Keep My Grave Open

Awesome title, bad, bad movie.  How many times has this happened to you?  A title conjures images you can’t wait to have fulfilled, only to find them ripped from you head and stomped into the ground repeatedly as a laugh track fills the air.  Here’s another laugh track for you, there are some people who actually enjoy this piece of offal.  But we around here hate it with a passion and we don’t get the fanboys.  Is it simply because it’s so underground and generally unknown that you cling on to it to define yourself?  If so, please stop, there’s plenty more to do that with that’s actually worth watching.  Directed by S. F. Brownrigg, who did a mere handful of low-budget flicks, this film’s often considered a diamond in the rough or, at worst, the lesser child of his work.  But let us redefine it for you, it’s a waste of time, it’s awful, it’s dreadful, it’s probably one of the reasons why the cult of the Drive-In Theater came to an end.  Show enough crap flicks like these back then  and it wouldn’t have mattered how much you charged.  Hell, even free this one isn’t worth it.  Back in the 70s and 80s low-budget drive-in films were pretty common, and a few of them have become legends in their own right, whether intentionally or by accident.  Keep My Grave Open, however, deserves the lack of respect it gets.  How someone can take a basic, Southern Gothic plot like this and turn it into such terribleness is a question we’ll leave for future generations, because it will age you fifty years just trying to think about it and most of us are having enough trouble dealing with our 30s.

Keep My Grave Open all revolves around a Southern estate where a lonely, and clearly insane young woman named Lesley lives.  It’s not entirely evident at first, you just know something is ‘wrong,’ so to speak.  The filming has a raw, grainy quality with some pretty clever camera angles, we should add, so considering where the plot wants to go and how it feels visually, really it was pretty difficult to fail.  In fact, it’s a god damn feat of the gods to fail this bad at something so easy.  We’re going to reveal it all for you, right here, but don’t worry, the film itself does that in about the first three minutes, no joke.  So when we said “at first,” we mean like in the first minute.  That’s what’s such a huge bummer about this movie.  The conceit is provided to the viewer almost immediately, and you know where every second of it is going, it just requires some more paste to hold it together, meekly, until it falls apart at the end when you realize it actually ended.  So, seriously, we’re not blowing this for you, the movie itself provides the twist almost as soon as it begins.  The girl in the house had a brother named Kevin, and she now believes he’s living with her due to some sort of tragedy in her past, and she goes mentally back and forth between herself and him, the male side of her being the murderous one.  Wow, really?  Mental collapse is a fine idea for a plot, done plenty of times in numerous, such as in Repulsion, but in this case revealing the hidden secret from the get-go leaves only room for two things.  Either the film is going to disturb you via clever visuals and technique, knowing clearly well what is happening, or it’s going to make you wonder why in the hell you wasted your time with it.


Keep My Grave Open, unfortunately, digs your grave so deep you couldn’t climb out with a ladder.  Once the plot is made obvious to the viewer, the rest of it is essentially pointless.  Characters are introduced and quickly eliminated for no good reason, at least not one that feels organic, the psychiatrist appears to further reveal the truth you already know, but yet tries to act like you haven’t figured it out yet.  Really, did the director think we wouldn’t have it by this point?  Why are they still acting like it’s a mystery?  Why are you attempting to suggest there’s really a man somewhere in the house when we know it’s the girl?  This leaves you with primarily the camerawork to analyze, and soon it falls apart as well, as your eyes realize the deliberate attempts at art and this aspect is then destroyed.  Nothing is worse than pretentious camera angles.  What’s left then?  Nothing, merely the minutes remaining until it’s over.  The worst part is when Lesley finally faces death, the movie then moves into revealing Kevin, who is actually alive, and apparently mentally sound.  However, he then takes over the family estate and for unstated reasons is carrying on the tradition of believing his sibling is still alive so he can have mock sex with her and then kill people randomly with a sword.  Seriously.  One of the worst slashers ever and a terrible stain in the history of Southern Gothic.


Written by Stanley Stepanic

Keep My Grave Open
Unicorn Video
2 / 5