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Buried deep within The Keep’s mysterious exterior lies that chilling Hollywood question: how do these dogs get made?

After his promising debut with The Thief, this is writer-director Michael Mann’s second feature [from a novel by F. Paul Wilson], testimony again to the one-step- forward, two-steps-back career theory.

Some Germans have arrived at a small Rumanian village, unaware and unafraid that the keep where they will be headquartered has an uneasy history. Their commander (Jurgen Prochnow) is a nice guy despite his job with the Wehrmacht and it’s hardly his fault that his troops are gradually being eaten alive and blown apart by an unseen force that moves smokily through the keep.

Professorial Ian McKellen is brought from a concentration camp to help solve the mystery, and brings his imminently assaultable daughter (Alberta Watson). While she’s being raped, the monster emerges from his fog and blows those bad guys apart, making a friend of her father.

Somewhere across the dark waters, all this commotion wakes up Scott Glenn, who sets out for the keep to make sure the monster doesn’t use the professor to get out.

The Keep


  • Production: Paramount. Director Michael Mann; Producer Gene Kirkwood, Howard W. Koch Jr; Screenplay Michael Mann; Camera Alex Thomson; Editor Dov Hoenig; Music Tangerine Dream; Art Director John Box
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 96 MIN.
  • With: Scott Glenn Alberta Watson Jurgen Prochnow Robert Prosky Gabriel Byrne Ian McKellen
  • Music By: