Friday, September 26, 2014

The Keep (1983)

The Keep distinguishes itself right out the gate with a cast that includes Ian McKellen, and a score by Tangerine Dream. The cinematography is very artistic, and the setting most foreboding. As the movie begins, a Nazi regiment tasked with guarding a mountain pass in Romania sets up camp inside an ancient keep, whose caretaker warns them of terrible nightmares that have driven out anyone who has previously attempted to spend the night. Just fifteen minutes into the movie, and I'm actually shivering with anticipation of what's to come.

And what follows is far from predictable. Rather than a conventional monster movie, this film evolves into more of an epic battle between good and evil. And while it appears at one point to be shaping up into a Nazi deathwish fulfillment fantasy, the movie has some secrets yet in store. The special effects are admittedly primitive, but the monster, such as it is, has an effectively unique (and imposing) appearance. The music, meanwhile, contributes to an almost Lynchian atmosphere. I consider The Keep to be an unexpected gem, and an example of the positive effect that creativity can have when it is not unduly restrained by adherence to formula, as seems to be a frequent problem with modern cinema.


  1. Wow, Ian McKellen *and* a favorable review? Gonna have to shoot this one to the top of my list. Though I generally avoid that decade.

  2. I was actually wondering to myself which of the two would be stronger: your hatred of movies from the '80s, or your love for Ian McKellen. :p

    FYI: the movie's only available on Netflix until Oct.1.