Dec 28, 2013
Undoubtedly, a Gothic horror World War II flick set in war torn Romania featuring a soundtrack by electronic krautrockers Tangerine Dream sounds like a rather delectable prospect, but somebody made a major mistake when they granted Hollywood Hebraic hack Michael Mann (Thief, The Last of the Mohicans) the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to direct such an innately ambitious and easy-to-botch cinematic work. Indeed, The Keep (1983)—a film based on the 1981 novel of the same name, which was the first volume in a series of six novels known as The Adversary Cycle written by American sci-fi novelist F. Paul Wilson—is a work that had all the potential of a ‘blockbuster masterpiece’ (an oxymoron if there ever was one!) and would eventually earn cult status among loyal fans, but director Michael Mann ultimately disowned the film and even prevented its release on dvd, which is certainly no surprise as it is an aesthetically pleasing mess of the innately incoherent and horribly uneven sort, not to mention a perfect example of how Hollywood butchers films. Although a little over 90 minutes in its present form, Michael Mann’s original cut of The Keep was a whopping 3 ½ hours in length, which is certainly why the film is an epic abortion with a jumbled and disjointed storyline. A sort of extremely loose reworking of the Golem story from Jewish folklore meets Castle Keep (1969) directed by Sydney Pollack minus the humor, The Keep childishly wallows in Spielberg-esque anti-Nazi clichés and emphasizes heavily stylized action sequences and then-state-of-the-art special effects over character development and sensible linear storytelling. In fact, director Mann once described the film as, “A fairy story for grownups. Fairy tales have the power of dreams - from the outside. I decided to stylize the art direction and photography extensively but use realistic characterization and dialogue,” yet The Keep has a moronic moral compass that seems like it was created by the bastard Judaic half-brother of the Brothers Grimm and certainly does not seem like it was created with grown adults in mind. Indeed, a supernatural and pseudo-spiritual ‘scary’ Shoah flick for a degenerate generation of effeminate braindead fanboys who see Luke Skywalker as their Christ and see any cinematic depiction of Hitler as Satan and German soldiers as demons, The Keep is certainly the most philistine extreme of hapless holocaust propaganda and the soundtrack by Teutonic musical geniuses Tangerine Dream makes it seem all the more bizarre. Indeed, I would be lying if I did not admit The Keep is my favorite Israelite-directed anti-Nazi propaganda flick as it may be an absurdly muddled movie with Streicher-esque caricatures of German soldiers, but it is also an endlessly entertaining ‘popcorn flick’ that acts as a sort of cinematic equivalent to a hokey haunted holocaust museum.
Set in 1941 following the commencement of Operation Barbarossa at the Dinu Mountain Pass of the Carpathian Alps in rural Romania, The Keep begins with the arrival of a German Wehrmacht unit led by ‘nice Nazi’ Captain Klaus Woermann (Jürgen Prochnow). After two of Woermann’s more criminally-inclined kraut soldiers attempt to steal a glowing cross icon they mistake for silver in an uninhabited citadel (aka “The Keep”), they unwittingly unleash an evil Golem-like entity named Radu Molasar that had been imprisoned in the ancient keep. Naturally, metaphysical monster Molasar begins killing off kraut soldiers faster than the snow in Stalingrad, which raises the suspicion of the German army. Eventually, a genocidal SS Einsatzkommando unit led by a nefarious Nazi named SD Sturmbannführer Eric Kaempffer (Gabriel Byrne) is called in to investigate the mysterious murders and restore order in the medieval-like Romanian village. Of course, the first thing Kaempffer has his killer kraut commandos do upon arriving in the town is have a group of wholesome Romanian men executed in retaliation for the deaths of murdered Wehrmacht soldiers, but also to prevent any other murders. A callous National Socialist ‘true believer,’ Kaempffer firmly believes the deaths are the result of communist partisans. At the recommendation of a lying Romanian priest named Father Mihail Fonescu (Robert Prosky), the Germans have a Romanian Jewish historian named Professor Theodore Cuza (Ian McKellen) and his daughter Eva (Alberta Watson) fetched from a concentration camp to help solve the mystery murders as both of them somehow have special esoteric knowledge regarding the Keep. Professor Cuza manages to translate a dead language similar to Romanian written on the wall of the citadel and not long after two SS men attempt to rape his daughter, but she is ultimately saved by Jewish monster Molasar. Gracious for Molasar’s seemingly selfess heroism, Cuza ultimately befriends and makes a Faustian pact with the monster, who also cures the Professor of his debilitating case of scleroderma and gives him eternal youth. Meanwhile, a man with supernatural powers named Glaeken Trismegestus (Scott Glenn) senses something evil is stirring in the Keep and begins to travel all the way from his hometown in Greece to the Romanian village. Of course, Kaempffer continues to kill Romanian peasants and eventually kills Klaus Woermann for his anti-Nazi rhetoric and insubordinate behavior, but anti-anti-Semite Molasar eventually kills the sadistic SS man. Additionally, not unlike Frank Cotton from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser (1987), Molasar begins to take a more human form the more powerful he becomes. When gallant hero Glaeken eventually arrives in the Romanian village to stop Molasar, Professor Cuza attempts to have him killed. In the end, Professor Cuza finally comes to the realization that Molasar is not a saint and Glaeken battles the Golem-like creature, ultimately using his body to once again imprison the all-evil creature in the citadel.
Director Michael Mann essentially summed up the ‘message’ of The Keep when he stated regarding the Second World War, “There is a moment in time when the unconscious is externalized. In the case of the 20th Century, this time was the fall of 1941. What Hitler promised in the beer gardens had actually come true. The greater German Reich was at its apogee: it controlled all Europe. And the dark psychotic appeal underlying the slogans and rationalizations was making itself manifest.” With its unintentionally strange and rather superficial scenes of old Jewish intellectuals lounging in death camps in style, suavely dressed SS of the sadistic megalomaniac sort going on deranged anti-communist diatribes, absurdly childish and cheesy caricature-driven portrayal of good and evil, unflatteringly romanticized depiction of Romanian peasants, and innate irrationalism, The Keep ultimately seems like a warped post-Auschwitz religious parable directed by an atheistic Jew for consumption by feeble minded goy Christians of the pathetically superstitious sort. That being said, The Keep still manages to be a captivating work, as if it was directed by the ½ Hebraic son that H.P. Lovecraft never had with his short-lived Jewess wife Sonia Greene. In a sense, The Keep is a cinematic tragedy of sorts as it has so many strong and strikingly aesthetic and even thematic elements, but is ultimately plagued by its own equally glaring aesthetic and thematic weaknesses. Indeed, with conspicuously contrived and ludicrous quotes from evil antagonist Sturmbannführer Kaempffer like, “The people that go to these resettlement camps… There are only two doors… One in and one out… The one out is a chimney,” The Keep is undoubtedly a work that is also tastelessly cheapened by the director’s personal political/religious bias. Indeed, you know there is a problem with a World War II film when the evil Nazi antagonist is so artificial and anti-human in persuasion that he makes Ralph Fiennes' portrayal of Amon Goeth in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler's List (1993) seem to possess as much depth as a character from an Ingmar Bergman film. Rather repellently, The Keep also makes absurd Marxist revisionist references to the Spanish Civil War by making it seem as if the ‘good guys’ (aka communists) tragically lost against Satan’s fascist army. Indeed, featuring a hopelessly redundant hodgepodge of softcore Marxist clichés and ludicrous leftist mysticism, decidedly dumbed down dichotomies between good and evil, demonization of German soldiers as killer kraut Ken dolls, and tasteless glorification of communist/Jewish partisans and Jewish intellectuals, The Keep is ultimately an awe-inspiring film as cinema history’s most ambitious agitprop neo-fairytale and an epic celluloid abortion that reminds the viewer that the so-called ‘holocaust’ is not a historical event but a religion with its own belief system, with Uncle Adolf being the devil incarnate. That being said, forget Claude Lanzmann’s epic snooze-fest Shoah (1985), The Keep is a real and honest holocaust flick of DeMille-esque proportions.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 10:41 PM
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