Zombie Lake (1981) Poster


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Another Z-movie Eurocine triumph
gavcrimson1 May 2000
The most seen (although not exactly appreciated) film of French producers Eurocine- responsible for numerous sex, horror, spy and adventure films. In their Seventies heyday Eurocine seemed like the illegitimate child of sensational pulp paperbacks of the Fifties and Sixties. Always put together cheaply and rough looking but always with great packaging, embracing the sort of lurid subjects that always grabbed the public's attention, if not their intelligence. With Zombie's Lake, subjects didn't come more sensational than `mad murdering Zombies' ogling and picking off semi-nude women. During the end of the Second World War, the French resistance manages to dispose of the local Nazis and throw their bodies into the lake of the title. The lake was previously used for witchcraft, so many years later the (green!) undead Nazi Zombies are rising from the lake, and chewing down on the most of Eurocine's repertory players including the director (putting in a cameo as a detective). Oh and you just have to mention their attack on the local female netball team, all of whom just love to go swimming naked in the lake, even though its possibly the most dirtiest lake ever committed to celluloid. On the side of the living are local villagers lead by the Mayor (the late, great Howard Vernon) who gets the immortal line `we better face the facts that the Zombies have declared war'. Along the way we're treated to some truly appalling makeup and lots of fun in watching drunken looking Frenchmen with green muck on their faces pretend to terrorise people. The films most notorious moment rests with the nude swimming scenes viewed from the Zombie's point of view at the bottom of the lake, and accompanied to Europop at its most wincing (`la, lala, lala la la'). Just to make your life that little more miserable, many versions of the film are missing all the nude scenes, being replaced by softer out-takes of the girls in ghastly ill- fitting underwear. Otherwise the bane of this prosperous films existence is the subplot a `touching' relationship between a little girl and her Nazi /Zombie dad. Largely unnecessary to the film although when you realise that the little girl (Anouchka Lesoeur) is the daughter of the producer it becomes obvious why its there. On a technical level the film is a nightmare, Eurocine in the best `recycled vinyl blues' tradition couldn't make a new hit film without recycling several others. Hence the main theme music is taken from Eurocine's Female Vampire, and the WW2 footage from a war film (Convoy of Girls aka The Depraved Third Reich to be precise). Backstage tales of how quick and cheap the movie was put together are legion - the original director Jesus Franco disappeared before the film started, leaving his replacement Rollin with a two week shooting schedule and a script he hadn't even read. Given these conditions that any aspect of the film is memorable is remarkable. Perhaps its better to view the film's merits- compared with its forgetable `cousin' The Oasis of the Zombies- the film Jesus Franco did make when the Eurocine producers caught up with him, which resurrects the Nazi Zombie theme as well as lots of recycled WW2 footage. Both remain the two directors worst commercial work, but Oasis is a stone dead boring 90 minutes, while Zombie's Lake is full of many absurd moments that keep the film from ever being dull and the green zombies are a hoot. Although only recommended to the truly die-hard the end results are a perversely entertaining last blast from the golden era of the European horror movie.
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Lost for words
Dockelektro24 January 2002
Really can't say anything clear about this movie because it just leaves me breathless. The laughter is a thing you won't be able to control on this atrociously awful turkey, where zombies are rapists, and lose their green make up behind the ears. Maybe they made this movie to see if they managed to make the worst movie ever, because it is a pretty good candidate to the title. This movie is probably the equivalent of used toilet paper, it looks as it's been made by a alcoholic butcher with the sexual appetite of a 18 year old. See it, it is absolutely unmissable, the crap is everywhere, and probably it was made on purpose: even the gunshots are out of sync! Don't miss the lake scenes, where the women are standing in a shallow water but the underwater shots show them swimming with water by their necks! Incredible piece of bad moviemaking, see it to believe that there are movies like this one!
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eminges30 December 2001
Worst zombie ever made? Not even close. Hunt down Joel Reed's magnificent Night of the Zombies. Watch it. Watch it again. Burn it and scatter the ashes. Then watch Zombie Lake.

Note that Zombie Lake has lovely shots of the scenic French countryside; educational underwater gynecological shots of an entire girls' basketball team; a recognizable sub-plot; one or two actors who can actually distort their faces into "expressions." Night of the Zombies has NONE of these, NONE.

Did I mention the underwater photography?

However, I understand that there are versions of Zombie Lake out there that lack both the amazing Sea Hunt sequence and many of the heartwarming nay-nay shots. Ha! That's like a special edition of GoodFellas with Joe Pesci edited out. You get one of these versions, you put up with it, you might as well write, "Please Don't Hurt Me" on your forehead in pink lipstick and check into the nearest Federal prison. Wuss. Gimp.
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The Toten Korp from Shock Waves left the rejects behind.
leagueofstruggle9 March 2004
To my knowledge there are technically three underwater Nazi zombie movies. The father of the other two is Shockwaves and really the only one worth viewing. An odd spin off from this film is Oasis of the Zombies and Zombie Lake. Le Lac des morts vivants (Zombie Lake) was a project with Jesus (Jess) Franco's involvement and directed by Jean Rollin. Although I personally am not too fond of Jean Rollin's work and definitely despise the hack work of Jess Franco, a man who has never made a movie that could keep me interested, I honestly couldn't believe Rollin had anything to do with this project. On the outset the movie is horrible, but not nearly horrible enough to keep Jess Franco from remaking the insipid piece of cinematic waste again as La Tumba de los muertos vivientes (Oasis of the Zombies), which had the more interesting moniker of The Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies at one time or another.

Jean Rollin apparently understands one standard of z-grade horror, if the movie you find yourself directing has not one single redeeming feature at all, just pad the movie with ample gratuitous nudity and most viewers will be so distracted they may not notice how horrible the film actually is. Modern directors should take note of this since 99 percent of horror films made after 1986 are boring and virtually unwatchable and won't go lowbrow because the director thinks he has integrity. Hint, if you're directing a lame, boring film that is going directly to video anyway and can't fix it or at least make it interesting you have no cinematic integrity.

Rant aside, Zombie Lake is loaded to the gills with naked woman that just throw caution (and their clothes) to the wind at the sight of this undead infested pond. Naturally the zombies swim around and eliminate all comers in a decidedly stiff and mostly bloodless fashion. The lake scenes are just awful and could well be used by film schools as a glaring example of how to completely destroy anything resembling film continuity. We have naked ladies splashing in knee-deep water. Cut to the zombies completely submerged walking under the girls' thrashing legs. Cut back to knee-deep water then back to them swimming and freely floating in ten feet of water above the zombies. Back and forth we cut between the lake shots and the underwater shots probably filmed in the deep end of Jess Franco's swimming pool. Add to this mixture horrible zombie makeup, dull acting, a plot scripted by a highly evolved plankton, Jess Franco, and you have all the trappings of a complete disaster of a film the has Jean Rollin's name on it. This film runs neck and neck with Oasis of the Zombies for being the worst zombie film ever. Oasis of the Zombies lacks even gratuitous nudity but has other redeeming qualities. Both movies are truly awful and even the cheese factor isn't high enough to warrant humorous jibes at it. Princesse de l'érotisme Christina (Virgin Among the Living Dead) is still worse than Zombie Lake by light years however and it is, you guessed it, another Jess Franco project. Fortunately the underwater Nazi zombie movie genre played itself out after just a few movies and actually should have ended with Shock Waves. Given with the state of Hollywood these days it should only be another year or so before Zombie Lake is remade by some flash in pan director that is completely devoid of any of his own ideas. It will probably be remade with a multi-million dollar budget and will still be awful or even worse than the original. Is that possible? Oh yes, very possible.
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Enjoyable, but why?
Joe Ebbasi22 April 2008
A thoroughly enjoyable film. The problem is that the gulf between director's intention and viewer enjoyment is massive. The notion that someone is presenting this film as an earnest and professional endeavour borders on the hysterical. A glance at the 'Goofs' section on this website only tells half the story. I've never witnessed so many actors clearly acknowledge the camera and grin sheepishly as in this. Most of the on screen appearances of crew and equipment mercifully passed me by but the use of a swimming pool for underwater lake footage was obvious enough, though forgivable. The dubbing is also a real treat, in particular the attempts to synchronise words with the actor's lip movements by stretching syllables in such a peculiar way that the characters often sound overly-contemplative and high on drugs. There is often lip movement that is not dubbed over, which only adds to the riotously amateurish feel. Female nudity seems to have been used as an attempted distraction from the painfully slow moving and incoherent narrative. The film opens with an attractive, bronzed mademoiselle skinny-dipping in the titular lake. There are utterly gratuitous underwater shots of between her legs which set the tone for the rest of the film, although we are not treated to quite such 'gynaecological' shots thereafter. Benny Hill and other such shameless slap-and-tickle content comes to mind, especially with the van-load of young girls (supposedly a female basketball team, although its doubtful basketball was popular enough amongst French women in the '50s to warrant a tour) who gaily strip to the bone and plunge into the lake's stagnant waters. There is something about the entire cast of characters and their behaviour that really jars. From the absurd way a group of men openly carry a dead woman through the village to leave her at the mayor's door to the bizarre behaviour of the two policemen who turn up to investigate the recent deaths in the area, one is left feeling that this is a wildly surreal collection of people in an equally surreal situation. The way the zombies repeatedly get in and out of the lake throughout is entirely inexplicable and seems only to have been scripted so that the flimsy narrative progression can be slotted artificially in between zombie-on-human encounters. Zombie behaviour is ludicrously erratic: they jerk down the road like alcoholics, lunging at people for the sake of the kill, then not bothering to eat their victims. The scene in which the zombies burst into the pub sees them more full of irritation and anger than any mindless lust for human blood – see the moment when a would be escapee's attempt to dash past the first zombie provokes a disciplinarian slap to the fellow's back. The very nature of the community that the zombies victimise is highly questionable. The population seem to look to the mayor as if he were some kind of endlessly wise deity, following every order he gives unquestioningly. Every newcomer to the village is directed straight to the mayor's odd castle-like home, as if he's the only one equipped to deal with the outside world. His exchanges with the stupid reporter are intended to be the intellectual element of the film, superstition versus science and all that baloney. When we hear him alluding to a type of fire that man cannot create we assume he means the fires of hell or something but when the reporter suggest napalm he reacts like it's the most logical and certain solution to the zombie problem he has ever heard! So they proceed to dust off the old flamethrower that every small French village has lying around somewhere and lure the zombies into a barn where they can incinerate them. We then see some shoddy replicas of the zombies being flamed, while the time of the day alternates wildly outside. The inclusion of a sub-plot revolving around the illegitimate offspring of a villager and one of the Nazi soldiers who subsequently became a zombie is a freakishly misguided attempt at an emotionally involving thread to the main 'story'. When/if you finish watching this film, pause for a moment and try to recall any of the characters' names. Chances are you won't be able to. This is mainly to do with the fact very few characters are endowed with a name, something symptomatic of the film's downright amateurism. I will probably watch this film at least five more times in my lifetime because it is a thoroughly entertaining, incoherent mishmash. This does not however excuse the people who made it, as there can be no doubt they were attempting to pass this off as legitimate cinema entertainment. It is similar to the way you might enjoy someone falling down a flight of stairs as they descend them in order to show you their awful new clothes.
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Extremely enjoyable when you´re in a drunk condition!
DJ Inferno17 February 2002
Jean Rollin´s ("The Living Dead Girl") "Zombie Lake" is a giant laughfest, however a very entertaining one! The story (Yeah, what story?!?) is about a squad of German Gestapo soldiers who were killed by a bunch of French partisans and afterwards sank in a lake. Twelve years later they rise as living dead and take merciless revenge... As I said, a very cheesy flick, because the quality of this film is on not higher than amateurish level: the zombie´s faces were painted with green color, the acting is a joke, the camera is permanently wobbling and the location also could be the dump where I´m living in! The main attraction is when a bus of young chicks arrives at the lake, the girls take off their clothes, rush into the water and then get munched by the dead one by one! Absolutely hilarious!! You don´t have to wonder when you´ll notice that the script was written by sleaze master Jess Franco..! However, the liked the underwater shots and the WW2-flashback was well-executed, too! Finally another great party movie, extremely enjoyable when you´re drunk, and an absolute icon of bad taste!!!
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Hilarious Horror-Trash by Eurocine
Claudio Carvalho9 July 2012
In World War II, in a small village in France vanquished by the German army, a local woman has a love affair with one soldier and they have a daughter, Helena. One day, the German soldiers are ambushed and killed by the French Resistance and their bodies are thrown into a lake.

Ten years later, the soldiers become an army of undead attacking the locals. The Mayor, who was part of the resistance, organizes a posse with a flamethrower, to destroy the living dead, and uses the girl Helena to help them.

"Le Lac des Morts Vivants" is another hilarious low-budget horror-trash by Eurocine from the 70's and 80's recently released in Brazil on DVD with attractive cover. Everything is absurd in this film, from the story and screenplay to the direction, acting, make-up and cinematography (the exception are the underwater scenes); but controversially I have enjoyed and had lots of fun watching this trash. Although not responsible for the direction, the touch of Jesus Franco is visible. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): "O Lago dos Zumbis" ("The Zombie's Lake")
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Boring and trashy...
WritnGuy-218 September 1999
Warning: Spoilers
After much curiosity about this film, I rented it for a weekly movie night with a friend of mine. I even told her, "This is going to be bad, but we should just see it." So we popped it in as the first movie of the night (the suspected worst goes first)and sat back to watch the cheese.

By the end, I was wondering what the hell this movie was trying to do. In the beginning minute, even before the credits are over, a woman is completely nude and sunbathing and skinny-dipping. And you aren't spared of any of her. And it was sort of creepy with the zombie coming out and killing her. (Like that wasn't obvious.)

From then on, it gets really weird and boring. The chief of police in the small village near the lake keeps trying to figure out some mysteries of the woman's death, and a journalist comes to town to do a story about the lake. And then there's this way too long flashback of the story of the lake, but still, nothing is explained, and then a women's volleyball team gets to the lake and gets naked before getting killed off, all except one who gets away in a pair of short-shorts.

Then the whole movie goes into this timid versian with this little girl and her zombie father. It gets worse and worse until the boring climax and "tearful" ending. Avoid this if you are looking for a horror movie. If you want unending scenes of female nudity and a completely boring porno-like movie, then get this. You will be pleased. But overall, this movie is terrible, and should have been left in France.
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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.
Death_to_Pan_and_Scan1 August 2006
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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Night of the Living Brain Dead Rip-Offs
capkronos4 May 2003
Let's clear one thing up first, if you want a good zombie horror movie then go rent something else. If you are looking for nonstop naked Euro babes and unintentional laughs in the form of terrible dubbing and FX, then look no further. Considering director Jean Rollin isn't exactly a hack and has made quite a few interesting and stylish horror films, why does THIS have to his best-circulated film in America?

Here's a taste of what you're in for gang...

Nazi soldiers shot and killed during WWII rise from a lake and terrorize the citizens of a picturesque, small French town. The green-faced flesheater make-up could easily be the worst ever. It opens with a very long segment featuring a naked woman walking around, sunbathing, then swimming. Zombie POV shots show her doggy paddling around for what seems to be an hour before she is pulled under. In another scene, a zombie stalking a woman has normal hands, but when he attacks and kills her his hands are suddenly green. My favorite part is when an all-girl basketball team arrive in a van ("Come on out girls! HAHA!"), strip naked and splash around in the lake. Underwater shots capture them from all angles before they get killed. Howard Vernon, Europe's answer to John Carradine, stars as a mayor who tells a reporter in flashback the fate of the zombie soldiers. OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981) has a similar theme and was made by the same crew, but different director (Jesus Franco). Both are insufferably terrible!

Score: 1 out of 10
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Zombies + boobs = fun?
Torgo_Approves8 October 2006

This movie is schlock of the highest order, but you'd expect that the copious amounts of nudity would save it, right? Wrong! If you want nudity, rent a porno - a film like "Debbie Does Dallas" is likely to be better acted, scripted, and directed than Le Lac des morts vivants, a.k.a. Zombie Lake. This is a tedious hackwork. I knew it was going to be crap when I saw it, but I figured, it's got lots of 80's babes going skinny dipping, so how bad can it be? The answer was: extremely bad. This is a new low in zombie movies, and quite possibly the worst of its kind. Yes, I said it: 'Zombie Lake' is worse than 'House of the Dead'. At least the latter had a tiny, tiny bit of entertainment value. This is dreary, overlong, and just plain dull! It's the movie equivalent of Ben Affleck. It's like a Bergman movie without the fun.

The plot concerns a zombie dad who looks like a cross between Edward Scissorhands and The Mask. He rises from his watery grave to search for his daughter, who was supposedly born during the second world war but must have suffered some kind of disease that caused her to stop aging for about 30 years. Sound like fun yet? Good, because that's as much plot as you're gonna get. This movie might be worth watching for the nekkid women, but I just barely got through it once and you should be either drunk, stoned, very horny and alone, or all of the above before attempting to tackle this atrocity.

The eighties, man, the eighties. Those were the days. Only then could you build an entire movie around the subject of boobies. Wow.
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Unoriginal and basically unwatchable
metalrage66616 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
There are so many things wrong with this trash that throwing an entire thesaurus of negativity at it still wouldn't come close to describing how painfully slow and terrible this is.

Basically, (by way of a flashback story), a bunch of Nazis are killed by the French resistance in world war 2 and their bodies are disposed of in a nearby lake. Roll credits please.

Anyway for no other reason apart from a pathetic script, these deceased soldiers are now zombies because of, oh who knows why, let's just say why the hell not and save on logic. These zombies decide to come to life several years or maybe decades later with green face paint, still brand new looking uniforms, ridiculous expressions and they start to take their revenge on some travelling female sports team who decide to get naked and go frolicking in the titular lake. So queue the back up team left over from Shock Waves to suddenly surface at this point and pull the naked screaming girls to a watery grave.

Somehow and seemingly much, much later, all these dead dudes are corralled in a warehouse or mill of some kind, it's burnt to the ground by local townspeople, take bath with toaster, kill self, the end!

I could make random guesses on why this got made, voodoo, gypsy curse maybe, director caught sleeping with boss' wife, who knows; maybe when this crap was being made they were attempting some kind of weird zombie/porn crossover cult film and failed dismally. Even with all the naked underwater shots and inappropriate zombie gropings going on, nothing except fire, lots and lots of heaven sent holy fire can save us from this.....whatever this is.

If you really want to punish yourself then watch this. If you really hate somebody at work, it becomes the perfect secret Santa gift.
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Zombie Lake/Swimming Pool.
BA_Harrison19 September 2012
Jean Rollin replaced Jess Franco as director of Zombie Lake at the 11th hour, but to be honest, you would be hard pushed to tell: Rollin's direction is every bit as clumsy as Franco at his worst, and like so many of the Spaniard's films, the film is only worth watching for the full-on nudity from some quality Euro-crumpet and a few unintentional laughs derived from its overall sloppiness.

Zombie Lake opens with a hot brunette sauntering over to the film's titular lake for a spot of skinny dipping, during which she is attacked by a zombie Nazi sporting green face paint that only extends as far as his jawline. The scene is gore-less, scare-less and technically inept (the underwater scenes having been filmed in what looks like a cunningly disguised swimming pool), but it does allow Rollin's audience to become very well acquainted with the girl's genitalia.

The sneaky vag shots and lame zombie attacks continue throughout the film, the lake continually drawing fit French fillies to its waters to frolic in the buff—and when the naked chicks are on screen, all's right with the world; but whenever Rollin tries conjure up a creepy atmosphere, scare his viewers, or inject some drama into proceedings, it all goes horribly wrong, becoming a painfully embarrassing and dreary exercise in how not to make a zombie film.

3 out of 10, all points awarded purely for the T&A, best scene being the arrival at the lake of an all-female basketball team, who strip off for a refreshing dip with inevitably disastrous results.
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What was that?
bensonmum24 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
  • A group of Nazi soldiers are gunned down by the locals in a small French village. Deciding they must hide the bodies as quickly as possible, the dead Nazis are thrown into the local lake. Twelve years later, several young females either go missing or turn up dead. Could it be the legend the locals call "The Ghost of the Lake"? The Nazis have come back as zombies to seek their revenge on the people of the village.

  • There are a lot of bad movies, but Zombie Lake must surely be near the top of the heap. To start with, the pacing is non-existent. The movie gets off to a snails pace and goes downhill from there. By the time the flashback sequence rolls around, things come to a grinding halt. The acting is just as bad. I would be amazed to learn that anyone other than Howard Vernon ever had much of a career in acting.

  • There are scenes in Zombie Lake that will amaze and astound. Some of the more memorable moments include:

* Zombies with ever changing skin color. When the zombies first emerge from the lake, the skin color is almost normal. Within a matter of minutes, the zombies are a fluorescent green. In some scenes, the whole head and neck are green. In the blink of an eye, only the face is green. * Zombies have feelings too. The sight of the love sick zombie staring hopefully at the house of his former lover is almost too much to take. * Zombies make good fathers. As if the love sick zombie wasn't enough, imagine a green faced zombie walking down the street holding his little girl's hand. * Boots are fascinating. The movie gives us several minutes of shots of zombie boots stumbling along a path. At first, they go left. Next, they go right. The excitement was almost more than I could take. * 12 year old girls are the best defense against zombies. Of course no one in the village except the little girl has the slightest idea of how to kill the zombies. * Zombies pull knives on each other. Watching two zombies roll around on the ground as they try to stab each other is one of the most amazingly ridiculous sights I've ever seen. They should have asked the 12 year old girl about how to fight a zombie. * There's so much more, but you get the idea.

  • The ineptitude on display is amazing. But, then again, the movie was directed by Jean Rollin and co-written by Jesus Franco. I don't know why anyone would expect any better.

  • Even though I've rated Zobmie Lake a 1/10, I still recommend the movie to anyone with a stomach for bad cinema. This movie really must be seen to be believed.
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Schlockiness at its finest.
groatski24 January 2004
A must-see for WWII militaria collectors, reenactors, and historians. Watch this around a big screen TV with a bunch of your buddies and lots of beer and you'll laugh your asses off, then bury the tape in the back yard and never see it again.

Brief plot: A group of Nazi soldiers in Italy are killed by the local resistance and dumped into a lake, but not before one of them impregnates a local girl. The soldiers 'somehow' emerge from the lake several years later as zombies and start killing off naked babes.

The movie is impossible to take seriously. The total budget of the film was probably $75, including the tape in the camera. It was like a bunch of teenage boys with a weekend to kill got hold of a video camera and said, 'Hey, I got a bunch of old Swedish uniforms. Let's pin swastikas to them, paint our faces green, and walk around like Frankenstien with a load in his pants while pulling topless women into the lake.' The fact that it was filmed in French and dubbed (poorly) into English only adds to the schlockiness.

I only hope that the director had as much fun making this film as I did watching it, because I pity them if they thought they were cranking out competent cinema.
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24526 December 1999
Zombie Lake is the american release title, but it would be more fitting if it was "Slow People With Green Face Paint Pond." I am the biggest fan of zombies that I have ever met, I really love almost all movies with zombies, but this one is so incredibly rotten that I'm sure the cast even hated it. The plot (if you want to call it that) deals with Nazi-zombies that just happen to be hiding in a "lake" and one day start attacking people, but it's not as cool as it sounds. The director, Rollin, who surprisingly has done some good movies, tries to make up for this junk by adding lots of nudity. If you're looking for a good zombie movie, try Zombie, and if you're looking for a good 'bad' movie, try something by Ed Wood, avoid this, it cost me.75c to rent it, and I felt ripped off.
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The art of awfulness (big spoilers)
Coventry4 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Pardon me for truly loving this piece of unnameable garbage! In case you expected that this collaboration between a team of euro-exploitation experts would have resulted in a must-see schlock adventure, you'll certainly feel cheated. Zombie Lake in fact is nothing but a cheap excuse to show naked chicks and to get a piece of the profitable 'underwater Nazi-zombies' pie (if that even is a sub genre description). Jean Rollin, who received an immense cult-status thanks to his overrated lesbian vampire flicks, directed this lovely junk while living-legend Jess Franco was co-responsible for the script (what script?!?). Now, both eminent icons insert their own typical style elements, but the wholesome simply is a giant turkey, impossible to sit through in case you're not familiar with the art of Z-movies. The two-line synopsis of Zombie Lake is yet promising: The famous lake near a small French village is congested with a squadron of Nazi Zombies that were killed by local vigilantes during the war. Twelve years later, they rise from the depths to settle the score. Granted, it's cheesy and overdone but a premise like this is guaranteed to deliver fun! Too bad Rollin inserts a dull sub-plot about an emotional zombie (?) who discovers he has an unofficial daughter in the village. The prominent negative elements are obvious: atrocious acting, laughable plot and terrible make-up effects (apparently, French zombies turn completely green-faced) but – to me personally – it are the little stupidities that make this production so awfully hilarious. It's nearly impossible to sum up them all but here's a short anthology of the most "memorable" idiocy, anyway: (SPOILERS – of course)

  • During a flashback sequence, we see an airborn attack on the village and there's a local beauty running towards the middle of a meadow where she then stops to scream hysterically… Run for shelter, woman!!!

  • During the first zombie-rampage, a very young girl (I doubt she's old enough to appear naked, by the way) is attacked while taking a bath…in the middle of nowhere! She's just bathing next to a cornfield with no house in sight!

  • While developing a plan to destroy the zombies, a 12-year-old girl is telling the mayor how things will be done! And she doesn't take no for an answer…Quite an authority figure, this mayor - In order to distract the zombies, they're offered a bucket of blood to drink from. First of all, I didn't realize zombies drink blood… And even better is the fact that they're kindly waiting their turn for drinking blood from a mug!!

  • Last but not least there's the obliged group-nudity sequence! And it's a real good one in Zombie Lake, ladies and gentlemen. A van filled with female basketball players arrives at the lake and they spontaneously strip for a swim. Giggling for no reason and motivating each other to go wild. The voyeuristic underwater camera-work also make it lean close to pornography, by the way.

If you like bad cinema, look no further. Zombie Lake really triumphs on every level. Normally, I have some positive aspects to mention but I can't find any here no matter how hard I try. The music is okay, but that's because it's a recycled soundtrack from at least 10 other exploitation classics. And, even though he acts just as bad as everyone else, it was nice to see Howard Vernon again. This Jess Franco regular appeared in over a hundred trashy films, but this is by far the most embarrassing thing he ever was involved in. In case you have a healthy dose of humor, this film is warmly recommended. In case you only swear by films like "Citizen Kane" …avoid!
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Just another piece of zombie trash
chuckm7616 March 2009
I say just another, it's definitely one of the worst. Jesus Franco should be dragged out into the street and shot, then when he comes back as a zombie shot in the head and set on fire to make sure he doesn't come back. I hate his movies, I really don't know why I bother watching them but I feel I have to just in case he proves me wrong. He never does, 100% of the time. That's some going. Please, please don't bother watching this unless you already know you like this kind of Euro garbage. Anyone looking for a real zombie movie please look somewhere else and don't judge the whole genre on these movies. Just make sure you avoid it, if it has anything to do with Jesus Franco!!
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not much to say except....
masamuneblue31 May 2007
I watched this one night with a few mates drunk and ended up talking all the way thru it.I remember one of my friends trying to tell us rollin was a god and fulci had never made anything as mad as...you guessed it ZOMBIE LAKE!! One of my mates said it's like being at a festival on magic mushrooms. I just bought it on ebay for my sins and having just watched it i have to say if you can sit thru this one,you can sit thru anything.Having said that i have been bored to death by most of Jesus franco's trips and jean rollin.Living dead girl is slighty better than this fiasco but only just...only just!!! Avoid it or for the sake of owning it dig it out on ebay for a nostalgic trip
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Absolutely dreadful zombie flick.
HumanoidOfFlesh21 February 2005
Somewhere in France there is a small village.Near it there is a lake which contains several undead Nazi soldiers.These Nazis were killed at some point during World War II by the French resistance and the bodies were dumped into the lake.For reasons unknown to us the zombies finally rise out of the lake and the mayhem begins."Zombie Lake" is basically an excuse to show plenty of young,attractive women completely naked.Of course being a big fan of sleazy exploitation I'm not complaining about that.However the list of flaws is very long:the makeup of the zombies is atrocious,the direction is painfully bad,the music is horrible and there are several scenes that were put into the film that make no sense whatsoever.So if you are a fan of truly bad Z-grade Euro-trash cinema give this one a look.However Jean Rollin's lesbian vampire flicks are much better than this hilarious piece of garbage.3 out of 10.
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All our pasts will come to haunt us.
plan9-1011 April 2006
Zombie Lake has a story line that could have realised a dark sinister atmosphere. A small French village plagued by its war torn past, namely the brutal execution of a band of fleeing German soldiers. The past hauntingly returns to the village in the form of zombie German soldiers who rest beneath the waters of the village lake, their bodies being cast there during the Second World War by the villagers. With beautiful scenery and a background of an idyllic life style this contrast with zombie revenge could of lead to an enjoyable film, the same quality of Fulci's Zombie. However, Zombie Lake fails to fulfil any of the above qualities. First, the makeup for the zombies consists of green paint; green paint not even fully applied to the backs of heads. Second, there is a musical score that drove me mad. Third, yes the acting was pitiable. Putting these three elements together results in a film with no tension, no atmosphere and a strong desire by the viewer to get to the end of the film. What a shame.
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Benefit of the Doubt
Uriah439 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Rather than beating around the bush I'm just going to be brutally frank and say that this is a very bad movie. As a matter of fact, I only know of a couple of zombie films which are worse. At least as of this writing. It has bad acting, a bad plot, bad action sequences, bad character development, a bad musical score, bad special effects and bad dialogue. Basically, if you can name it--it was bad. And that's the brutal truth of the matter. That said, there are also some things that might need to be taken under consideration. The dialogue for example. While it was definitely bad, it was also originally in another language so it is quite possible that some things were understated or missed in translation. Another factor to consider is that this movie was filmed in 1981 on what was probably a very small budget. As a result the cost for the special effects was probably minimal and the results reflected this. Likewise, there didn't seem to be any award-winning actors in this movie which leads me to believe that the makers of this film had to settle for whoever they could afford. And quite often you get what you pay for. Be that as it may, there were two noticeable features in this film that I thought were worth mentioning. First, there were a lot of scenes with nude females. Unfortunately, none of the scenes were really that interesting. At least I didn't think so. But one thing I did like were the scenes where the Nazi soldiers came from out of the lake. But that was about it. In summation, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and rate it slightly higher than it probably deserves but unless you're a die-hard zombie enthusiast I wouldn't waste my time on this one.
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Rock Bottom For Jean Rollin
gavin694212 February 2013
In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WW II, come back.

The story was written by Jess Franco, although I am not sure how much thought had to go into this one. The film was directed by Jean Rollin (who was ashamed of his own work), and the opening scene pushes even his casual attitude towards female nudity to its limits. They both have a respectable career to some degree... not sure how this ended up on their resume.

Almost no effort was put into the Nazi zombies, who are just guys with a little green makeup smeared on their face. I can do a better makeup job in my bathroom, and they do not ask me to do effects for horror films. The people who were behind this should not be proud.

This ranks pretty low on the "Nazi zombie" scale, behind "Dead Snow" and "Shock Waves", and even behind another Jess Franco film "Oasis of the Zombies". This is, indeed, among the worst...
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If your gonna make a movie about underwater zombies you should really use makeup that does not wash off so easily.
Aaron137520 November 2010
Let me just say that the poster of this movie has better zombie action than anything within this rather strange and bizarre zombie film. Suffice to say if I had paid more than the 6.99 for it, I would have been rather ticked off. Still, while it was horrible to say the least, it did contain some really good nudity which is the only reason I gave this one a two. I like nudity and I am not going to pretend the shots of the ladies underwater was not like totally great in an otherwise abysmal film. The story though had something going for it, I do enjoy a water setting for my horror and I like the idea of zombies emerging from a lake to kill people and drain them of blood. Just like I enjoyed the far superior "Shock Waves", now that one was completely awesome and was good enough story wise and in how it was presented that it did not have to resort to nudity. This one though was done badly, it is a car that is in need of a major overhaul and it could have worked. Heck, if they simply made it an adult film it may have worked, but they try to make it a bit to serious in places and near the end it is so bland and sentimental you almost forget the many girl basketball team that gets nude and attacked with the lighthearted music while they splashed each other. I would start by throwing out the entire subplot of the zombie reuniting with his daughter, also if you have Nazi zombies you do not make them sympathetic characters, they are Nazis make them bad like the crew from "Shock Waves" who needed no blood, or flesh for sustenance, but killed just because they could. Add more nudity, seriously there was a lot, but after this outdoor bathing scene all the nudity vanished and you were left with like twenty minutes of how to kill said zombies. Also, I would say do a better job with the makeup, seriously they have a flashback with all these explosions. Save the money on explosions and use this to enhance your zombies. There is so much more to be done to make it good, to much to list, but like I said the nudity was good, I especially liked the opening. Also, I liked the idea of zombies rising out of the lake. I can not believe in a book I read they said they thought "Burial Ground" was the epitome of bad zombie movies, and I think they mentioned this one. That movie was bad, but a very fun to watch bad. Other than the nude scenes this one was boring. The zombies were a lot better in that one too as were the gore effects. All the gore effects in this one consisted of the dudes playing the zombies having fake blood in their mouths and then drooling it upon their victims necks. Just a bad movie for the most part with its only redeeming quality being something that is not going to appeal to everyone.
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Poorer for the fact it rips off another
Gary1 May 2008
I got this movie confused with another, as they both were made within 4 years of one another! Mind due how was i to know that TWO low budget films had been made about zombie Nazi's rising from the water!! This film might have lots of nudity-but even frat-aged pubescent boys will groan at this trash. This was made in 1981 but the better film made in 1977 deserves a watch. Starring Peter Cushing of all people, it had various names, Shock Waves, Almost Human and Death Corps! It is much netter, still cheap and daft-but I remember it being quite effective. If this kind of thing floats your boat then see the new "Outpost" film released this year (2008), its rather good!
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