This January will see the release of “Blackhat,” Michael Mann’s first feature-length directorial outing in six years. With his big screen drought finally over, let’s turn back the clock and see what the Chicago-born director was like in the beginning of his career, as he was shooting his second theatrical film, “The Keep.”
Released in the winter of 1983, Mann’s adaptation of F. Paul Wilson’s horror novel marked a conscious effort to break away from aspects of his previous work “Thief” and the TV movie “Jericho Mile.” In the run up to the film’s release, British program “The Electric Theatre Show” aired a nearly half-hour special on Mann that featured the director not only talking about his decision to take on —or transcend— the horror genre, but also his entire career up until that point. As always, Mann makes for a thoughtful interview subject and speaks with the same cadence utilized by many of the leading men in his films.
However, Mann tells THR that it’s one movie he wishes he could’ve made again. “It was a script that wasn’t quite ready, and, [a hard] script to schedule, because of how the picture the financed,” Mann explained. “And a key guy in the making of it, a man named Wally Veevers, who was a wonderful, wonderful man, a very talented visual effects designer from ‘2001‘ all the way back to ‘The Shape of Things to Come,’ tragically passed away, right there in the middle of our post production. And so it became for me a film that was never completely realized.”
Although “The Keep” is the only Mann film to not have made the leap to DVD (you can pick up a laserdisc), the film is available to stream both through Netflix and Amazon’s instant video service. Watch the TV special below. “Blackhat” hits theaters next year on January 16th, 2015.