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All the Stupid Things About “Keep My Grave Open”

Keep My Grave Open
Year: 1976
Genre: Horror
Director: S.F. Brownrigg
Stars: Camilla Carr, Gene Ross, Stephen Tobolowsky

The next movie in the Pure Terror DVD set is Keep My Grave Open and was one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen.  Oh it is a bad movie, I expected that going in – very few films on this set so far have been quality entertainments.  While Keep my Grave Open is an incompetent mess of a film it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen nor is it even the worst film on this DVD set.  It’s ineptitude is tolerable compared to how mind-numbingly stupid this film is.  Too many moments where I just stared at the screen, dumbfounded and asking out loud: “Now what the fuck is THIS about?!”  So here I present a list of the stupidest things about Keep My Grave Open.

1. SF Brownrigg

This shot is actually from Brownrigg's Don't Go in the Basement but as I could find no actual picture of S. F. Brownrigg himself, this man making a goofy face will have to suffice.

This shot is actually from Brownrigg’s Don’t Go in the Basement
but as I could find no actual picture of S. F. Brownrigg
himself, this man making a goofy face will have to suffice.

Keep My Grave Open is directed by “cult favorite” S.F. Brownrigg.  I use the sarcastic pair of quotaion marks there although I really shouldn’t because S.F Brownrigg has achieved a minor sort of cult status for the 5 films he’s directed, most notably Scum of the Earth, Don’t Open the Door! and Don’t Go in the Basement.  Somebody should have told Mr. Brownrigg “DON’T make another movie,” otherwise this could have been avoided.  While still terrible movies, they do have a cult following.  Of course the cult following for Brownrigg’s films is not as significant as the cult following for other B-movie directors like Ed Wood or Andy Sidaris there is still a following so, by the most rudimentary definition of the term, S.F. Brownrigg would be a cult film director.

I am not a member of this cult of S.F. Brownrigg fans.  There is no kind of charm or ironic kind of “so bad it’s good” delight to be found in his movies.  However, the fans of S.F. Brownrigg share a lot of similar psychology with the diehard Joss Whedon fanboys – they absolutley believe that their idol can do no wrong and that everything they touch is GOLD.  Read the reviews on imdb for this film and you’ll have a taste of what this kind of fandom leads to.  People seriously say: “Another great film from S.F. Brownrigg” Another piece of shit you mean.  “Terriffic performances from teh cast.”  No, they’re not!  “A great moody look,” The movie looks like somebody dragged this copy out of a dumpster.  “Great music,” I will have plenty to say later about the inappropriate torture this film calls a soundtrack.  These are fake reviews, blinded by their adoration for S.F. Brownrigg.  I read these reviews and all I see is this: “This movie would normally be a piece of crap but since it has S.F. Brownrigg’s name on it – it’s GENIUS!”  This kind of ignorance is just face-palmingly stupid.  S.F. Brownrigg only made 5 movies in his career that share an average rating of 4.7 – not becuase he’s some poor misunderstood genius who was ahead of his time – his five movies are GARBAGE!

2. The Fat Hobo

The movie opens with some chunky drifter jumping off a truck in whatever patch of hell this takes place in.  The credits roll and atrocious folk music plays as we spend five minutes watching this dirty blob roll around the woods like the most boring game of Katamari.  Eventually he stops by a seculded mansion and starts asking “Hello?  Hello?  Is anyone home?”  He then finds an unlocked door and wanders around for a few more minutes: “Hello?  Is anyone home?”  Oh boy, exciting stuff is going on here, that’s for sure. /sarcasm

Now that it’s FIRMLY established that no one is home and this fat hobo can rob the place to his heart’s desire, what does he steal? The contents of the refrigerator!  He could look around for some money or some jewelry he could pawn but NOPE, Fat Hobo needs food badly.  Well, a pork chop that he takes out into the woods and cooks on a campfire.  He’s then killed by a faceless assailant to conclude the 10 minutes of wasted space that opens the film.

Fat Hobo needs food badly.

Fat Hobo needs food badly.

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin

keep my grave 4Living in this mansion is Lesley Fontaine (Camille Carr) who, with a name like that you would assume she became wealthy by staring in pornography but, nope, she most likely inherited this place.  She lives there with Kevin and the stupid thing here is that it takes the movie FOREVER to tell you exactly who Kevin is.

My first assumption was her son.  Lesley goes upstairs to a room adorned with childlike drawings of horses.  She talks through the door in the same sort of manner that a mother addresses a child: “Kevin, honey, breakfast is ready.”  Kevin never responds which causes Lesley to have these insane emo fits later, screaming “Why don’t you love me, Kevin!?”  A psychologist stops by to talk to Lesley and says “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”  Through their conversation we learn that Kevin is actually Lesley’s brother.  Their parents died and the two children were left at this estate to live with their crazy aunt.  Of course, doesn’t really describe much about who Kevin is. Kevin is clearly stalking around the property in a riding outfit and stabbing people with a sabre. but the way Lesley explains that “Kevin is gone, you can’t talk to Kevin right now” it’s not really certain if kevin is dead or moved out or just away at the moment.  This is all so unnecessarily confusing.

It only gets worse when Lesley has a sex scene with Kevin.  The bad taste of incest aside – this sex scene is one of the worst filmed things I’ve ever seen.  It is all done through Kevin’s point of view which means the camera hovers above Lesley’s face and bobs up and down between closeups and extreme closeups of her ear as Kevin thrusts into his sister.  Wait… did I just say the words “as he thrusts into his sister.”  This movie is DISGUSTING!

"As he thrusts into his sister..."

“As he thrusts into his sister…”

4. Stephen Tobolowsky

Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not saying that Stephen Tobolowsky is stupid.  He is a VERY talented character actor who has been in over 200 movies.  He is always that one quirky or interesting character you see and you know that you’ve seen him before in other movies but you just can’t remember where.  What’s stupid is that this is his very first film and the character he plays here, a young boy named Robert, is one of the worst characters in this whole pathetic movie.  I’m just going to forget that this actor is Stephen Tobolowsky and pretend that The Philadelphia Experiment was his first movie.

keep my grave 6So what makes Robert such a cringe-inducing character?  He takes care of a horse on Lesley’s property, a horse named Caesar.  Apparently this is a full time job as tossing the occasional flake of hay or bucket of oats to this one horse is a job that occupies Robert’s time from dawn till dusk.  We do learn that Robert REALLY REALLY loves this horse.  Not grossly sexual though, not like Lesley and her brother.  Robert goes off about how him and Ceaser share the same mind and that sometimes he likes to pretend that he owns that horse.  He even sens his girlfriend away when she dares interrupt Robert during his horsey time.

Robert asks if he could take Ceaser to compete in some cattle roping trials which, after some thought, Lesley allows.  Later, after Kevin sexually jilts her, Lesley changes her mind about having her horse compete in these trials.  Robert shows up to discuss this with Lesley who gives him a sexual come-on of: “I can always change my mind about this..”  Realizing that sleeping with this crazy woman is the only way he can take the horse to the competition, Robert says: “I’m only doing this for you, Ceasar.”  THAT’S BULLSHIT!  He’s not doing it for the horse – he’s doing it for himself, so HE can take the horse to the competition.  Don’t go blaming your selfishness on the damn horse.  I’d only accept “I’m doing it for the horse” as being actual character motivation if there was a scene where the horse told him to do this:

Caesar the Horse: You know, Robert, I’d really like to go out there and rope some calves, but that mean bitch won’t let me.  Could you do me a solid, man?  I’m
sure she’ll let me go if you have sex with her.  Could you do that for me, buddy?  We’re best friends, right?
Robert: I’ll do it, Caesar.  I’ll do it just for you old buddy.

Since that scene is not in this movie, this heartwarming tale of a boy and his horse instead becomes a sickening tale of a kid fucking a crazy woman for his own personal gain.

There is no sex scene, however, because before Robert can commit to the act he’s killed by Kevin in a badly edited mess that’s confusing shots of a sword some blood and Robert’s reaction to this.  Which brings me to my next point:

5. The Editing

MY GOD!  The editing in this movie is some of the worst I’ve ever seen.  Everything is choppy and confusing and half the time the wrong shots are used to convey in any reasonable sense just what the hell is going on in a scene.  There are moments where it seems that whole frames are simply missing – but they’re not missing, they’re just misplaced somewhere else in the movie.  For instance, a boring scene will be dragging itself along and suddenly cut to half a second of footage of another character in another sentance uttering a syllable and then back to where we were.  Some of the poorer technical aspects such as the bad visual quality and scratchy sound quality can be attributed to this specific late generation DVD copy.  The editing, on the other hand, I’m pretty sure the original film was that sloppily put together in 45 minutes by a drunk guy.  The other thing I cannot blame on this DVD copy is:

6. The Music

The music in this film is some of the worst I ever heard.  Several times I had to get up and turn down the volume not because it was too loud for me but because I was embarrassed somebody else might hear me listening to this crap.  With the exception of the occasional upbeat and nauseating country song most of the music hear sounds like a cat being raped by a harpsichord.    It’s not really music as much as sounds that slightly resemble notes.  And none of this “music” EVER matches the scene.  Happy music plays when somber music should – or somber music plays when we see Robert happily driving his truck.  Definitely a moment where I said: “What the fuck is this about?!”

7. The Ending

keep my grave 7There is no Kevin.  Lesley sufferes from multiple personalities and this Kevin is just one of them.  There was a Kevin but we’re never clearly told until the end of the movie wether he left or died or ever existed at all.  Lesley decideds to commit suicide by swallowing a fistful of pills.  She sits under a tree and just starts moaning “Kevin Kevin Kevin.”  We end on her funeral where the real Kevin shows up.  He goes to her grave and says the stupidest line ever uttered by a human being: “This is a nice place.  A nice place to be dead.”

The final scene, some sort of stupid epilogue I suppose, involves Kevin now living in the mansion.  He shouts to some woman that he’s making coffee and then leaves the house complaining how Lesley didn’t bury all the people she killed.  So does he have multiple personalities too?  Is he going to start killing people?  Was there really incest?  Actually, I don’t care.

Keep My Grave Open was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen.  The title has NOTHING to do with the movie as there are no graves that need to be left open.  It was poorly written, directed and put together without a care and is just a sad mess of lazy incompotence.  I don’t want to come across another Keep My Grave Open anytime soon.

Apparently the next movie on the set, the last on on Disc 4, is The House That Screamed which I don’t really have high hopes for.

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.

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