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Film: The Keep
The Keep is a 1983 horror film based on the first novel in the Adversary Cycle by F. Paul Wilson. It concerns a group of German soldiers sent to guard a mountain pass in Romania, who accidentally unleash an ancient evil being from within the story's titular citadel. The dreaded SS Einsatzkommando are sent in but have little luck, and, ultimately, the Germans are forced to seek the help of a Jewish history professor, Theodore Cuza, who unsurprisingly ends up allying himself with the evil entity because he sees him as a means of ridding the world of Nazism. In the meantime, a mysterious stranger with some connection to the keep shows up, determined to interfere with whatever it is Molasar's got cooking. In the meantime he naturally falls for Prof. Cuza's hot daughter, Eva.

The Keep is a very strange and confusing - but not entirely bad - film. It was directed by Michael Mann and was typical of Mann's directorial style. It featured an impressive cast and some good special effects, but studio-enforced editing gutted the film and the untimely death of special effects supervisor Wally Veevers necessitated a completely different ending. The Keep bombed, and bombed hard. Nevertheless, it has gained a cult following in the ensuing years, thanks mostly to its soundtrack, but also due to its interpretation of Molasar, as well as the rare mix of Gothic Horror with World War II.


This film contains examples of:

  • All Germans Are Nazis: Subverted in a big way with Klaus Woermann, who initially appears to be a stereotypical Nazi in his first scene. However, he aims to have good relations with the Romanian civilians, and looks down his nose at the SS.
    Woermann: [after being accused of incompetence] My competence was proven in combat, against soldiers who shoot back!
  • Bad Ass Decay: A bit of a tossup. In the novel Glaeken murders a boat captain who betrays him and also kills two Romanian soldiers, but doesn't fight back against the Einsatzkommando and gets taken out like a punk. In the film, the captain never betrays him and he merely bullies his way past the Romanians, but the movie makes up for this by letting him openly resist the Einsatzkommando in a big way and kill one of them.
  • Body Horror: Molasar's victims are either disintegrated entirely or left burned and charred after encountering him.
  • Canon Foreigner: Father Fonescu.
  • Death by Adaptation: Glaeken, at least in the theatrical cut with the truncated Downer Ending.
    • Simultaneously averted in that the scene where Alexandru (who otherwise just sort of disappears from the story) is murdered by his own sons was cut.
  • Elite Mooks: The Einsatzkommando.
  • Enemy Of My Enemy: Molasar convinces Cuza they have a common enemy. That, or Cuza just assumes it and Molasar plays along to gain his trust. In either case he's lying outright and is worse than the Nazis.
  • A Father to His Men: Woermann seems to be this, since he tells his men exactly what they want to hear (for example, when Oster laments that they should be Russia for the final assault on Moscow, Woermann tells him that by the time he puts n for a transfer, they'll be Masters of the World) but he doesn't really believe in the party rhetoric, is anti-Fascist, and hates the SS. He still does his job anyway.
  • Mook Horror Show: First the German soldiers experience this, and it's possible to feel sorry for them as Molasar devours his way through their ranks, seeing as there is effort put into making them seem human. Then the SS Einsatzkommando are brought in, and it's difficult not to cheer for the monster.
  • Railing Kill: Done to one of the Einsatzkommando by Glaeken, in gloriously silly slo-mo.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
  • Spared by the Adaptation: It's heavily implied Cuza dies in the novel, but the movie lets him survive, albeit returned to his aged, decrepit state. Similarly, in the novel Glaeken kills the two Romanian border guards but in the movie he just intimidates them into getting out of his way.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Invoked in-universe. When a drunken Woermann criticizes the SS' ruthless practice of murdering civilians, Kaempffer asks quite pointedly when Woermann has done more than talk, and actually risked himself to try and stop it, accusing him of talking big but never acting. Woermann admits Kaempffer is right.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Lutz. After being expressly forbidden by Captain Woermann from futzing with the crosses in the keep, he and another soldier attempt to pry one loose from the wall the minute they're alone, with predictable results.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Radu Molasar.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Kaempffer and his SS bully boys.
  • You! Exclamation: Done by Molasar in reaction to Glaeken's return.
  • Your Head A Splode: The two Einsatzkommandos who try to rape Eva have this done to them by Molasar.

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HumongousFilms of the 1980sThe Last Unicorn

alternative title(s): The Keep
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