Zombies’ Lake

I’ve seen this film listed as Zombie Lake but the copy I’m watching is titled Zombies’ Lake so I’ll go with that ss the title.  It was actually originally released as Le Lac des Morts Vivants as in the poster below.

zombie lake posterTHE POSTER:
It’s pretty brilliant. I love the painted style of old movie posters and how campy they can be. The rotted face of the zombie with his eyes building out definitely doesn’t seem quite as menacing as it’s meant to. It’s more of a goofy bug-eyed guy looking at some boobs.

THE GOOD:
It opens with an incredibly beautiful woman stripping down naked to do some sun bathing and other girly things that happen when women are left to run wild. Of course we know what happens to beautiful naked women in horror movies . . . that’s right kids! They get attacked by whatever is in the lake thus setting the story in motion.

In this case the thing in the lake is the reanimated corpse of a nazi. I should mention the film is set in France. This guy didn’t rot down there all that time and comes out of the lake ready to feed and he has a whole bunch of his friends with him.

Added to that is the fact that this being a joint French and Spanish movie there is plenty of sex. So much so it’s very nearly a soft core porn for its time. In context the mix of violence, nazis and sex would have been a bit on the edge so I can see how horror movies of the time got the sort of rep they did.

THE BAD:
– Just as the zombie action has started up a reporter shows up to start investigating why the lake is called the lake of ghosts or the lake of the damned and she just so happens to have a book with her about the occult.

Yeah, no. Sorry. Not buying it. That’s too much of a coincidence.

She finds out through a rather long flashback to the war that the resistance tossed a number of nazi soldiers in the lake all those years ago explaining for the viewer what the hell is going on in this movie.

– The opening scene of the young woman stripping down for a swim is repeated more gratuitously later in the movie with an entire basketball team of girls. One of them escapes the slaughter and runs half naked into town, into the pub and has just enough time to scream out “The Lake!” before passing out on a table, tits out, surrounded by men. It’s a ridiculously cheap excuse to show a little nudity that seems more like something out of a slapstick comedy than a horror movie. As near as I know this movie doesn’t have a a sequel but as sequels tend to show us the same things only on a grander scale, repeating the exact same scene as the opening sequence is kind of like watching the movie and the sequel at the same time.

– During the flashback we learn that one of the nazis was having an affair with a local girl. We soon learn that she had a daughter who is living in the town and is at oldest about 12 years old or so. But the movie was put out in 1981. At very least the girl should be about 35.  Oddly this isn’t the only time I’ve seen this sort of time discrepancy in a nazi zombie movie. It also popped up in Oasis of the Zombies. Interestingly enough the director of that movie was the first one offered the roll of director of this movie.

We also see a visit to the girl by her dead father, who strokes her hair and gives her the medallion once worn by her mother. At no time is the little girl even remotely scared by what for all accounts is a man she has never seen and knows nothing about just walking into her room and who also just happens to be a long-dead corpse.

– There is only one way to destroy the zombies! Only the end of the world and the fiery apocalypse will destroy them outright. Oh, that and napalm. Napalm works great. Come on. Your only two choices are the fiery destruction of all existence or some petroleum jelly on fire. Kind of a wide scale don’t you think?

THE UGLY:
The music is pretty horribly dated. It goes back and forth between a 60’s sort of sing-song to a relaxed little piece that easily puts you to sleep. There’s also the more effective zombie theme. It’s not as bad as the other pieces but bad enough.

The makeup for these nazi zombies has them painted green which seems a bit silly. They look more like aliens on Star Trek than real corpses.

Still, I ended up not hating this movie but I doubt I would ever watch it again.

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Mike Kloran

Educational Designer from Brooklyn New York. I'm a teacher, an artist, an athlete and constantly doing, making, drawing, creating! It's a busy life but I'm doing what I love and that's what matters most to me!

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