Bad Movie Logo
"A website to the detriment of good film"
Custom Search
HOMEB-MOVIE REVIEWSREADER REVIEWSFORUMINTERVIEWSUPDATESABOUT
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
November 26, 2014, 06:18:36 AM
538158 Posts in 40743 Topics by 5131 Members
Latest Member: mmadplumamoham
Badmovies.org Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Movie Reviews  |  The Keep « previous next »
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: The Keep  (Read 3476 times)
akiratubo
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 415
Posts: 3396



« on: December 08, 2006, 09:21:53 AM »

Overview
During the late stages of WWII, some German soldiers occupy a keep in Romania overlooking a potentially vulnerable pass.  Much is made of the keep's odd design and the nickel crosses set into its walls.  The crosses are very odd, they certainly aren't Christian crucifixes.

One night, the most unfortunate soldier in the German Army discovers that one of the crosses isn't nickel, it's silver.  He recruits the second most unfortunate soldier in the German Army to help him pry the cross out of the stone block into which it is set.  They end up pulling the whole damn block out of the wall, revealing a crawlspace.  MUS decides the passage leads to a treasure room and goes to investigate while SMUS holds his lifeline.  MUS discovers a room but it sure isn't a treasure room.  It's so big it's almost impossible to imagine medieval humans being able to carve it out of the mountain on which the keep sits.  At the bottom, which must be hundreds of feet below, rests a curious arrangement of stone pillars.  Something which looks like a glowing cloud whooshes out of the blackness and ascends toward MUS.

SMUS feels a tug on MUS's lifeline and hastily reels him out.  I won't spoil the best shock in the whole movie, but there's a reason I've designated these guys the most and second most unfortunate soldiers in the German Army.

In Spain, a man with glowing eyes awakens and sets out on a journey to the keep ...

The Bad
The part of the movie I've gone over up there is the only part of the movie you really need to see.  The first act of this movie represents horror filmmaking of the highest order, seriously.  Michael Mann et. al. should be proud of crafting it.  However, the fact that the best part of the movie is the first act is a serious problem.  It wouldn't be so serious if the second and third acts weren't such a mess.

The Keep bears all the signs of being desperately edited at the last minute.  Test audiences didn't like this scene?  Cut it out and throw that sucker in the trash!  Scenes, time, plot points, and even a few individual shots jump around willy-nilly, particularly the romance between the mysterious man from Spain -- and I know his name is Glaeken only because I've read the source novel -- and the nominal female lead is so rushed it's almost comical.  How rushed?  They meet.  He asks her questions about what she's doing there.  She asks him what he's doing there.  Then they're making extremely art-directed love.

All that editing completely loses the plot of the movie.  As I mentioned above, if I hadn't read the source novel, I wouldn't have any idea what was going on, I wouldn't know the names of the man from Spain or the being released from that large room, and I certainly wouldn't be able to interpret the, er, climax.

Why the monster (Rasalom is its name but you won't find that out from the movie) is dangerous, or even really evil, is never explained.  All we see him do is kill Nazis and promise to kill even more once he's able to leave the keep.  The only reasons we have to think Glaeken is the good guy and not Rasalom is that a)Glaeken says so and b)of the two of them, Rasalom is the monster.

The acting is also bad, and not in a good way.  When actors the caliber of Jurgen Prochnow and Gabriel Byrne can't sell their characters or dialogue, something's just wrong.  I can't tell if they were just doing what Mann told them to do or if they were left to their own devices and merely desperate, as confused as the audience.

The worst actor in this movie, however, is ... Ian McKellen.  McKellen plays Dr. Theodore Cuza, a Jewish historian who has studied the keep extensively and is recruited to unravel its mysteries.  To put it quite simply, McKellen sucks.  His vocal intonations, facial expressions, and body language are just bad.  McKellen's been in his share of bad movies, but I've never thought of him as part of the problem before.  Some of the blame can be put on Mann, because McKellen obviously has no idea what he's supposed to do in a few scenes, but the actor is simply not good in this movie.  It hurts to watch him.

With the plot a hopeless mess and the acting an almost total washout, the climax is the final nail in the coffin.  It's dull.  When two immortal superbeings who can shoot cartoon effects have a fight this boring, well ...

The Good
That first act.  It introduces most of the characters and sets up the plot perfectly.

Rasalom is handled quite well -- physically, at least.  It gradually reconstitutes itself from a cloud of smoke, to a glowing skeletal spectre, to a mass of muscle and tendons, and finally to the greatest Kamen Rider villain ever.  No, really, at all stages of its evolution, it looks exactly like a boss monster you'd see in an 80s henshin-hero show.  I didn't bother checking the credits for a Japanese connection but that was the vibe I was getting.  I could see Kamen Rider Black or one of the 80s Ultramen trading blows with this thing.

The final battle is full of cartoon effects, which I dearly love.  When Glaeken powers up his magic staff (it was a sword in the novel) the animation is really cool, also exactly like something you'd see in an 80s henshin-hero show.  The fact that the, er, battle that follows is lame is beside the point.

Whenever Rasalom shows up, the movie takes on the atmostphere of a nightmare.  Mann and co. manage to pull it off better in The Keep than most other movies attempting the same thing.

Alternate Version?
I first saw this movie way back when, on TV.  It had some of the missing expository footage, including a much better take on Glaeken explaining what he and Rasalom are and why Rasalom's so dangerous.  The final battle had a few more seconds of Glaeken fending off Rasalom's cartoon lightning attacks; still underwhelming but better than the theatrical version.  The ending also wasn't such a downer, and was closer to the novel, but I actually prefer the more depressing end.

Worth It?
Eh, not really.  Now, if Rasalom were actually created by a Japanese studio, and they brought him back with them and plopped him into a sentai or tokusatsu show where he belongs, that would be worth seeing.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2006, 09:29:18 AM by akiratubo » Logged

Kneel before Dr. Hell, the ruler of this world!
BoyScoutKevin
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 153
Posts: 3042


« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2006, 09:29:22 AM »

A film I have never seen, but have always wanted to see. If only for the cast, which includes Scott Glenn, Alberta Watson, Jurgen Prochnow, Robert Prosky, Gabriel Byrne, and Ian McKellan. And for the book, which I quite enjoyed. Though, much of what akiraturbo says in his review, has been said by other reviewers.
Logged
ulthar
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 324
Posts: 3833


I AM serious, and stop calling me Shirley


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2006, 09:41:57 AM »

I read the book many years ago and really enjoyed it.  Never saw the movie, though.  I'd always heard it was pretty terrible (and not in a fun way).
Logged

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Professor Hathaway:  I noticed you stopped stuttering.
Bodie:      I've been giving myself shock treatments.
Professor Hathaway: Up the voltage.

--Real Genius
peter johnson
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 107
Posts: 1490



« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2006, 11:05:04 PM »

Well, I did see the movie, and recall it fondly in spite of itself --
Now, I don't recall McKellan being that bad in it, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, as I haven't seen it since it came out on the big screen years ago.
I thought the misty, atmospheric photography was good --
I thought the whole pace and drama and musical drone of it all was good --
Also, you can tell that Scott Glenn is the good guy because you can see the scars where his Angel wings were cut off --
Also, he has sex in a Hindu fashion with his Dakini cohort in a way that only Hindu Avatar (BOARD TIE-IN!!!) good-guys can do -- yeah, he must be some sort of god-saviour, like Krshna, only blonde and white --
I also really enjoyed the conflict between the Wehrmacht and the SS -- this had actual parallels in history:  The Wehrmacht would come in and conquer a region, and be plain old soldiers, with all their flaws and virtures.  Then, the SS would follow along, and bring with them all the Nazi ideology and poisonous weirdness.
OT:  If the Germans had armed the Ukranians, insted of executing them, the modern day political map of Europe may have looked a tad different.
And, yes, this is one of those times when you just have to say, "The book was better", and leave it at that.
peter history/denny alternate
Logged

I have no idea what this means.
Dennis
Yes, it's true, absolutely true. I am a
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 224
Posts: 2173


I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?


« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2006, 01:25:38 AM »

Read the book and really liked it, saw the movie liked that too, but I also would say that a good story has once again been ruined by the movie maker.
Logged


Science claims that hydrogen, because there is so much of it, is the building block of the universe, I dispute this, there is plenty more stupidity, and that is the building block of the universe.  Frank Zappa
akiratubo
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 415
Posts: 3396



« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2006, 07:24:20 AM »

Also, you can tell that Scott Glenn is the good guy because you can see the scars where his Angel wings were cut off --
Also, he has sex in a Hindu fashion with his Dakini cohort in a way that only Hindu Avatar (BOARD TIE-IN!!!) good-guys can do -- yeah, he must be some sort of god-saviour, like Krshna, only blonde and white --And, yes, this is one of those times when you just have to say, "The book was better", and leave it at that.
peter history/denny alternate

I totally never noticed the scars.  I usually fast-forward through the love scene so I'll have to check that out.  That's also pretty cool about his love-making position being a clue to his role in the events.
Logged

Kneel before Dr. Hell, the ruler of this world!
Ed, Ego and Superego
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 273
Posts: 2817



« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2006, 02:24:43 PM »

I like both the book and movie for different reasons.  F. Paul Wilson is one of my favorite authors, and his Repairman Jack series is a great one... The Equalizer mixed with the X-files.  The Keep is a prequel to his whole universe of the Adversary.  BUt I'll stop here. 

This movie filled one of my two great adolescent film needs- Seeing a  "modern" army vs a supernatural force.  The idea of the Wehrmacht vs a vampire (for lack of a better word) was something  that spurred my imagination.  Maybe I like the idea more than the movie, who knows?

(The other need was a chainsaw duel (fillled by Motel Hell), for those who care.) 

Now, if I could just get a horror western under my belt, I'd be golden. 

But I digress, nice review.  It was a balanced and quite informative view of one of my favorite films.. 
-Ed
Logged

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes
Dennis
Yes, it's true, absolutely true. I am a
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema
****

Karma: 224
Posts: 2173


I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?


« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2006, 09:42:30 PM »


Now, if I could just get a horror western under my belt, I'd be golden. 


 I suggest, Billy the Kid Versus Dracula and The Beast of Hollow Mountain.
Logged


Science claims that hydrogen, because there is so much of it, is the building block of the universe, I dispute this, there is plenty more stupidity, and that is the building block of the universe.  Frank Zappa
Pages: [1]
Badmovies.org Forum  |  Information Exchange  |  Movie Reviews  |  The Keep « previous next »
    Jump to:  


    RSS Feed Subscribe Subscribe by RSS
    Email Subscribe Subscribe by Email


    Popular Articles
    How To Find A Bad Movie

    The Champions of Justice

    Plan 9 from Outer Space

    Manos, The Hands of Fate

    Podcast: Todd the Convenience Store Clerk

    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

    Dragonball: The Magic Begins

    Cool As Ice

    The Educational Archives: Driver's Ed

    Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

    Do you have a zombie plan?

    FROM THE BADMOVIES.ORG ARCHIVES
    ImageThe Giant Claw - Slime drop

    Earth is visited by a GIANT ANTIMATTER SPACE BUZZARD! Gawk at the amazingly bad bird puppet, or chuckle over the silly dialog. This is one of the greatest b-movies ever made.

    Lesson Learned:
    • Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo'sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

    Subscribe to Badmovies.org and get updates by email:

    HOME B-Movie Reviews Reader Reviews Forum Interviews TV Shows Advertising Information Sideshows Links Contact

    Badmovies.org is owned and operated by Andrew Borntreger. All original content is © 1998 - 2014 by its respective author(s). Image, video, and audio files are used in accordance with the Fair Use Law, and are property of the film copyright holders. You may freely link to any page (.html or .php) on this website, but reproduction in any other form must be authorized by the copyright holder.