The Keep (film)

Infobox Film
name = The Keep

image_size =
caption =
director = Michael Mann
producer = Gene Kirkwood
Howard W. Koch Jr.
writer = Screenplay:
Michael Mann
F. Paul Wilson
narrator =
starring = Scott Glenn
Gabriel Byrne
Jürgen Prochnow
Ian McKellen
Alberta Watson
music = Tangerine Dream
cinematography = Alex Thomson
editing =
distributor = Paramount Pictures
released = December 16 1983
runtime = 96 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:27032
imdb_id = 0085780

"The Keep" is a 1983 horror film directed by Michael Mann and starring Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne, Jürgen Prochnow and Ian McKellen. It was released by Paramount Pictures. The story is based on the F. Paul Wilson novel of the same name, published in 1981 (1982 in the United Kingdom).

The video run time of 96 minutes is thought to be a studio-ordered cut against the wishes of Michael Mann. His cut of choice is speculated to be in the three to four hour range. Fact|date=February 2007

Wilson himself has expressed his distaste for the film version publicly, writing in the short story collection "The Barren (and Others)" that it is, "Visually intriguing, but otherwise utterly incomprehensible." Part of this criticism probably stems from a strangely truncated ending in which both Hero and Demon are drawn back through an inner wall of the Keep without any clear indication of whether at least one of them has survived. This was said to be the result of a deleted fight scene involving aerial sequences which could not be finished due to the sudden demise of a key special effects consultant. When talk of a DVD release of the film came about in 2004, Wilson and a friend recorded a caustic CD commentary to go along with it, which he teased to his official mailing list [ "The F File"] , although the CD appears to have never actually been released.

A board game based on the film was designed by James D. Griffin and published by Mayfair Games.


The film focuses on a deserted citadel (the "keep" of the title) in WWII Romania within which lives a dangerous demon named (Radu) Molasar. When the German Wehrmacht occupies the castle to control the Dinu Mountain Pass, the demon is unwittingly unleashed from within the innermost walls of the citadel by a pair of treasure-seeking soldiers and he gratefully albeit ferociously snacks on their life energy. A detachment of Einsatzkommandos then arrives to deal with what is thought to be partisan activity. The Einsatzkommandos' actions only fuel the demon's rage and soon more troops begin to die in mysterious, gruesome ways.

At the clever instigation of the local priest the Germans rescue a certain Jewish History Professor Cuza from the crematorium to decipher a mysterious message emblazoned on a wall of the Keep in an archaic Romanian or Slavonic dialect. Molasar serendipitously saves Eva Cuza from an equally opportunistic sexual assault by three German soldiers and then enlists the aid of her grateful father to escape from the Keep. One additional bonus to Professor Cuza is that he is cured of his debilitating scleroderma and therefore becomes doubly indebted to the malevolent entity. A mysterious stranger, however, then arrives to foil this plan. After a misguided and unsuccessful attempt by the professor to have the stranger stopped the two supernatural beings engage in a curiously perfunctory confrontation. The demon is weakened and drawn back into the innermost recesses and the hero then reluctantly allows himself to be pulled in as well.

The otherworldly stranger, identified by Eva Cuza as Glaeken "Trismaegistus" (Latin for "Three-Fold Master") then wakes up on the lowest level of the keep in one of the alternate film endings and notices he can see his reflection in a puddle of water. This indicates that, presumably due to the death of the demon with whom he was mystically linked, he has become an ordinary mortal man. It is Eva who has in fact discovered him there and revived him, and he is now free to live out the rest of his natural span with the woman who may very well be the first in a very long time to lavish her affections upon him.


*Scott Glenn as Glaeken Trismegestus
*Alberta Watson as Eva Cuza
*Jürgen Prochnow as Captain Klaus Woermann
*Robert Prosky as Father Fonescu
*Gabriel Byrne as SS Officer Sturmbannführer Kaempffer
*Ian McKellen as Dr. Theodore Cuza
*Morgan Sheppard as Alexandru
*Royston Tickner as Tomescu
*Michael Carter as Molasar

The score

The theme and incidental music was by Tangerine Dream. Although the soundtrack was eventually released in 1997, out of 16 tracks only three actually appeared in the film. [cite web |url= |title=The Keep |accessdate=2007-05-15 |author=Ranier Rutka |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |format= |work=The Tangerine Dream Database |publisher= |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]


External links

* ['s take on The Keep - including a complete set of colour Lobby Cards from 1983]
* [ A Keep website dedicated to getting a director's cut]
* [ Molasar's Homepage features pictures of the various endings of the film]

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