting). Instead reams of footage seem to have gone missing with central characters such as Woermann disappearing for most of the film. Its almost as if the plot is passed round the characters like a relay baton.

But through all of this there are glimpses of what could have been, a brief discussion between the feuding Woermann and Kaempffer looks at the dynamics of German military units and the emotional attraction of fascism, while Molesar’s revelation to Kaempffer that ‘I come from you’ hints at the true source of evil. It is the corrupt nature of those inside the Keep that facilitates Molesar’s (and therefore evil’s) very existence, in the same way that a corrupt world facilitated Hitler’s rise to power, but this is lost amongst the disrespectful editing and appalling effects.

Because of the film’s troubled production, there are at least three different versions of The Keep that pop up on either video, cable or terrestrial, each with an equally mysterious ending which suggests that somewhere in the studio vaults there is some semblance of a complete and coherent film.
Reviewer: Phil Michaels

 

This review has been viewed 12251 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Mann  (1943 - )

American writer/director whose flashy, dramatic style has made for considerable commerical success on the big and small screen. After writing for television during the late 70s, he made his debut with the thriller Thief. The Keep was a failed horror adaptation, but Mann's TV cop show Miami Vice was a massive international success, while 1986's Manhunter, based on Thomas Harris's Red Dragon, was one of the decade's best thrillers.

Last of the Mohicans was a rip-roaring period adventure, Heat a dynamic if overlong cops 'n' robbers story, and The Insider a gripping real-life conspiracy thriller. 2002's Ali, Mann's much-touted biography of the legendary boxer, was a bit of an anti-climax, but as ever, stylishly rendered. Mann's next film was the thriller Collateral, starring Tom Cruise as a ruthless contract killer, and his big screen updating of Miami Vice divided opinion, as did his vintage gangster recreation Public Enemies. His cyber-thriller Blackhat was a resounding flop.

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: