[Podcast] The Keep (1983) – Episode 107 – Decades Of Horror 1980s

“Obey me! Or I will return you to the diseased state I found you in… and then I will slay BOTH of you!” Radu Molasar (Michael Carter) warns Dr. Theodore Cuza (Ian McKellan) not to question his judgement. Or else! Why he’s suggesting he’s going to return him to his earlier state and then kill him instead of just doing the latter is up for debate. One of many things that will make you scratch your head in The Keep. With a troubled production and relative obscurity, The Keep isn’t that fondly looked upon. In fact, there’s only one true fan of The Keep… and he’s on this podcast.

Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 107 – The Keep (1983)

The Keep came out in 1983 to little fanfare. It had a troubled production. This included excessive reshoots, the lead special effects designer dying and director/writer Michael Mann’s vision being compromised from a three and a half hour cut to just ninety six minutes. The results are a rather convoluted mess of storylines. At the centered are a group of Nazis (lead by Jürgen Prochnow) overtaking a citadel in Romania known as The Keep. These Nazis take a Jewish historian (McKellan) out of a concentration camp to decipher ancient writings, who discovers a golem-like creature the citadel is keeping at bay. Meanwhile, some dude named Glaeken (Scott Glenn) has laser eyes and wants to destroy the golem… because. That’s about as much plot as can be described for The Keep. The choppy editing and awful VHS quality transfer for the only copy available on streaming platforms (and not on DVD or Blu-Ray) can hardly be determined.

So in order to make any sense out of The Keep, Doc Rotten, Christopher G. Moore and Thomas Mariani seek the guidance of Santos Ellin Jr. He’s been a fan of Michael Mann’s film since he first saw it in a not-so-crowded theater. He describes the mastery of Mann’s direction, the unique production design and just how awesome that Tangerine Dream score was. At least, in the original form, since it’s not available on the crappy transfer due to music rights. Everyone else isn’t quite as impressed. Thomas appreciates the vision, but thinks the only version that’s available doesn’t do it justice. Christopher thinks it should be imprisoned for all time in a citadel all its own. Doc is just flat out confused. It’s an elaborate discussion that makes us wonder about what could have been. Is The Keep a keeper or should it be locked away? Listen to find out for sure!

We want to hear from you – the coolest, most gruesome fans:  leave us a message or leave a comment on the site or email the Decades of Horror 1980s podcast hosts at thomasmariani@decadesofhorror.com or docrotten@decadesofhorror.com.

Doc Rotten
Editor-In-Chief / Founder / Podcast Producer at Horror News Radio
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior.

Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.
  • Christopher G. Moore has no heart and no soul. Santos is right on the money and then some. It’s not the horror film that it could have been, and truth to tell the people making it ensured that it never would be because they weren’t stylistically right for the book’s story. However, this is one of the truly great so bad it’s amazing films. It transcends its failings and becomes something spellbinding and amazing to watch. It’s like that one insane, lucid dream we all have that makes no sense at all, but we still find ourselves wanting to return to it.

    It’s one of the great crimes against humanity that you can get stuff like Manos, Deathbed, Pink Lady and Jeff, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy on four or more home entertainment formats but this film can’t get a quality DVD or Blu-Ray release.

  • Reading the book first is best.

  • john may

    It’s not horrible. It’s all about the atmosphere. It has some good art direction and some creepy visuals. Yeah, Scott Glenn sucks in this, the story is a little wonky and the creature ends up looking goofy. They should have followed the “do not show the creature” advice until the very end and made it into more of a haunted house flick. Hey, the smoke works and they did not need to show the creature to have it speak to someone….hopefully in a less Superhero Villain Voice…….. :(). You have to admit, it almost works well until Skeletor shows up. There was another movie called “The Bunker” that was inspired by this idea, it was pretty decent from what I remember.