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The Keep is a 1982 horror novel written 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 SS 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 (who claims to be a vampire and identifies himself as Radu Molasar) because he sees him as a means of ridding the world of Nazism. In the meantime, a mysterious stranger (calling himself "Glenn") 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, Magda.
The Keep was adapted in a very, very strange and confusing but not entirely bad film the following year in 1983. 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 Two.
This film contains examples of:
- All Germans Are Nazis: Subverted in a big way in the character of Klaus Woermann, especially in the film version. 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!
- And I Must Scream: The book implies that this is the fate of Molasar's victims. He can control the bodies of those he kills, and we see that Woermann is still conscious and thinking after being killed by Molasar. Woermann even frantically tries to do something, anything, to stop the way Molasar is using him but is helpless to so. So when Molasar goes all Night of the Living Mooks toward the end of the book, (see below) there's a chance that every single dead soldier was desperately trying to resist being forced to kill their friends and fellow soldiers and were completely unable to stop what they saw themselves doing. Creepy...
- Badass 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 SS 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 SS in a big way and kill one of them.
- Body Horror: In the movie, Molasar's victims are either disintegrated entirely or left burned and charred after encountering him.
- Canon Foreigner: Father Fonescu in the movie.
- 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.
- Dracula: Subverted, as Molasar claims he'd merely worked for the historical Dracula. And he's lying about that.
- Enemy of My Enemy: Molasar convinces Prof. 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.
- Executive Meddling: The studio supposedly ordered quite a bit of scenes cut and re-edited, resulting in the film being a confusing mishmash of nonsense. The ending in particular was changed at least twice (the first time was due to Wally Veevers dying during production). The reshot ending had Glaeken surviving his battle with Molasar and being found alive by Eva... but for some unfathomable reason this was deleted and the film's third ending has the hero presumed dead.
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- 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 Schutzstaffel Einsatzkommandos are brought in, and it's difficult not to cheer for the monster.
- Night of the Living Mooks: In the book Molasar controls the corpses of the dead soldiers, and at one point uses them to slaughter all of the Germans still alive in The Keep.
- Our Angels Are Different: What Glaeken can seem like if one has only watched the film.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Debatable in the novel that Molasar/Rasalom isn't even a vampire. In the film however he can be argued to be a vampire, albeit one that sucks life directly rather than blood. Also in both versions, crosses don't work on him (see Crowning Moment of Funny).
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Sdrawkcab Name: In the novel, Molasar's surname is actually "Rasalom" backwards. Again, no word on whether this also applies to his given first name, Radu, in which case his really real name would be "Udar Rasalom."
- Shout-Out: The books found inside the keep's walls are standard occult reference-works of the Cthulhu Mythos.
- 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.
- 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 ( Rasalom).
- Those Wacky Nazis: Kaempffer and his SS bully boys.
- You!: Done by Molasar in reaction to Glaeken's return.
- Your Head Asplode: One of the SS troopers who tries to rape Eva has this done to him by Molasar.