The Keep (1983)

R  |   |  Horror  |  16 December 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 7,744 users   Metascore: 14/100
Reviews: 172 user | 69 critic | 5 from

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



(novel), (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eva Cuza
Father Fonescu
Alexandru (as Morgan Sheppard)
Royston Tickner ...
Radu Molasar
Phillip Joseph ...
John Vine ...
Jona Jones ...
Wolf Kahler ...
S.S. Adjutant
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Border Guard 1


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 | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nazi | romanian | ss | partisan | evil | See All (135) »


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.




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 December 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Satans borg  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Michael Mann's original cut of the film ran three and a half hours. See more »


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 »


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

The Keep Production Pays Tribute To Wally Veevers See more »


(from the Mass for Four Voices by Thomas Tallis)
Arranged by Tangerine Dream
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Best Entity ever committed to celluloid
4 July 2012 | by (Novelist of The Final Version) – See all my reviews

A few of a detachment of German Army soldiers are mysteriously murdered in a Romanian citadel - 1942. The SS arrives to investigate and put a stop to the killings. However, there is an evil force at work within the Keep which will do anything to escape.

The Keep is a high concept yarn. The initial find set up and shooting of the villagers are stand out moments. The visuals and effects are stylistic, strong lighting, wind machines, optical layers are very much of there day. The special make-up has a startling 'cool' look to it, the 'Molasar' and Trismegestus designs are particularly well executed. Notably are the cast which includes the likes of Gabriel Byrne and Robert Prosky. Jürgen Prochnow is on fine form as Captain Klaus Woermann, Scott Glenn is intense and Ian McKellen is memorable as Dr. Theodore Cuza. The sets are well crafted, the on location shoot adds credence to the WWII setting and costumes add to the believability.

Nevertheless, rather than being intriguing with a slow pace The Keep plods along without building any real tension or suspense. The editing is a little jumbled, it appears to be a mixture of good and bad takes leaving it somewhat disjointed especially in the final reel, it may have benefited from only using those 'good' takes with a shorter running time. Tangerine Dream's score is of its time but doesn't compliment the scenes, it's highly intrusive and takes away much of the atmosphere, subtlety and eeriness.

Even with director Michael Mann at the helm and given the excellent story based on F. Paul Wilson's novel and Mann's adequate screenplay it never gels together. It's not sure whether it wants to be an art house, MTV video piece or gritty supernatural. Should Mann had attempted this recently he may have been able to fuse it together satisfyingly. I suppose retrospect is a fine thing. Curiously, Mann's workprint ran for 3 hours, after the studio saw what he had they wanted it cut to no longer than 90 minutes and assigned it second-level advertising. Mann has since distanced himself from the film.

Through all its disjointedness The Keep is an interesting film with a strong mythical good versus evil theme that plays on old religious fables. Molasar (Michael Carter) is the most menacing evil entity/being ever committed to celluloid and it's a shame that this has fallen into obscurity robbing the character and The Keep of even cult status.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
now on itunes but... peterpulp-1
What if they fixed the music? jloehrlein
Mann needs to emulate Friedkin to get The Keep released Bunuel_Fassbinder_Pasolini
Widescreen version of THE KEEP is no longer streaming on Netflix.. :( Zbranek001
UK fans - showing on Film4 soon (December 2012) Speednik Abreaction
this movie is easily Top 10 Best Movies of ALL time...... user-971-989764
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