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World War two, somewhere in France, and the French resistance kill seven Nazis and throw the bodies in the lake. Later, the Nazis return as Zombies and terrorise anyone who comes close. There are
so many things wrong with this film, that it’d be easier to tell you what’s right – but it's more fun to tell you what’s wrong! The direction is terrible, I don’t know if Jean Rollin was intending to make the worst movie ever, but everything that could be wrong was! The English dubbing is also appalling, they must’ve known the screenplay was rubbish because in places, they chose not to bother and I was left watching people's mouths move, with no words coming out!
There is a ridiculous amount of gratuitous full frontal nudity, almost the entire female cast end up naked in that lake; they are shot from some very risqué angles and I could have done without it. The underwater lake scenes are obviously filmed in a swimming pool; you can actually see the vents and grills in the wall of the pool!
The make-up is hilarious; green face paint, which varies from pale to dark from scene to scene, and even rubs off on the victims’ faces. When the Zombies bite, which doesn’t happen often, we don’t even see the prosthetic, latex flesh which we see in other Zombie films, instead the Zombies spit out some liquid that looks like tomato soup onto the victim. No wound is visible, and there’s as much green make-up rubbed off onto the victims as there is tomato soup!
The costumes are a complete joke; in the forties a woman is wearing a 1980’s dress! There’s also the wig of wigs on one of the characters, you have to see it first hand, as no description I could give you here will do it justice.
The musical score, literally sounds like they’ve sent a classroom full of children into the percussion cupboard in the music room, with the instruction ‘make some noise’. You probably think I’m exaggerating, I hope you watch this film, just so you can hear what I heard!
As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Zombie Lake has the most ridiculous B-story known to man! One of the Zombies has a daughter who was just a baby when he was killed. The doting Daddy decides to pay her a visit and strikes up a weird relationship with the girl. At this point I wondered, are these actually Zombies?! Why isn’t he just eating her!?
Breaking all the rules, the Zombies don’t actually appear to eat anyone, they just bite them, and nobody that gets bitten turns into a Zombie, in fact there are only seven Zombies in this film, and then one is killed which leaves – seven!
It doesn’t matter how horrendous I say this film is, I’ll never do it justice, it’s diabolical beyond belief. However, I’m glad I watched it, no true horror fan should deprive themselves of the hilarity of this film, you need to see it first hand to truly appreciate just how ridiculous it is. This can’t be real; Zombie Lake cannot possibly have been made and given a distribution deal! Go on, get this film, watch it, and once you’ve recovered from the laughing fit it triggers leave me a comment below – I know what you’ll say – ‘why didn’t you warn me, you said it was bad - but you didn’t say it was this bad!’
ZOMBIE LAKE (1981). Director: Jean Rollin. Writer: Julián Esteban, Jesus Franco. Cast: Howard Vernon, Pierre Escourrou, Anouchka.
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