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The Keeper (1976)

R | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 1976 (Canada)
The Keeper of Underwood Asylum has the mental patients of the wealthiest families in British Columbia. The rest of the family members have been dying under mysterious circumstances, so ... See full summary »


T.Y. Drake


David Curnick (based on a story by), Donald Wilson (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Lee ... The Keeper
Tell Schreiber Tell Schreiber ... Dick Driver
Sally Drake Sally Drake ... Mae B. Jones (as Sally Gray)
Ross Vezarian Ross Vezarian ... Inspector Clarke
Ian Tracey ... The Kid
Bing Jensen Bing Jensen ... Danny
Jack Leavy Jack Leavy ... The Biggs Twins (as Jack)
Leo Leavy Leo Leavy ... The Biggs Twins
Malcolm Britton Malcolm Britton ... The Homicide Squad
Michael Meade Michael Meade ... The Homicide Squad
Burke Lundy Burke Lundy ... The Homicide Squad
David Engleman David Engleman ... The Inmates
Wendy Who Wendy Who ... The Inmates
Victor Mallia Victor Mallia ... The Inmates
Laura Thaw Laura Thaw ... The Inmates


The Keeper of Underwood Asylum has the mental patients of the wealthiest families in British Columbia. The rest of the family members have been dying under mysterious circumstances, so Biggs hires private investigator Richard Driver, who puts his assistant, Maybelline, in the asylum pretending she is his cousin and that they came from a family where the parents were all first cousins to each other and they decided to keep their love platonic for genetic reasons. Then he tries to get Inspector Clarke to check him in as a narcoleptic who didn't wake up with his body. They all know what the keeper has been doing, but it is a matter of proving it, and avoiding the hypnotized Biggs twins and Danny, who he is able to keep catatonic with his machine. Inspector Clarke gives driver a lot of trouble, and the kid giving shoe shines looks down on everybody, knowing more. Written by Scott Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Christopher Lee, master of the macabre, takes you and his patients to the brink of insanity.


Drama | Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1976 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Folie controlée See more »


Box Office


CAD 135,000 (estimated)
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Crazy Credits

"Mr. Gray's Street Ensemble--The Good Time Shop" (Gray is the leading actress) See more »

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User Reviews

THE KEEPER (T.Y. Drake, 1976) *1/2
29 July 2015 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I do not know what it was with Christopher Lee during the mid-1970s, but he seemed to accept pretty much every script that came his way in an attempt to obtain for himself some kind of Guinness World Record for movie roles played (which he probably holds anyway)!; with this in mind, a sizeable amount of titles from his extensive career remain obscure to this day and, having watched a few of them already in my ongoing tribute to him, I regret to say that this status is justified certainly for the majority emanating from this vintage (with only ALBINO {1976} emerging thus far as being undeservedly forgotten).

This Canadian thriller (erroneously considered horror by some sources but, then, this would often prove the case with this particular genre icon) is a genuine dud, and one really has to strain to determine just what could have attracted the star to become involved!; it may have been the fact that he plays a cripple, but his condition is never explained and has no bearing whatsoever on the plot, or perhaps the notion that he can control minds by way of hypnosis – but the sessions conducted are downright laughable, with himself adopting a perfectly idiotic diabolical countenance throughout! Anyway, he plays the head of an insane asylum but insists on being referred to as "keeper": it transpires that his patients (one of whom turns out to be a "sympathetic" twin with another, shady character within the narrative) are all well-to-do and that their relatives – in line to inherit them – are being eliminated; since this would make Lee the eventual beneficiary of their fortune, a cop has been infiltrated into the establishment to investigate…but he too has been virtually reduced to a puppet in the master's hands!

Incidentally, this is given a period setting – complete with trenchcoat-sporting detective hero (though far removed from the hard-boiled prototype) and a resourceful shoeshine boy – but, since there was no concerted attempt at sustaining mood, the option was no more than a randomly-deployed gimmick! However, perhaps the most head-scratching decision here was to make the inevitable Police Inspector – first clashing with, then abetting – the protagonist a highly-strung and accident-prone buffoon, obviously intended to supply comedy relief but only serving a litany of cringe-inducing antics one would think hard before including even in an outright slapstick comedy! I am afraid THE CRAPPER would have been an equally appropriate moniker…

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