Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Keep

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Year:1983
Country of origin:UK
Director:Michael Mann
Genre:Nazi castle horror
Starring:Scott Glenn, J├╝rgen Prochnow, Alberta Watson, Ian McKellen, Gabriel Byrne
Rating:5/5
IMDB link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085780/
Tagline: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.
Favourite line:"Obey me! Or I will return you to the diseased state I found you in!"

Michael Mann, a director more noted for tense crime thrillers (Manhunter, Heat) here takes an early stab at the horror genre.
Based on a very good book by F. Paul Wilson, this sparked some controversy upon it’s release in the UK, mainly due to the inclusion of Nazi characters, though why escapes me as they are far from sympathetic portrayals.

The plot:
A group of Nazi's roll into a small Romanian village and hole up in an old fortress known locally as The Keep.
Their leader notices something strange: the internal walls are thicker than the external walls, almost as if the building were designed not to keep people out, but to keep something in.
Muhahahaha.
Inevitably, an attempt to pilfer The Keeps silver ends up with The Evil Presence known as Molasar being unleashed, and the slaughtering fun begins.

So far, so hokey, but this is a cut above most horror movies of its type, as weaved into the storyline is much focus on the rampant paranoia of the Nazi forces, and their inhumane treatment of the Romanian villagers whom they are blaming for their soldiers deaths.
As the regular German soldiers come head to head with the elite of the S.S. a power struggle ensues, but there can surely only be one winner.
Simultaneously, a Jewish professor is extracted from a prisoner of war camp to decipher mysterious writings that have appeared on the wall of The Keep, along with his daughter, causing even more friction among the Nazi ranks.
Far from your average horror fodder.
With a quality director at the helm and a first rate cast, all things considered this is a superior slice of terror.
Superbly atmospheric, making excellent use of mist and smoke to create some simply stunning visuals, this is just excellent all round.
A must watch for horror fiends.

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