The Keep (1983 film)

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Still from The Keep (1983 film)...


Nazis occupying a strange fortress are forced to turn to an insubordinate Romanian officer, a Jewish historian and his daughter, and an unearthly stranger for help in battling the ancient evil they have inadvertently freed from its prison.

"THEY WERE ALL DRAWN TO THE KEEP. The soldiers who brought death. The father and daughter fighting for life. The people who have always feared it. And the one man who knows its secret... THE KEEP Tonight, they will all face the evil."


  • Release Date: 1983
  • Country/Language: USA/UK, English
  • Genres/Technical: Fantasy, Horror, War (weird world war)
  • Setting: 1930s or 1940s Romania
  • Runtime: 1 hr 36 min
  • Starring: Scott Glenn, Ian McKellen, Alberta Watson
  • Director: Michael Mann
  • Writer: F. Paul Wilson (novel), Michael Mann (screenplay)
  • Producer/Production Co: Paramount Pictures
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • TVTropes page: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: R (Violence, Adult Content, Nudity and Sexual Situations, Profanity)

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

The setting is a strange and possibly pre-human fortress in the remote Romanian wilderness, set up as a barrier against an ancient an inhuman malevolent entity; when the entity is released from its prison, a conflicting group of humans find themselves caught between a "blue-vs.-orange" moral conflict between the entity, and a mysterious stranger.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • Justin at Adventures in Celluloid, (link) - "...One of the most frustrating horror films I have seen so far in my life...."
  • Richard Scheib at the Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (2/5 Stars) (link) - "As a film, The Keep feels torn between two camps. It feels like it is stuck aground unable to find a common place between the stylish arthouse chic of director Michael Mann and the pulp horror elements of F. Paul Wilson’s novel. ... What we end up with is another case of filmmakers with artistic pretensions being afraid of horror..."


 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

Nazis are forced to turn to an insubordinate Romanian officer, a Jewish historian, and a mysterious stranger for help in battling the ancient demon they have inadvertently freed from its prison.


Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • "In the source novel by F Paul Wilson the Germans find a secret library containing The Necronomicon and several other Cthulhoid works...." Mr_Lin

Associated Mythos Elements

  • Artefact: vaguely cross-shaped symbols equivalent to "Elder Signs" in their role in sealing "demonic" creatures inside the Keep
  • Location: The Keep
  • Setting: Weird World War

Keeper Notes