Zombie Lake (Le lac des morts vivants )

by on Mar.25, 2010, under Daily Review

The last time I watched this film was back in the late 80’s. I remember it being a difficult film to watch, due to it’s slow pace, bad acting and dreadful makeup effects, but watching it today has been a revelation. How wrong could I have been back then? Or maybe my tastes have matured? Or maybe I just watch too many films that are even worse than Zombie Lake!

Jess Franco script, shot by Jean Rollin. Euro sleaze doesn’t get better than this. From the opening title sequence, we are offered an unashamed sequence of a naked sunbathing lady, deciding to take a dip in the lake, she is attacked by a slippery wet Nazi Zombie. This is the basic setting for the film premise. Naked girls, Nazi zombies and a beautiful idyllic French lake, complete with water lily. The background plot is offered through flashback. French resistance attack and murder a Nazi squadron, drowned in a watery unholy grave. Now they are back for revenge.

The film is easy to watch and enjoy once you get past the budget. There is little in the way of Zombie make up, and not too much gore, but we have a nice looking film with heart and character. Actors are dedicated to the film, although many are unskilled in the art. Rollin works well with Franco’s script which balances the massacre of naked girls with a long lost father from the lake, returning to see his daughter through zombie eyes. A camper full of chicks is one highlight, as they dive into the lake to cool off, only to be met by the marauding troop, to meet their death. It isn’t long into the film before the Nazi’s are stomping around the French village, causing bother and surprisingly finding naked women all over the place.

You can see Zombie Lake as a huge influence on Død Snø, although, no lake in that film. Another cool point to mention is the underwater scenes which are quite eerie and very well filmed. A scene later on is also truly atmospheric as the troops surround the defending villagers, the local Mayor (Howard Vernon) takes shots with a pistol at the on coming, stumbling figures. Great stuff. Creepy soundtrack too.


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