Sorry, I know this is a bit of a switch up , I usually put my trailers at the tail end of my reviews. This , however , is a very special occasion. You need to have a feel for what exactly I am talking about in regards ZOMBIE LAKE a bizarre and dream like descent into zombie land Jean Rollins style. This is one you will want to take notice of babies.
ZOMBIE LAKE has somewhat of a sordid little history to it , almost as sordid and ridiculous as the movie itself. ZOMBIE LAKE was originally to be directed by trash film maven Jesus Franco from his own script. Before production became underway on the film he was let go and the reigns were then handed off the the king of french erotic surrealism , Jean Rollins. Rollin has stated in many interviews that he , " Regretted accepting the position as soon as I read the script ". The film went on to become infamous among the Euro trash films of the 70/80's and is considered to be one of Jean Rollins worst films , one he now disowns. Not so fast Mr. Rollins. ZOMBIE LAKE is awful as far as the common standards of films are concerned , but it is Mr. Rollin's ability to create a dreamlike setting amongst all the chaos that saves this film from complete failure.
ZOMBIE LAKE is the simple story of a man fighting the french for the German army during WWII. The Soldier falls in love with and quickly beds a french farm girl ( in one of the longest love scenes ever put on film ) and knocks her up. Soon after this encounter with the young woman the soldier flees the french countryside with his fellow soldiers only to return a year later and find out his love died during child birth. Shortly after this realization the German Soldier's group in ambushed by enemy forces and he and his men are all killed. Not knowing what to do with all the Nazi corpses on hand the french village people dispose of them in a nearby lake. Ten years later. The lake has now been coined " Lake Of The Dead " by the locals and the event that took place has become the stuff of hush hush tea gossip. When mutilated corpses of nubile young ladies begin showing up the townsfolk believe the lake is to blame and a young reporter shows up with plenty of questions of her own. From here on out , everytime a woman slips off her cloths and gets into the lake dead Nazi's arise from their watery abyss to get a peek at some hairy french snatch. Oh , and devour human flesh . The Nazi's are hellbent on destruction and chaos , all except for the sensitive German with the little girl.
ZOMBIE LAKE is true blue Euro trash to the fullest , this is not the kind of film that can be recommended to fan's of Dario Argento , Lamberto Bava , or even Umberto Lenzi . No , no my friend ZOMBIE LAKE makes even the most bizarre and inept Argento , Bava , or Lenzi film look like Citizen Cane , it is that ridiculous. The script , by Franco , keeps all his trademarks in tact we have LOADS of female flesh on display , some bright crimson blood , and a very disjointed story that includes extreme melodramatic moments worthy of a spot on Lifetime. But wait , instead of extreme Jess Franco style close up shots and disco dance numbers we get beautiful Jean Rollins scenery and silent calculated madness. It is true that Rollins is known more for his visionary style then his knack for narrative focus here that trait becomes a godsend , Rollins is able to craft what could have been a very generic robotic bore into a hypnotic almost gothic nightmare of flesh and forbidden desires. Don't get me wrong babies , ZOMBIE LAKE is awful , very awful. Here is an example for you of exactly how bad it can be , for instance the Lake itself is suppose to be a murky old swamp in the middle of nowhere but when shown underwater from the zombie perspective it is clear and clean and you can clearly see both a green tarp and the sides of a pool in the background. The acting is also so badly dubbed that it's almost impossible to tell if these people are giving genuine performances and by the exaggerated looks they have on their faces chances are they are not. Night changes to day without a moments notices and zombies appear one way under water and another when out , one major no no after another. They didn't give a fuck.
Now For the good part . Tits and blood , of which ZOMBIE LAKE does offer in abundance. The women in this film are stunning Euro beauties who don't mind stripping at a moments notice bush and all for the world to see , and for that we thank them. The make - up effects are , oh my......... well ...... they have a mind of their own. Imagine if you can for a moment if your 10 year old son was given the opportunity to play zombie in his Elementary school production of Night Of The living Dead and you will have a fairly good idea of what we have going on here. ZOMBIE LAKE not only has bad make - up to begin with but the F/X guys once again did not give a fuck . We get zombies with make - up everywhere but their hands and in the next scene on a close up those said hands will be smothered in green grease paint , mind altering badness at every turn.
ZOMBIE LAKE is an awful , terrible , bad, bad , boring movie; but it is OH SO GOOD. The artful direction by Jean Rollins gives the sleazy inept proceedings an almost dreamlike logic , a lyrical madness of insanity and mouth gaping bewilderment. A bad beautiful masterpiece of late 70's Euro cinema.
What Do you say , babies ?