For the last four years, Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson has hosted a late-night horror movie celebration called Terror Tuesday and if you are a lover of horror, both esoterically brilliantly and obscurely awful, this night was invented just for you. The Terror Tuesday Report will dissect the movie shown as well as provide a barometer for the audience's reaction; as many of these films demand to be seen with an audience, this proves a vital component to the evening.
This week's film: The Keep, directed by Michael Mann, 1983
Well it was bound to happen at some point. With all the horror movies I watch, and all the horror movies I review, it was simply a matter of time before Terror Tuesday featured a film I had already covered. When the year began and I made the commitment to attend every single Terror Tuesday of 2010, I pondered on the logistics of this potential quagmire; would I write a second review or just skip that week all together? Then I took a deep breath, and realized that it wasn't such a crisis. This week Zack brought us a film I thoroughly enjoy and that I had only ever seen once before on laserdisc.
To read my already established hard-on for The Keep, feel free to read the review I wrote when I covered it for Terror Tapes. Yes, I'm aware a laserdisc is not a tape but I live in a very different world from the rest of you. Instead of reiterating all of the things I have already said, I would just like to say a few words about the print.
Zack managed to work his magic yet again this week by securing a rare archival 35mm print of this gem. It was among the more pristine prints I have ever had the privilege of viewing at this event all year. Not only was it clear, sharp, and beautiful, but it allowed me to notice little things about the film that I hadn't fully appreciated before. For example, I thought the monster was cool upon my initial viewing, but seeing more clearly the infinitesimal details of it at the various stages of its regeneration was intense. Also, I never noticed how much the innards of the keep itself, as showcased beautifully by the ending, reminded me of the final shot in Fulci's The Beyond. Very desolate and hopeless...and spectacular!
I also have to say I was wrong about the Tangerine Dream score. I still maintain that I am not a big fan of their music in general but the music in The Keep is what creates the dream-like atmosphere that is at the core of its artistic voice. It once again reminded me of Fulci and the more I drew parallels between the two, the more I loved The Keep. It was like seeing the movie for the first time and I could not have been more thrilled with how it held up.
Once again strikes the curse of the good film. The audience seemed totally unprepared for just how technically proficient and genuinely fantastic The Keep really is. Having seen this film before, I anticipated this effect and spent a good deal of the movie whipping my head from side to side, examining the lolling heads and heavy eyelids of the audience. Don't be mislead, I am not at all calling the film boring. But some people forget that Terror Tuesday isn't just a showcase for terrible horror films, but every so often the films that Zack really loves are in and of themselves great films.