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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
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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

First film directed by Michael Mann to be shot in 2.35:1 widescreen ratio. All of his other feature films have since been shot in this aspect ratio. Mann explained this choice in a 1983 interview: "It's important to me for two rea­sons. One, because this is an expression­istic movie that intends to sweep its au­dience away - be very big, to have them transport themselves into this dream-re­ality so that they're in those landscapes, there with the characters. You can't sweep people away in 1:1,85 and mono. Also, I'm just not interested in 'pas­sive' filmmaking, in a film that's pre­cious and small and where it's up to the audience to bring themselves to the movie. I want to bombard an audience - a very active, aggressive type of se­duction. I want to manipulate an audi­ence's feelings for the same reasons that composers write symphonies." See more »

Goofs

The soldiers who remove the first cross are wearing 1941 Russian Winter Campaign medals in their button-holes, yet the film is set before this campaign took place. 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

The more upbeat ending showing Eva and Glaeken alive together is closer to the ending in the novel by F. Paul Wilson. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Scarlet Worm (2011) 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

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User Reviews

 
A "keep out" sign might have worked?
31 October 2006 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

A group of German soldiers led by Captain Klaus Woermann are sent to take guard at a Keep near a Romanian pass. One of the soldiers believes that a cross-embedded in the wall is made of silver and digs it out. Only to release an evil presence, known as Molasar. It knocks off a couple of soldiers every night. Sturmbahnfuhrer Kaempffer and his SS patrol arrive in town to stop the problem. They believe it's simply partisan activity, but they soon find out its far from it. So they get the help of a Jewish man, Dr Theodore Cuza (along with his daughter Eva) who knows a bit about this Keep. Meanwhile, a mysterious man, Glaeken Trismegatus is on his way to stop this evil.

Wow! But huh? Yeah, after spending a long time trying to see this hybrid movie. I finally got the chance and it was a very flawed, but reasonable effort by director / writer Michael Mann. I remember reading the quite interesting and extremely unique premise and being totally compelled by the idea of it. I guess not reading F. Paul Wilson's novel is a bittersweet thing, as I came in with very little expectations, but on the on other hand I was left clueless about certain disjointed sub- plots. Anyhow It's Mann's vision we got. The material is terribly mangled, jadedly rushed and comes across as pure pulp. However it's Mann's surreal direction, Alex Thomson's arresting photography and the moody electronic music score by Tangerine Dream that clicks in this atmospheric combination of fantasy, war and horror.

Sure, there was interference by the studio in the final product (with a a lot of scenes hitting the cutting room floor), but Mann seemed more preoccupied with his visuals than with the plot and characters. They became nothing more than forgettable background features. The storyline was all over the ship with forced details (like the creation of evil entity) and a script riddled with confusing holes. There's an odd assortment of performances. Those who stood out were the humane German captain played by Jurgen Prochnow and Gabriel Byrne as the tyrant SS officer. Alberta Watson as Eva felt awkward and Ian McKellen was fine. However Glenn Scott looked as if he was somewhere else in a very laboured role as Glaeken Trismegatus. An intriguing character that had VERY little to do and was hard to understand.

Visually there are plenty of potently dreamy images that spontaneously pop up. There's sharp craftsmanship in depicting certain sequences that just stick in your mind. Like when Byrne's character encounters Molasar. Worked into this is a very effective score that works the emotions thoroughly and creates a very out-of-this-world vibe. What captures this layout beautifully is Thomson's photography. His always in the right spot to get that impressive shot and original angle that just lingers on screen. The special effects is a big (if over-extended) light show that has style and the monster design can look a bit rubbery, but eventually the monster design by Nick Maley does come off. Mann knows how to stage a visually powerful scene, but if your looking for suspense. There are very few build-ups and little scares at all. The pace is slow, but the eerie setting holds up tightly and has a huge impact in the overall feel.

It isn't perfect, but it's a really unusual and hypnotic good vs. evil opus by Mann.


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