Zombie Lake [Le lac des morts vivants] (1981) Review

Pictured not zombies and not a lake

Zombie Lake is a very strange film indeed and watching it prompts the same feeling of bizarre confusion at what you are witnessing as if you were looking at a real life lake of zombies in real life except much, much, much less scary and real.

Being called Zombie Lake or actually Le lac des morts vivants (The Lake of the Living Dead) to give it its original title you would think the plot would be simplistic. There is a lake and in it are zombies, simple right?

Somehow however Nazi’s and nudity get involved, lots of Nazi’s and lots of nudity. Also the zombies are described as ghosts and they bite peoples necks and drink blood so they are vampires too. Really the film should be called Nazi Zombie Ghost Vampire Lake versus Nudie Girls which is ultimately a far better title if I do say so myself.

Set in a French village Nazi Zombie Ghost Vampire Lake versus Nudie Girls sorry Zombie Lake opens very much how you would expect a film combining horror and porn would do with a nubile young lady stripping off by aforementioned lake to sun bath and then go skinny dipping and unsurprisingly getting attacked by a bright green Nazi zombie.

Turns out everyone in the village knows about the perils of the lake moreover it’s so famous to them they all call it the lake of the dammed as strange scary shit has been happening there since the dawn of the baguette however they don’t feel the need to signpost it or tell visiting nudist tourists which seems slightly unfriendly behavior considering the trouble it causes them.

All in all the date had gone well thought Terry and he would definitely use Tinder again.

Worst of all in this conspiracy of stupidity and silence is the lazy and completely irresponsible Mayor (Howard Vernon) who seems to be attempting to win some sort of award for the most terrible mayor in cinema history (his biggest competitor being Mayor Larry Vaughn from Jaws) by ignoring the constant water and undead related murders until the townsfolk have to literally dump the most recent scantily clad female victim on the steps on his office.

AKA Nazi Zombie Ghost Vampire Lake versus Nudie Girls (in my head anyway)

Added to the frequent arrival of young women allergic to clothing and attracted to large bodies of water with reanimated bodies in them a troublesome reporter Katya Moore (Marcia Sharif) has come to the village to get the scoop on this soaking wet supernatural phenomenon.

Cue back story in an extended flashback 10 years previous during WWII and the Nazi zombies are living Nazi’s attempting to occupy the village. One nice Nazi takes some time out from being part of the most villainous and ruthless army in history to save a local woman from gunfire and the odd couple copulate in a hay barn producing a baby girl which kills the mother in childbirth unintentionally.

As if things weren’t going badly enough for him what with being a Nazi and losing the war unluckily the terribly polite and sensitive military man is killed along with his squadron by the townsfolk including the Mayor who ambush them and dump them in the legendary lake of the dammed because why would anything bad happen after doing that?

So the lake dwelling zombie Nazi’s (which are also ghosts and vampires remember) lead by this pleasant swastika wearing solider are back for revenge on the terrible evil French resistance who killed them, liberated the village from them and stopped them enslaving their tiny hamlet and populace under Hitler’s oppressive regime which was totally what they were there to do as well as get some sex with the locals, wait a minute are the Nazi’s supposed to be the heroes here? Man this is mixed up!

“So we all agree chuck them in the lake of the dammed, whats the worse that can happen right?”

As badly organized and insanely plotted as the story is it is in keeping with every other element of Zombie Lake which is a shambling mess from the terrible sound recording to the shaky camera work to the god awful acting to the clumsy unbelievable script to everything else which is all crap.

Special mention goes to the make-up which is abysmal as is the gore in fact it looks like the crew went to a local fate and asked the nice lady from the newsagents who has offered to do face painting for the kids to do it and then not paid her or given her any make up just some felt tip pens and a bottle of budget tomato ketchup. Come to think of it the zombies look like those green plastic solider figures you get in the pound shop in a bucket like in Toy Story but evil and somehow less realistic.

For some reason people die very, very slowly in Zombie Lake and although this pensioner pace is perfectly believable for the undead the lack of movement from the victims is ridiculous. Perhaps they are paralyzed by fear (unlikely given that the baddies look like some extremely inappropriate historical Hulk cosplay or Kermit disconcertedly attending a White Supremacy Rally) or perhaps the lack of clothing causes their muscles to seize up because it’s so chilly either way Zombie Lake won’t give you an answer because it doesn’t want to.

Spoiler they napalm the zombies at the end so that’s fun!!

Zombie Lake has better things to do like showing you creepy scenes of prepubescent girls bonding with their undead fascist fathers and ignoring all the conventional rules of zombie movies by having no one who is killed coming back to life as a zombie. What the fuck Zombie Lake who do you think you are messing with the cinematic rules of zombism, stop making Romero angry!

On the plus side if you like boobs, bums and all the other lady bits this is the movie for you because there are plenty to see including a female naked basketball team frolicking in the lake of the dammed if your into that and if you are I would suggest you keep it to yourself.

Also all of this weird badly made cinematically incompetent stupidity is actually pretty hilarious at times and watched with a group of like-minded horror loving mates some beers and some snacks you could have yourself a brilliant night in laughing your ass off at this terrible movie full of bare asses and people making asses of themselves including the filmmakers.

All they need to do now is change the name to Nazi Zombie Ghost Vampire Lake versus Nudie Girls and I might even give them a full star!

Movie Rating: ½

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 



Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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