5.7/10
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185 user 84 critic

The Keep (1983)

Trailer
2:29 | Trailer
Nazis are forced to turn to a Jewish historian for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison.

Director:

Michael Mann

Writers:

F. Paul Wilson (novel), Michael Mann (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Glenn ... Glaeken
Alberta Watson ... Eva Cuza
Jürgen Prochnow ... Woermann
Robert Prosky ... Father Fonescu
Gabriel Byrne ... Kaempffer
Ian McKellen ... Dr. Theodore Cuza
William Morgan Sheppard ... Alexandru (as Morgan Sheppard)
Royston Tickner Royston Tickner ... Tomescu
Michael Carter ... Radu Molasar
Phillip Joseph Phillip Joseph ... Oster
John Vine John Vine ... Lutz
Jona Jones Jona Jones ... Otto
Wolf Kahler ... S.S. Adjutant
Rosalie Crutchley ... Josefa
Frederick Warder ... Border Guard 1
Edit

Storyline

Nazis are sent to guard an old, mysterious fortress in a Romanian pass. One of them mistakenly releases an unknown force trapped within the walls. A mysterious stranger senses this from his home in Greece and travels to the keep to vanquish the force. As soldiers are killed, a Jewish man and his daughter (who are both knowledgeable of the keep) are brought in to find out what is happening. Written by Brian House

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

THEY WERE ALL DRAWN TO THE KEEP. The soldiers who brought death. The father and daughter fighting for life. The people who have always feared it. And the one man who knows its secret... THE KEEP Tonight, they will all face the evil.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Satans borg See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,032,295, 18 December 1983

Gross USA:

$4,218,594

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,218,594
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video) | (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was released two years after its source novel of the same name by F. Paul Wilson had been published. See more »

Goofs

The arm that Glaeken reaches out with to kiss Eva for the first time. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Captain Klaus Woermann: [to a soldier, looking at the Keep] Your new home. How do you like it ?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Keep Production Pays Tribute To Wally Veevers See more »

Alternate Versions

Another TV version features a different ending where Glaeken is seen carrying the dead Molasar in his arms in the inner chamber of the Keep. See more »

Connections

References The Golem (1920) See more »

Soundtracks

Gloria
(from the Mass for Four Voices by Thomas Tallis)
Arranged by Tangerine Dream
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

More than the sum of its parts
14 September 2004 | by kkutachSee all my reviews

Possibly this isn't Michael Mann's best - or even next to next to best - movie, but I make no apologies for liking it quite a lot. In fact, my chief complaint about this movie is that it has never been released on DVD so that the full texture and sense of this piece could be better experienced and appreciated. It is a travesty with all the tripe that leaps from the undergrossing screen to overblown DVD these days, that no studio has had the stones to release THE KEEP on DVD.

In a weird, connect the dots fashion, I consider this film to be a critical milestone in Mann's directorial evolution. In and of itself, this makes the film entirely watchable, if not "important". The movie should be indispensable to Mann's devotees, and I find it surprising that it is not. As much as Manhunter (one of my all time favorites) and Heat (right up there with them) are ranked by most as very good films, THE KEEP, if for no other reason than its novelty should be accorded more respect than it gets.

Read the other reviews here and you can more or less understand the story line. The salient facts are there. I differ on several points, however.

First, I don't consider THE KEEP to be a 'horror movie' or even sci-fi, although it certainly has elements of both. I have no recollection of how the film was billed when it opened in '83 (in fact, I didn't see it until it appeared on Showtime, significantly later), but if you are looking for a 'horror' or 'sci-fi' flick, THE KEEP will leave you short. It is more of a 'thriller' if you had to pigeon-hole it, but even that doesn't really work, and this is what I think what confuses many who have seen and subsequently slammed this movie. To those who want a nifty tight film with all the proper cinematic and artistic "T"s crossed and "I"s dotted, you won't find it here and you will be eternally frustrated. What you will find is a unique, visionary realization of an essentially often told story of conflict between ultimate good and ultimate evil, spun in an arguably overly symbolic context.

Second, much apparently has been said about the lameness of the sets and special effects and accents and soundtrack and costumes, etc etc. I can't ever know for sure, but I don't think that Mann, with all his individual sense of style (remember, his visions and realizations virtually defined a substantial part of the 80s -- whether you liked them or not) was all that concerned about the impact of the trappings, but more on what they allowed the story to play against. The interplay of color (or lack thereof), background, character and music all create an enjoyable tapestry, best viewed from several feet away. If you get hung up on the minutae of this film, you've lost the message. In my personal opinion, this isn't a movie that should be watched critically - because it will fail in many ways, as others have already observed. Rather, you should suspend not only your disbelief but your pretentiousness and just let the movie sort of flow around you. It's a bit like drift diving in Cozumel - the warm current moves you along to the degree that details can get lost and fuzzy, but you eventually realize that's what makes the experience different and wonderful.

The music certainly isn't appropriate to the period (1941 Nazi-occupied Romania) but then this isn't a period piece. Quite the contrary, the Tangerine Dream soundtrack adds to the gauzy, dreamlike quality which to me is what makes this movie so compelling and different. The acting isn't the best and in places, yes, the audio is pretty bad, but when considered as a whole, I believe the movie succeeds. My VHS copy of THE KEEP is now getting threadworn from overplay and I hope that someone, somewhere, will bring it out on DVD.

A strong 8 out of 10.


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