ZOMBIE LAKE (LE LAC DES MORTS VIVANTS)
(director: Jean Rollin; screenwriters: A.L. Mariaux, J. Esteban, Jesús Franco; cinematographer: Max Monteillet; editors: Claude Gros/María Luisa Soriano; music: Daniel White; cast: Howard Vernon (The Mayor), Pierre-Marie Escourrou (German Soldier), Anthonio Mayans (Morane), Anouchka (Helena), Nadine Pascal (local French woman), Jean Rollin (Stiltz), Marcia Sharif (Katva), Gilda Arancio (Blonde Girl Swimmer), Youri Rad (Chanac); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Daniel White/Marius Lesoeur; Kino (Eurocine); 1981-France-in French with English subtitles)
“It has attracted the attention of film buffs who love certain kinds of bad films.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A 1981 trashy French film about Nazi zombies directed by sleazy cult filmmaker Jean Rollin (“The Iron Rose”/”Dracula’s Fiancee”/”Two Orphan Vampires”) as if were an amateur film. It has attracted the attention of film buffs who love certain kinds of bad films, and this one is one of their favorites. Rollin felt so embarrassed by this terrible film he wouldn’t admit for years he directed it under the name J.A. Lazer. The screenplay by A.L. Mariaux, J. Esteban, and Jesús Franco is about Nazis drowned during the Second World War who rise with green faces from a lake in France and intimidate the local naked lady swimmers.
In 1974 a green-faced zombie in a German military uniform drags to her death a naked girl swimming in a lake (known as ‘the lake of ghosts’) outside a small French town. The girl’s disappearance alerts the village mayor (Howard Vernon). Things get heavier when a second girl, doing laundry at the lake, is attacked viciously by the zombie, who tears her throat out with his teeth and leaves her corpse by the lake. When the news of the attack spreads, newspaper reporter Katya (Marcia Sharif) arrives. The mayor reluctantly grants the reporter an interview. He informs her under German occupation the town was bombed. During the attack a Nazi soldier (Pierre-Marie Escourrou) threw himself on a young French woman (Nadine Pascal) to protect her life. Afterwards they became secret lovers and in 1944 she had his child Helena (Anouchka). Before the Germans could return home, The Resistance ambushed them and tossed their bodies in the lake. When all the zombies come out of the lake in the 1974 we have a large-scale war initiated by them against the town.
You’re a real fan of such crap if you don’t mind the details being screwed-up, as we now have the impossibility of Helena meeting in 1974 her undead dad as an 11-year-old instead of at her correct age of thirty. What the hell, I guess, there’s probably no film that’s perfect.
REVIEWED ON 1/4/2016 GRADE: C-