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
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.
The writer of the original novel - F. Paul Wilson - was so unimpressed by Michael Mann's adaptation of his work that he wrote a short story called "Cuts", in which a writer puts a voodoo curse on a director who has mangled his work. See more »
The Einsatzkommondos of the SS always wore field grey Waffen-SS uniforms, not the black parade jacket with swastika armband as depicted in the film. See more »
The bad dreams of your keep are nursery rhymes in comparison.
It remains one of the most frustrating experiences for a Michael Mann fan to go through. The Keep is by definition a mixed bag, a collage of weirdness, tackiness and visual smarts that are great but in all honesty are in the wrong movie. It even boasts a cast of considerable talent, where Messrs Jürgen Prochnow, Scott Glenn, Ian McKellen and Gabriel Byrne lead off from the front. But the troubled production and numerous edits and cuts of the piece have left it as a scarred but fascinating oddity.
Based on F. Paul Wilson's novel of the same name, plot is set in World War II Romania. When members of the German army hole up at a Carpathian Castle, they get more than they ever could have bargained for when greed unleashes an evil demon upon all who dwell in the vicinity. In short order the German's are requested to seek out the aid of a Jewish historian (McKellen), who is freed from a death camp and hurried along to Carpathia to help the Nazis. Then there is the mysterious Glaeken Trismegestus (Glenn), a man of seriously scary eyes who is making a journey to the castle for the sake of humanity.
Now, there are a lot of reviews out there for The Keep, but since there are quite a few versions out there with different endings, it's difficult to know which one is being reviewed. But the over riding factor leans towards it being a mess of a movie. Wilson himself was greatly angered by the version he watched, which may well have been the original 3 hour plus cut? Calling it an incoherent monstrosity. This latest cut I saw was the "theatrical" version, complete with an extra "fan edit" ending, and I'm indebted to an on line friend and those "fans" who have given me the chance to see two endings that I hadn't seen before! Yet the one constant is Tangerine Dream's LSD inspired musical score!
Mann is early in his career here and trying his best to make something thematically potent and visually arresting, but it ultimately is done down by mixed ambitions and budget restrictions, where no amount of editing and fog machine usage can mask the problems. In fact it's now thought that Mann wasn't even directing come the second half of the movie?! It was an experience that would send him away from the big screen and into other work for the next few years. Thankfully for us Mann fans it proved to be a blessing in disguise, for he would return to make a serious mark on cinema from the director's chair. But with that still comes the disappointment that The Keep is not the thoughtful atmospheric classic that Mann envisaged when he started out to make it. 6/10
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