The Keeper – Canada, 1975

The-Keeper-1975-Christopher-Lee

The Keeper is a 1975 Canadian mystery-horror feature film written and directed by T.Y. Drake (scriptwriter of Terror Train) and starring Christopher Lee. The film’s hypnosis sequences were created by avant-garde experimental filmmaker Al Razutis.

The film was filmed on 16mm on a budget of $135,000 in Vancouver, British Columbia from October 1 to 24, 1975. It never received theatrical distribution in Canada or the United States and went straight to television, making its network premiere as part of The CBS Late Movie on December 19, 1985.Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 20.30.01

The Keeper (Christopher Lee) is the sinister and crippled administrator of the secluded and exclusive Underwood Asylum in 1947 British Columbia where the community’s wealthiest families have entrusted their mentally-disturbed relatives to his unique care. However, these families soon begin to die under grisly and unusual circumstances, leaving large inheritances to The Keeper’s deranged patients.

Richard “Dick” Driver (Tell Schreiber), a private investigator, is hired by a mysterious client to investigate Underwood Asylum and he soon discovers the connection between The Keeper’s therapy and the millionaires’ deaths…

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Reviews:

The Keeper is certainly better written than directed, which is not surprising, since screenwriter Tom Drake (Terror Train) was forced to take over when the original director left the production. Despite this setback, what emerged was Vancouver’s b-movie calling card to the rest of Canada. And while the film can be uneven, Drake managed to offer up a unique retro-camp take on the oft-seen Canadian brainwashing horror film.” Canuxploitation!

“Not a good movie. Kind of dorky in an entertaining way, but not a well made nor re-watchable film by a long shot. It’s a lot like Ken Russell’s Altered States in the aspects of effects and concept, but not nearly as redeeming. It’s basically just a B-movie disguised as a crime thriller. Worth seeing at least part of for Lee’s performance. Nothing more.” The Spork Guy, Letterboxd.com

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“There are strange twists and turns, plus a police chief who falls under Lee’s spell and acts as if he’s in a comedy and not a horror film.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“The film has Canuck-O-Vision Down in spades: the milky brume over the picture, the hissy sound, the cheap sets.” Caelum Vatnsdal, They Came from Within

they came

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

the-keeper-19761

The-Keeper-Trans-World-Entertainment-VHS

Buy VHS: Amazon.com

Folie Contrôlée

Cast and characters:

  • Christopher Lee as The Keeper
  • Tell Schreiber as Dick Driver
  • Sally Gray as Mae B. Jones
  • Ross Vezarian as Inspector Clarke
  • Ian Tracey as The Kid
  • Bing Jensen as Danny
  • Jack and Leo Leavy as The Biggs Twins

Other releases:

France – as Folie controlée

Italy – as The keeper: il custode

 

Wikipedia | Canadian Feature Film Database | Interview with Christopher Lee

Image credits: Pre-cert-co.uk | Smorgasblog

 

 

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