I’m Nick. I’ve watched more movies than most inmates have smoked cigarettes. I love them but I also tend to rewatch them weird. To appreciate the little things or learn through osmosis how the sausage is made. In an attempt to help you through your day and to possibly remind of you of movies you need to see or see again, witness my Weird Watching column. If you like it, share the article and like it and tweet it and all that bullshit. Or discuss it here. My first installment was A History of Violence. The second was Daybreakers.
The Film: The Keep (buy it from us in one of many formats)
The People: Michael Mann. Jürgen Prochnow. Scott Glenn. Gabriel Byrne. Ian McKellan.
The Premise: There’s this keep. It’s rude.
Warning: Spoilers and Dumb Commentary From Here Forward
0:42 – Nazi Font!
1:15 – When you’ve got Jürgen Prochnow, Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne, Ian McKellan you have a great assortment even in 2014. In 1983 not as much I guess.
1:19 – I forgot Tangerine Dream did the music. That style is coming back and you watch, a major film in the next five years is either going to use them or have someone totally rip them off. Research tells me the score I’m listening to isn’t the same score as the VHS tape I regrettably kept trying to enjoy in the 80’s.
5:47 – Romania in 1941 eh? Must have been a goddamn laugh a minute.
7:17 – The Germans thought they were the “Masters of the World”. Spoiler: They weren’t.
11:48 – Goddamn Robert Prosky looks like goddamn Poseidon in the goddamn Clash of the Titans remake.
13:26 – “Never touch the crosses!” What a buzzkill you are, haggard bearded mysterious man. If I were a goddamn Nazi and I sauntered into a keep loaded with metal crosses I’d go hog wild. Haggard bearded men have been ruining everyone’s fun since the bible.
13:34 – They just missed a great opportunity for an “Oh I’m not KEEPing you from anything am I?”
16:37 – Michael Mann is clearly having a blast with all these lens flares and light. He obviously wasn’t having a blast during the screenplay revision process.
19:57 – In the real estate listing the square footage of the keep’s interior reads as “all the square feet”. This place is huger than huge. You could fit an aircraft carrier or Carnie Wilson in this mud.
21:05 – HALF A SOLDIER ALERT!
21:50 – Well there’s ten seconds of fog being sucked into hole I’ll never have back in my life.
22:02 – I just saw a dummy hit a wall so hard. The 80’s was many things, but mostly the golden age of dummies being smashed into objects.
22:37 – Scott Fucking Glenn is here. And his eyes are glowing. Here’s an actor who wasted his Michael Mann movie too young. He’s built and has the blue collar skills to work perfectly in the director’s films. He’d had been aces in Heat or The Insider or Miami Vice.
24:00 – Scott Glenn’s trying to book it out of Greece to get the keep and the dude at the docks told him it was very expensive. Glenn then handed him a few coins and everything was hunky dory. What were the coins made out of, a lot more coins?
25:40 – There’s forty-five seconds of a boat. Thanks editor!
26:40 – OK, the SS has arrived at the keep and literally seconds after their arrival they’ve shot the living shit out of innocent villagers. I’m beginning to think the Nazi’s were assholes.
28:54 – Gabriel Byrne just rode his TANK right into the keep. The size of the keep’s entrance: Tank shape + 6 inches. PROOF.
30:59 – Pretty boring argument between people who are not friends of Jewish individuals.
32:02 – Gabriel Byrne’s yearbook prediction got it right. He makes a great looking Nazi.
32:38 – The day they taught accents was the day Robert Prosky decided to get a few cheese blintzes far from set.
33:46 – Here’s Ian McKellan in old age make-up which makes him look like… our current Ian McKellan!
35:54 – Scott Glenn used his eye powers to keep soldiers from bothering him. That just happened. Scott Glenn has magical eyes.
37:00 – All the soft focus they’re using on Jürgen Prochnow makes me wonder if Michael Mann thought he had the next Judy Garland on his hands in the pockmarked sub captain.
43:00 – What’s with all the hiss on the soundtrack? It’s sounds like one of my home movies.
45:10 – Smoke just broke up a rape and blew two guys apart at the heads. I did not make this up.
46:30 – This is actually beautifully executed. It’s just simple smoke machine being pumped out of a monster and then reversed but it’s really neat.
59:20 -This may be the shortest courtship before sex I’ve seen in a theater this side of Irreversible. Scott Glenn is hittin’ that after two lines of dialogue. That’s how 80’s Scott Glenn rocked it with his chiseled muscles, Silverado gossip stories, and electronic eyes.
1:00:29 – This sexual position they’re hammering into my eyes looks like a mixture of the Kama Sutra and Voltron.
1:01:00 – If you happen to be in the market for 80’s bush…
1:02:00 – The big reveal of The Keep‘s real star: An eight foot glowy-eyed musculature with a delicate speaking voice.
1:03:00 – Did Ian McKellan just convince an eternal being with unstoppable powers to kill Nazi’s? Impressionable chap! On my best day all I could do was convince it to pick up our lunch tab.
1:03:43 – I’d imagine the junket for this movie was all-time weird.
1:04:00 – If I had Hollywood Beyonder power I’d commission Michael Mann to remake this movie today with a $150,000,000 budget.
1:05:33 – Acting powerhouses unite! Robert Prosky and Sir Ian McKellan on one screen, TOGETHER. It’s why acting was invented.
1:06:22 – Odd moment! The timing of the cut and the awkward scream made it look like the horse was the one screaming. Amazing.
1:06:03 – I just figured it out. This is a horror movie!
1:07:49 – Scott Glenn is so monotone it hurts.
1:08:00 – Weird music!
1:13:00 – Nazi Rhetoric Alert!
1:16:34 – That’s a wrap for Mr. Prochnow. That guy owned Das Boot and is quite good here. Makes you wonder what kind of career he may have had if his face didn’t descend into a bowl of Rice Krispies and never return. Dude must’ve built a new wing at Clearasil HQ.
1:17:00 – Who’d have thought Gabriel Byrne would be so adept at a girlish scream? Ellen Barkin, that’s who.
1:18:40 – The Keep Monster is buff as fuck. I wonder if there’s some subterranean nautilus machine he’s on whenever the camera’s not on him.
1:20:00 – I believe that’s a wrap for Mr. Byrne. Sometimes you just shouldn’t be a Nazi.
1:21:00 – I don’t know how I feel about young Ian Mckellan. He’s too clean and fresh.
1:21:00 – Scott Glenn and his green blood isn’t done being in this movie! Falling off a cliff only irritates him!
1:21:27 – This was a special time for cinema. 1981-1984. The Thing. Blade Runner. The Keep. So much ambition. So little resource but still they managed to pull it off. And that is the last time anyone should mention The Keep in the same book as those films, let alone sentence.
1:23:73 – This musical cue was repetitious three minutes ago!
1:24:14 – Jesus Christ how ripped was 80’s Scott Glenn? It’s almost uncomfortable how ripped this man is. You know Mr. McKellan took notice. remember the scene during the training in The Right Stuff? His bicep deserved its own credit block.
1:26:00 – The Keep Monster lacks subtlety. He, being an ancient evil, should know when good time to coax a man into murdering his daughter is. If he’d had kept his mouth shut he’d have gotten his wish. Instead he gave straight 80’s McKellan a reason not to slay his spawn. Epic fail, Keep Monster.
1:26:44 – Ian yells at the Keep Monster! What are you, an idiot? Keep Monster don’t front.
1:28:00 – Scott Glenn vs. Keep Monster. Literally we’ve been waiting for this moment all our lives.
1:29:00 – Scott Glenn has a very Brian Thompson thing going on. That’s not an insult to me, just everyone else in the world.
1:29:59 – 80’s Effects Alert!
1:30:00 – What is Scott yielding, some kind of lightsaber soul hose?
1:30:46 – Tangerine Dream is hauling ass. Keyboards are being synthed at an astronomic rate!
1:31:19 – Super 80’s ending. The heroic figure suffers for their deed and joins the villain in some sort of purgatorial cosmic asshole. This feels like Michael Mann doing his best John Carpenter flick right about now.
1:32:00 – I wish this was a true story. I haven’t read the source novel but I love supernatural shenanigans ruining Nazi intentions.
1:33:06 – Freeze frame to end of the film. Of course there is.
The Keep used to be a movie I liked intentionally for all the wrong reasons knowing full and well that it was dogshit. Over the years it’s gotten kind of charming, becoming somewhat of an awkward arthouse horror flick that connects about 30% of the time. It’s actually rather ambitious and it carries a similar sense of dread to John Carpenter’s classic 80’s stuff. It has absolutely no emotional pulse and is colder than a witch’s butthole, and therefore ultimately a failure. That said, it’s kind of a neat little corner of Michael Mann’s filmography that shouldn’t be dismissed entirely.