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Zombie Lake - DVD - Arrow Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 5
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Monday, 17 June 2013
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Cover Art for Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

AKA: Le lac Des Morts Vivants, El Lago de los Muertos Vivientes, O Lago dos Zumbis, Zombies Lake, Zombik tava, The Lake of the Living Dead, I limni ton zontanon nekron, Sumpf der lebenden Toten.

Directed by:
J.A Laser (aka Jean Rollin)
Written by:
Julian Esteban, Jesus Franco
Produced by:
Marius Lesoeur, Daniel White
Cinematography by:
Max Monteillet
Editing by:
Claude Gros, Maria Luisa Soriano
Music by:
Daniel White
Special Effects by:
Michael Nizza
Cast:
Howard Vernon, Anouchka, Jean Rollin, Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Antonio Mayans, Nadine Pascal.
Year:
1981
Country:
France
Language:
French (English Dubbed)
Color:
Color
Runtime:
1h 23min

Distributor:
Arrow Films
 

Before starting this review it's worth mentioning that if you've never heard of this one, then have a quick Google around and read up on how Jesus Franco was going to..., then Jean Rollin did..., then Mr. Rollin changed his name because he hated the results...  It goes on, just like "Zombi 3" -- there's some entertainment to be had learning what happened behind the scenes.  This is a review about the contents, not about who filled the jar.

I'm a forgiving zombie fan, I can sit through "Zombi 3."  I can rabidly defend "Zombie Creeping Flesh"/a.k.a. "Hell of the Living Dead" and "Burial Ground"/a.k.a. "Nights of Terror" against haters, and I positively love Asylum's "Walking Dead" rip-off quickies "2012: Zombie Apocalypse" and "2013: Rise of the Zombies" because they are just everyone's dream of running around desolate cities shooting crowds of reanimated corpses.  (I have to draw the line at some straight to DVD quickies like "State of Emergency" and "Before Dawn" which try to be more intelligent than they really are), but this is all just my opinion.

So to watch "Zombie Lake" fully uncut for the first time since around 1984 (that was a cut version), I knew it would be a fun experience since my memory at ten years old recalled only gaffs that my dad pointed out and some fairly creepy looking green faced Nazi zombies.  I mean, Nazi zombies are few and far between.  "Shock Waves" and the recent "Dead Snow" had them.  Was there some in Joel ("Bloodsucking Freaks") Reeds "Night of the Zombies"?  As for the incredible Outpost films, are they zombies or violent spirits?  Either way it's a hard to come by genre if you happen to be a fan.  That's what makes "
Zombie Lake" cooler, compared to the others, it's truly one of a kind.  Painfully terrible on so many levels but it's so retro Euro 80s that it's fantastic.

I have reviewed the fully uncut early Arrow release with the on-screen title of "Le Lac Des Morts Vivants," whilst a girl in tight shorts wanders to a lake in the woods (which happens to have some bloke by the bushes... no, it's just a member of the film crew caught in the scene) whilst soft Euro porn like music plays.  1 minute and 15 seconds in, wasting no time she's stripped fully frontal nude and dipping in the lake.  As she swims around for a few minutes showing everything, we meet a pasty green faced zombie swimming up (filmed underwater, this moment is truly ridiculous since the side of a swimming pool can be seen to the right).  The soundtrack goes insane as he attacks her.

Next we are in the local village and Howard Vernon as the Mayor reads in his study (watch for the cameraman caught in the mirror.... hang on, I gotta stop this fault picking).  He is worried about the missing girl and when told about her clothes being found by the lake, appears to be scared.  Meanwhile a Nazi zombie staggers into the village and grabs a random woman, chewing on her neck.  It's moments like this which show a digital clean-up can work against a film because you can see where the flaky green make-up runs out on his neck area, where as before on an old VHS it's a lot darker so not as noticeable.  It's worth noting that the effects guy worked on two titles only; this one and "The Cannibals."  Oh my...

The villagers present her body to the Mayor who orders an autopsy, swearing he'll call the police afterwards.  He speaks to her father: “I know how you feel about your poor daughter.” The father shrugs, “Yeah, I know.”  There's a whole wide range of emotions in the script.

A reporter arrives to write a story on the legends of the “Lake of ghosts,” and speaks to the Mayor.  The story began in WW2, amongst a flashback of guns, sex and dire bombs going off, resistance fighters took on some ragbag platoon of German soldiers (one made a local girl pregnant, by the way) and won.  Of course, their remains were dumped in the lake.

Back to present day and a van full of basketball playing college girls turn up by the lake, and all of them take their clothes off accompanied by the worst music I've ever heard -- all “La La La” happy adverts sort of stuff.  My God, kill me now!!!  Under the water, zombies float up (look for the one with his helmet over his eyes, as he reaches up to his head, the camera cuts, and in the next scene it's straightened).  Seven nude girls splashing around has obviously made them very hungry.  One girl gets away and runs into the local inn screaming.  Soon afterwards two police officers arrive, both very doubtful about the reports of ghosts.

Now all the zombies are on the move. The zombie Nazi father meets his daughter for the first time.  When she sees a medallion around his neck and realises, she's happy to see his cruddy green made up face.  The rest of the zombies attack a couple making out.  One invades the inn.  A nude girl in a bathtub is bitten... it's attack after attack to banging clanging music, including a great continuity gaff when a woman kicks her shoe off whilst being eaten and then it's back on her foot.  Cool.  After the greedy soldiers have eaten a few people they head back to the lake.

We have to face the facts, the zombies have declared war!” says the Mayor as he addresses the angry villagers.  An ambush is decided.  57 minutes in and it is a swimming pool with sheets over the sides as they come up again for a walk.  Guns have no effect so the cast needs another plan.  One that  involves the soldiers daughter and a flame thrower.

Badmovies.org say that no one will admit to liking "
Zombie Lake."  Guess what?  I do like it.  It was the worst film of its era, however considering some of the turds served up on the small screen nowadays, I personally think this film is worth another discovery.  Redemption have brought it out again recently on DVD and Blu-Ray, with a very detailed cover, but really I like the old artwork as shown on this cheap old Arrow release.  Hey, this DVD I'm reviewing is so cheap and nasty that the trailer mentioned on the Special Features doesn't even exist.  We just get a scene selection.  Arrow have come a very long way from this monstrosity.

"
Zombie Lake" is truly best to watch this one on an old uncut video tape because it should not have been remastered. The atmosphere has been taken away and the zombie makeup looks very poor.  Only one Nazi looks effective and that's the bald creepy looking dude who chases the reporter later in the film.  He's like a poster boy for the movie since he was on the original UK video cover and the back of this DVD release. The dubbing is ridiculous so it's hard to tell if anyone is actually acting in this one.

It's tiring in parts.  Two zombies fight each other and their sluggish movements makes it very tedious, and one scene actually gets repeated twice.  I've mentioned a few continuity errors but there's a lot more on show.  For better or for worse "Zombie Lake" might just keep you watching until the end.  It's a time capsule showing a time that everyone rented a tape with the word “Zombie” in the title hoping to get the rush of another "Dawn Of The Dead" or another "Zombie Flesh Eaters" (or "Zombi" and "Zombi 2").  Try it out.  You'll probably regret it, but you'll have some laughs on the way.

 Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

Screenshot from Zombie Lake on DVD from Arrow Films on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 16:9
 Region: PAL R0
 Audio: Dolby Mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Scene Selection

Comments
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Dan C  - You forgot a part   |108.183.117.xxx |2013-10-02 01:40:46
This was the worse zombie flick ever done. One of the worse movies ever done.


That said, you left out an important part.

After the Zombie sees his
daughter, he decides that he doesn't want to kill her. The lead zombie of
course wants the entire town killed.

This leads to the "breath -
taking" ending of the film where they fight TO THE DEATH to see which plans
will win out, to spare the people, or to kill everyone. They each have KNIVES
and STAB EACH OTHER with the blades. Of course, since they are BOTH DEAD
(UNDEAD) it' s a DRAW. The result is they go back in the lake, I presume for
another day.

Yep, that was how it was written, I guess. I could have, and
have written better zombie movies, just need someone to hire me...
Neeeeeeeeeer   |142.162.227.xxx |2014-09-07 14:24:01
Very enjoyable!
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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