Monday, August 18, 2014

The Keep

Tonight, they will all be face-melted.

I finally sat down and watched Michael Mann's THE KEEP, based on the terrific book by F. Paul Wilson. I'm glad I did.

To be clear, the movie is a muddled, inexplicable mess of 80's backlit, smoke-machine, shitty effect-driven scenes, all set to a glorious roller rink electronic score by Tangerine Dream (I'm serious). But I enjoyed it anyway.

The scene where the two greedy German soldiers inadvertently release 'The Evil' is iconic. As is the first time we see Molasar materialize and explode the heads of two more soldiers as they try to rape Eva. The 'smoky' version of Molasar is really well done. If they'd kept him looking like that for the whole film it would have been epic.


The reason why I mention this film is, I remember catching a glimpse of it on TV in the mid 80's when I was a young teenager. The greedy soldier getting face-melted in the narrow tunnel, the acrobatic sex scene (yay sweaters!), and Molasar generally being a bad-ass must have made an impression.

Why? Because as I was watching I realized that some of the scenes in this movie (from way back  in '83) have informed and inspired stories I've written since then. Only I'd forgotten the film's influence. Scenes from Upstairs, The Image, A Conversation With the Devil and possibly others all have imagery and moments that remind me of scenes in this film.

It's kind of incredible that a movie I only saw parts of, one time, thirty years ago, could be so influential.

Gabriel Byrne does not want to be face-melted.

Great cast too. Ian McKellen, Scott Glenn, Jurgen Prochnow, and Gabriel Byrne sounding a lot like an Irishman not pulling off a German accent.

I wish the original 200-minute version Mann showed the studio still existed somewhere, because the choppy 90-minute theatrical cut leaves much to be desired.

It's a great, high concept story about the nature of evil, and visually it's a work of art but my God is it ever hampered by phoned-in performances and some really bad editing choices.

Running won't help, sorry buddy.

Despite it's many, many flaws, I enjoyed the movie. Apparently it stirred my imagination when I was young too. And it scared the shit out of me.

What more can you ask for from an 80's B-Horror movie?