Before making it big in Hollywood with films like Manhunter, Heat and Miami Vice, Michael Mann took his shot at the horror genre by adapting F. Paul Wilson's book The Keep. Set in 1942, a group of German soldiers are ordered to watch over an old Romanian Keep (citadel) located on a strategic mountain pass. The soldiers slowly begin to get picked off one by one. Believing the soldiers are being killed by the townspeople, the SS arrive to set things straight. But soon they find out an evil force within the Keep is trying to escape and it will doing anything to get out. And this force is one badass cool monster.
The Keep is a very strange and unusual genre film. It mixes horror and historical fiction to create a very unique film I don't think seen very often. It's definitely a movie missing from retail store shelves. Not only because of its unique nature, but because Michael Mann is such a big director now. I'm surprised they haven't tried to cash in on his recent successful movies.
The Keep ALMOST made its way to DVD at least once in the last few years. While doing my research for this article, I came across a Horror-Movies.com article about the DVD being listed on Fango's old Chopping List. Unfortunately, during Fango's revamp, they never relaunched the list so I could see if it is still listed.
The DVD release for the movie could be very interesting. Supposedly, there are two different cuts of the film. This begs the question, would Paramount (the distributor) be willing to release the film in a big ultimate edition including both the Theatrical Cut (90 minutes) and the Extended Version (3 hours). Or would they release a lazy DVD with the theatrical cut and maybe if we are lucky a trailer and commentary by Michael Mann. Trust me, I wouldn't complain if I only got that, but I am so sick of distributors half-assing their releases.
All I know is that anything at this point is better than my crappy VHS copy. Just look at some of the screen grabs from my VHS:
I have never seen the movie in any other form other than this VHS tape. Seeing it on DVD would be incredible, but seeing Molasar (the evil entity in the Keep) in high-def would blow me away.
While writing this article I came across a petition for a DVD release. If you're as enthusiastic as I am for this movie to be released, click here to sign it!
Another website I stumbled upon was a fan made website by French special FX artist, Stéphane Piter. This guy is obsessed with the film! Probably the coolest thing on his website is a prototype for what he thinks The Keep DVD release should be like. Sometimes I wish the fans could design and produce the DVD releases. I would put whatever money I have left in my bank account down for a copy of his DVD release. He even goes into detail about which special features should be on the DVD. I pretty much agree with everything he says. Stéphane Piter's website also has tons of info on the film itself. If you are a fan of The Keep, I highly recommend you check out the website.
Since it is highly unlikely the distributor would even consider using Stéphane's design for the DVD, let's look at some of our DVD artwork options...
North American Poster
Stéphane Piter's proposed DVD
Stéphane Piter's artwork is by far the coolest, but since I don't see Paramount ever releasing anything like that, or even the extended version, I am still going to have to say that the North American artwork is my favourite. The German and French artwork is boring, but the Japanese artwork is pretty damn cool too.
Well there you have it. If you haven't seen The Keep, I highly recommend you try to find a VHS copy of the film, or just sign the petition and get Paramount to release the damn movie.