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Zombie Lake (1981)

Le lac des morts vivants (original title)
Not Rated | | Horror | 13 May 1981 (France)
In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WW II, come back.


Jean Rollin (as J.A. Laser), Julian de Laserna (uncredited)


Julián Esteban (story) (as Julius Valery), Jesús Franco (as A.L. Mariaux)

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Complete credited cast:
Howard Vernon ... The Mayor
Pierre-Marie Escourrou Pierre-Marie Escourrou ... German Soldier (as Pierre Escourrou)
Anouchka Anouchka ... Helena
Antonio Mayans ... Morane (as Robert Foster)
Nadine Pascal Nadine Pascal ... Helena's Mother (as Nadine Pascale)
Youri Radionow Youri Radionow ... Chanac (as Youri Rad)
Bertrand Altmann Bertrand Altmann ... (as Burt Altman)
Gilda Arancio Gilda Arancio ... Blonde Girl Swimmer
Marcia Sharif Marcia Sharif ... Katya
Yvonne Dany Yvonne Dany ... (as Yvonne Dani)
Jean Rene Bleu Jean Rene Bleu ... (as Jean-René Bleu)
Jean Rollin ... Stiltz


In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WW II, come back. Written by Denis Ruckebusch <druckeb@mygale.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How Long Can You Hold Your breath? See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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France | Spain



Release Date:

13 May 1981 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Zombie Lake See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jesús Franco was planned to direct but was replaced by Jean Rollin at the very last minute. Rollin later said he deeply regretted having accepted as soon as he read the script. Jean Rollin felt so embarrassed by this film that he wouldn't admit for years he directed it, under the name J.A. Lazer. See more »


When the reporter and the mayor enter the study, the cameraman can be seen in a mirror. See more »


Morane: So, you think that ghosts killed them?
The Mayor: Yes, that is what I think.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Several of the scenes involving nudity were re-shot with the actresses wearing clothes. These alternate "clothed scenes" are included as extras on the Image Entertainment "EuroShock Collection" DVD. The alternate scenes are as follows:
  • The girl who goes skinny dipping at the beginning now swims in her underwear
  • The volleyball girls go into the lake wearing t-shirts and panties
  • The girl who runs into the pub now wears a revealing shirt instead of appearing topless
See more »


Referenced in Video Nasties: Draconian Days (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Father/daughter subplot is only reason to watch unless you're doing a doctoral thesis on the worst zombie films ever, in which case this is a necessary pit stop.
1 August 2006 | by Death_to_Pan_and_ScanSee all my reviews

This film can get pretty amusing at times in its ridiculousness. I gave it an extra point just for the subplot which while silly was an unusual touch that added something to this otherwise awful film.

Zombie fans often list this film as THE WORST zombie film ever (Jess Franco's Nazi zombie film "Oasis of the Zombies" is similarly categorized for its awfulness). There are equally bad and even worse zombie films, as hard as it may be to believe if you haven't seen them before this (shot on video backyard films like "Stink of Flesh" or Super8mm epics like "Dead Life" come to mind). Jean Rollin made a better not-quite-zombie story with the tainted vineyard plague film "Grapes of Death" which I recommend over this and which had vague similarity to Romero's "The Crazies". If you want a decent Nazi zombies film, check out Ken 'RotLD2' Wiederhorn's "Shock Waves" instead.

Now back to the bad movie at hand: This is a low point for Jean Rollin, a well-known Eurotrash filmmaker who made some visually interesting and atmospheric films, of which this is not one. The overwhelming amount of nudity here seems fairly typical for him (he did make some lesbian vampire films, after all) but the atmosphere does not remind me of other work of his I have seen. It took me a couple sittings to make it through this garbage, but it did have its moments. How many times have you seen zombies attempt hand to hand combat, even using a knife? Sadly there are not enough of these painfully silly moments to rescue this film to the 'so bad its good' list.

ZOMBIE MAKEUP: green hands & face paint with movie blood, which often washes off in underwater scenes which seem to be shot in a swimming pool with a greenish curtain backdrop.

DE-ANIMATION METHOD: Napalm them to dust with a flamethrower! ZOMBIE FEASTING?: these are what I call 'necking zombies'. They don't feast in traditional Romero or O'Bannon sense; they simply chew at necks and drink blood like they are pretend vampires. Their victims, however, do NOT turn into zombies.

STORY: During the OP credits we see an attractive woman strip down for a skinny dip in a lake like a bad attempt to recreate a scene out of 'Jaws' or 'Piranha'. She ignores a warning sign by knocking it over. It's not a simple 'no swimming' sign mind you, but a skull and crossbones that would seem to indicate some reasonable level of danger. Needless to say, she gets killed by a zombie. Another village woman gets killed and her father pays the mayor a visit wanting it investigated.

The mayor tells a visiting reporter about the haunted lake with some mumbo jumbo about black magic sacrifices being done there and Nazis killed by the local resistance whose bodies were dumped there for hiding. Now the Nazis are back as zombies killing locals.

A van packed with a girls' basketball team strips down for full frontal underwater footage (while indescribably bad cheesy music plays) and the girls are attacked by zombies whose makeup is coming off almost as quick as the girls' clothes did. Inept horror movie cops are dispatched to investigate.

***WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD*** There's a young girl whose daddy was a German soldier killed in a local battle right after her mommy died in her childbirth. Now daddy comes back from his watery grave to meet her and protects her from other zombies including being attacked by a knife-wielding zombie. Yes, you read that right! The zombies also attack villagers with sideways karate chops. Go figure.

Enlisted to help solve the locals' walking dead problem, the zombie's daughter asks for a whole lotta blood to set a trap for them, but she wants her daddy spared. Her guardian convinces her that daddy zombie WANTS to die (probably to escape from being trapped in this awful movie). During the final zombie rampage through town, the reporter follows a movie tradition of stupidly needing to get that all-important photo shot.

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