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The Keep (1983)

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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:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Satans borg See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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

Shot over a period of thirteen weeks. Being a troubled production, additional re-shoots were required after the initial shoot, meaning the full production period was twenty-two weeks. See more »

Goofs

Not only are the black SS uniforms incorrect, as they were never worn in the field and were replaced by the army field-gray in 1939, but the SS men wear them with black ties on brown shirts. The brown shirt, which symbolized the SS as part of the SA, was discarded in 1934 after the Night of the Long Knives and replaced with a white shirt with the black uniform. 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

Some television versions include additional footage after the original downbeat ending, showing Eva Cuza (Alberta Watson) turn around, entering the Keep and finding the body of Glaecen (Scott Glenn), dead after the final battle with Molasar. Eva hugs Glaeken, who is revived by the power of her love. See more »

Connections

References The Golem (1915) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking In The Air
(a.k.a. "Theme From The Snowman")
Composed by Howard Blake
Rearranged and Performed by Tangerine Dream
Copyright Highbridge Music 1982
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Utter madness
17 May 2010 | by AylmerSee all my reviews

To call this film an oddity or a curiosity piece is a bit of an understatement. Actually if you look at this, there's already a lot of reviews here, so strangely enough this film is not as forgotten as its ashamed director would like it to be.

THE KEEP starts out extremely well with a spellbindingly dreamlike and somewhat pretentious sequence with the Germans rolling into a small Romanian hamlet during WW2. Things remain interesting as long as the film keeps up the bizarreness and borderline out-of-place Tangerine Dream synthesizer music. However, things get silly when it turns out that the Germans have unwittingly raised a demon from a thousand year slumber who goes on a slow killing spree while fallen angel Scott Glenn works his way back there to save the earth. Things rapidly unravel as the promising setup settles into a plot which manages the amazing task of becoming nonsensical and routine simultaneously!

A few things guarantee though that this imperfect film will forever have my attention. For one, it actually does a decent job of melding the horror and war genres and gives a brief glimpse of the completely ignored Romanian complicity in World War 2. It actually interestingly manages to give the German soldiers some characterization as well. Another thing this film has going for it is Michael Mann's completely OCD touch to the whole thing which oddly suits the subject matter.

Not to mention the inspired casting; Jurgen Prochnow shines in his first major English-language role as a conflicted Wehrmacht captain matched by a cold and calculating Gabriel Byrne as his closed-minded S.S. superior. Scott Glenn and Alberta Watson do about as much as they can with their very underwritten protagonal characters and Ian McKellen hams things up considerably as a Jewish professor who tries to maneuver the demon into destroying the Germans for him.

Actually, come to think of it, this film would have done just fine without Glenn or Watson - they seem only to exist to sidetrack the film into romantic drama territory which adds nothing. Much more interesting is McKellen's inner conflict and the exchanges between Prochnow and Byrne. Things seem awfully rushed at the film's last act considering the slow pace through most of the film, but that may be more the work of studio meddling than anything.

Definitely worth picking up if you're into cinematic curiosities. Fits right in with THE SOLDIER and THIEF if you're looking for early 80's murky drama accompanied by Tangerine Dream, Alberta Watson, and Robert Prosky.


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