“Zombie Lake” (1981)

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By Jerome Reuter

Zombie Lake is a 1981 French-Spanish production. It’s one of the first Nazi-Zombie movies, along with similar titles such as  Shock Waves. Arriving after the Nazi-Sploitation craze died out, but just in time for peak of the zombie fad. This is much like Troll 2, it’s so bad, it’s good. It was panned by many critics, as being a poor production with absolutely no quality . However, that didn’t stop it from achieving cult status among fans. This was mostly due to its VHS distribution company, Wizard Video.

The films main plot is relatively cut and dry. The events unfold in a French lakeside town, 10 years after the end of world war two. We meet our ghouls, a group of German soldiers, killed by resistance fighters years earlier. There bodies were disposed of in a watery grave, an eternal resting place is simply known as the ‘lake of the damned.’ Now they have returned, to take their revenge on the towns female population.

In one of the films more memorable scenes, the woman’s basketball team picks the wrong lake to go skinny dipping in. Aside from that, we have the disaster film cliche of the bumbling mayor covering up the past, and a reporter bent on uncovering the facts. In Much of what you’ll find here has the appearance of a Jesus Franco film. Not surprisingly, he was supposed to be the original director.

The appearance of the zombies themselves, is nothing short of hilarious. No fancy prosthetics here, just a lot of lime-green makeup, and very stiff walking.

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It’s their comical appearance that contributes to much of the enjoyment this film possesses. Along with it’s horrendous dubbing, low grade production, and poorly done musical score, it’s certainly one of the more entertaining Euro-trash flicks.

With the Nazi-Zombie sub genre making a return, this one still manages raises a smile. No clever social satire, or deep underlying message, It’s just fun. With a widespread VHS re-release from Wizard last year, this won’t be fading into obscurity anytime soon.

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