|Copyright 1981 Eurociné
| Reviewed by C. Demetrius Morgan
on 4 June 2008
- With few exceptions, most everyone that appears in this film are transient characters who are never named. This includes the bevy of naked women (and zombies) that appear and disappear throughout the length of this shockingly absurd flick. Of those characters who are named (or are at least important enough to note) you will meet:
- The Mayor - Typical uninspired bureaucrat played by Howard Vernon. Was his name ever mentioned? You wont care.
- Chanac - I've not a blessed clue what this character's point or purpose is, besides being the mayor's gopher, yet IMDB lists him as a named character! I'd ask why, but I don't care.
- Katya - Your friendly Russ, er, Parisian reporter. Why they named this character Katya is beyond me. Her character is pretty much irrelevant; so really, who cares?
- Peasant Woman (?) - This is the French village girl saved from her virginity by a German soldier (who becomes the nameless leader zombie) in a flashback. There's no credits, IMDB doesn't list a name for her, and I didn't notice a lot of dialogue in her barn scene.
- Helena - The strange girl-child offspring of Peasant Woman's summer of love. She's a preteen, the movie looks like it's set in the mid to late seventies, and the war occurred circa the forties. Do the math. The mind boggles.
|Heralded by some as the worst zombie movie of the genre, ZOMBIE LAKE is one of those rarified cult gems that next to no one will admit liking, yet every fan of bad movies has probably seen it at least once. And if they haven't, then they can turn their Bad Movie Club Card™ in at the desk! So what's the story?
To begin with, this is set somewhere in France; at least that is what the DVD jacket says. I believe that's also what the characters say, but I am unconvinced. This looks like it was shot on location in the backyard acreage of some old European estate, probably someone's "friend of a friend's" rich uncle's manor house.
And the plot?
It's virtually incomprehensible. The movie opens on what looks to be a scenic country lake setting sometime circa the seventies. A single female wanders through an idyllic copse sheltering a secluded gazebo, wherein she gets into her birthday suit and heads for the water. Before you can swallow that first fist full of popcorn, Ms. Skinny Dipper is getting dragged to her doom by a zombie wearing a costume patterned after the regular army uniform of either the Wehrmacht or Panzergrenadiers. Let me repeat that: An innocent nubile young woman is attacked by an Aqua Nazi Zombie while skinny dipping, in broad daylight, in a country lake.
Are we being punked?
Sadly we are not. Worse, now aroused by the sweet taste of virginal woman flesh, Mr. Nazi Zombie suddenly shambles forth from the murky depths and spastically attacks some hapless woman walking her cart over a bridge. Wait, rewind that. There's a bridge with regular foot traffic over a lake full of zombies?! A bridge? Over a lake!!!?? Talk about your exaggerating real estate agents turning log cabins into rustic country mansions. As if that's not bizarre enough, get this: Hungry Aqua Nazi Zombie attacks Ms. Innocent Victim's neck and proceeds to slurp up her blood!
Blood? Zombie? Aqua Nazi Blood Drinking Force? Nubile skinny dippers? What the BLEEP!? I swear this is how this movie starts. I am not making this up. On the bright side, you know the cameraman and crew probably had fun filming those scenes. And bless them for the close ups! The downside: it looks like the scenes were only shot once and the editors had to take the good with the bad, as that's all they had. Speaking of which, there is a flashback sequence later in the movie that attempts to fill in some back story but all it manages to show are that the German soldiers, meaning the Nazi zombies, were part of a stock footage mobile armored column.
Considering the uniforms, that's a nice bit of detail, if accurate. And the point is, that, uhm, well...
The story, as I see it, is this: During World War II, French (?) resistance fighters ambush a German column - actually a single armored vehicle, this is a ultra cheap quikie flick after all - and dispose of the bodies in a nearby lake. Wasn't that lucky? A lake was right there for them to dump all those bodies in! Alas, deprived of proper Christian burials, the spirits of the dead become restless. Now skip forward to the relative present of the movie and, behold, peculiar happenings and mysterious deaths abound around "Ghost Lake" (that's the actual name for the lake used in the movie). Apparently, this is big news; big enough to bring a journalist from Paris to the otherwise quiet French village to investigate. That's when things really start to happen!
Confused? Join the club.
Zombie Lake was made in 1980, a time when the main films that formed the cultus of the zombie movie genre were Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978). While there were numerous imitations and low budget knock-offs produced prior to the release of Zombie Lake, the next real cornerstone film of this horror sub-genre, Return of the Living Dead, would not be released until 1985. This being the same year George A. Romero's cult classic Day of the Dead would be released.
However, what sets Zombie Lake apart from the usual run of the mill quickie imitations is the presence of Nazi zombies. A trope that, prior to this, was really used to effect only once in Shock Waves (1976). A movie that is really more of a mad scientist film with zombie undertones. In the interim since Zombie Lake first appeared there have been dozens of zombie films released, though only a handful have centered on Nazi zombies. One of the more notorious being Oasis of the Zombies (1983), which was filmed by infamous sleaze auteur Jess Franco (Sadomania, Vampyros Lesbos). By comparison, Zombie Lake lacks the obvious exploitation elements favored by such filmmakers. This of course being gratuitous gore and excessive violence, both of which have become hallmarks of the zombie movie genre.
However, in the final analysis, the real judge is the audience. This movie is often cited as being the worse zombie movie ever made, but in truth it is not. Zombie Lake is not meant to be Texas Chainsaw Massacre with zombies. Nor is it an attempt to recreate Night of the Living Dead. If that is what you are expecting to see in a zombie movie you'll be sorely disappointed.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- If you can knock over a no swimming sign there's no reason not to go swimming.
- The bodies of naked women have the power to summon Nazi zombies.
- Below the lily pads and murky water, lakes look like swimming pools.
- Pretty girls shouldn't go skinny dipping in lakes because vicious lust crazed aqua Nazi zombies might rise up out of the muck and eat them!
- 1 min - Woman begins to strip during title scroll!
- 1 min - Houston we have FULL FRONTAL FEMALE NUDITY!
- 1 min - Should I wear this bikini?
- 1 min - Nude sun bathing.
- 2 min - Scrolling close-up shot begins languidly moving up her nude body as titles continue to scroll.
- 2 min - Nude woman knocking down no swimming sign.
- 2 min - Nude woman gets into the lake.
- 2 min - Great underwater shot.
- 3 min 38 sec - The Aqua Nazi Zombie awakens.
- 5 min 26 sec - The Aqua Nazi Zombie rises from the murky depths.
- 5 min 44 sec - The Aqua Nazi Zombie attacks!
- 22 min - It's a barn, there's hay, let's do what comes naturally.
- 39 min - All female vollyball team arrives at the lake for some skinny-dipping fun. (Count them by the bus and pay close attention to how many get into the lake, and how many are attacked by zombies.)
- 40 min - Splash fight!
- 40 min - Go, go Aqua Nazi Zombie Force!
- 41 min - Everyone into the water for a Group Splash Fight!
- 42 min - Aqua Nazi Zombie Force, attack! (Interesting underwater shots, bet you never notice the pool walls.)
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Mayor: "Did she turn up yet?" |
Chanac: "No, and there's no sign of here, none. I went all the way out to the lake this morning, and I found this."
Mayor: "That's what I was afraid of."
Chanac: "People are beginning to talk about her disappearance."
Mayor: "If she doesn't turn up by tomorrow I'll call the police."
||Katya: "I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I'm a reporter from the Zlonkia (however you spell that) Daily News. I came to do a story." |
Townsperson #1: "What about?"
Katya: "On here."
Townsperson #1: "Ain't nothin' to write about."
Townsperson #2: "You can say that again!"
Townsperson #1: "Ain't nothin' to write about."
Chanac: "What kind of a story?"
Katya: "Let's say I would like an unusual little yarn about that weird lake of yours. Maybe there's a story in it. Who can tell me about the legends that grew up around it? You call it the 'Lake of'...the 'Lake of Ghosts.'"
||1945 Mayor: "You can't just go and leave all of those bodies behind you." |
Resistance Fighter: "We can't stay around here too much longer. There are two truckloads of Germans coming along this way."
1945 Mayor: "All the more. They'll kill everybody in the village if you leave them lying around."
Resistance Fighter: "We'll find something, but we've got to move out of here. We can't bury them, but we'll just throw them in the lake."
||Mayor: "We'd better face the fact: the zombies have declared war. Those two cops were skeptical. Our fate's now in our own hands. We must find a way to safeguard our town from the mad, murdering zombies!"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The Aqua Nazi Zombie Force emerges from the lake. If you look (and you don't have to look closely), you will notice that the bottom of the lake looks like somebody's pool that has a couple of aquarium plants and lily pads added to it.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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