Daniel Th1rte3n’s Top 10 Films: #6 Zombie Lake

Oh boy do I have a masterpiece for you today Retroghouls! So far we’ve seen: Robots, Barbarians, Tentacles, and Maniacs, but nothing comes close to this, a film so awesome that the director not only changed his name in the credits, but disavowed he was even responsible for it! What else could I be talking about but my #5 pick in my top 10 Films of all time: Zombie Lake!

I first became aware of Zombie Lake when a friend of mine proudly showed me a humongous box containing the VHS cassette of what he assured me was the most insane and awesome film ever created, and judging from the cover art, I couldn’t dispute his claims. A zombified Nazi was emerging from a toxic green lake, his hand reaching for comely lass. It truly was awe inspiring. Could the film contained within actually match the majesty of that image? Well, that depends on your definition of a good film.

Brought to us by J.A. Laser (in actuality it’s Jean Rollin), Zombie Lake is simply stunning…in its utter ineptness, but that is what makes it so appealing! The film is set in 1957 (but everyone and everything appears to be from the late 70’s), and concerns a small French hamlet that sits along “The Lake of Ghosts”. When women start to disappear in the vicinity of the lake, a reporter from Paris arrives to investigate. What she discovers is that a few years back, during World War II, a group of Resistance fighters ambushed a platoon of Nazis (ok..ok..one truck), killed them, and threw them in the lake..and now they are back for revenge! When the surface of the lake is disturbed, and believe me, every naked woman in France takes a dip in this thing (Don’t believe me? An entire woman’s volleyball team shows up, gets nude and hops right on into the lake!), the zombies rise again with murderous intent! There’s a bit of business concerning one of the zombies who, while alive, fathered a child with a local woman, but really this movie exists solely for zombie shenanigans and exploitative insanity!

Trust me on this, no more thought or care was spared on this then one would expend on a napkin. The underwater shots are all filmed in a pool, and you can see the walls in almost every shot! The zombie make up rubs off constantly, and absolutely no 50’s era period clothing or vehicles were displayed.

But does all of this make Zombie Lake a bad film? Not at all if you love to have a great time with a crazy Drive-In style flick! Granted, the nudity and violence won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you liked the recent Dead Snow, or the classic Shockwaves, you should check out what came in between! You can purchase Zombie Lake right here, so why not invite a few like minded friends over and have a blast! Extra special thanks to our own Sean Hartter for the awesome art that accompanies this article!

Next time we learn why we should always be loyal to our heroes! Stay Spooky!

Daniel XIII

Daniel XIII: equally at home at a seance as he is behind the keyboard. Raised on a steady diet of Son of Satan comics, Kaiju flicks and Count Chocula comes the proprietor of The House of Thirteen Doors. What arcane knowledge lurks behind the preternatural eyes of the Ouija Board Kid?

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10 thoughts on “Daniel Th1rte3n’s Top 10 Films: #6 Zombie Lake

  1. Doug says:

    I accidentally got this film thinking it was Shock Waves. There is a version without the nudity. I actually made it all the way through (mostly because I still thought I was watching Shock Waves and kept expecting Peter Cushing at any moment), and despite the production values and questionable logic, I didn’t think it was as bad as some things I’ve seen.

  2. @The Retroist I agree! Sean’s art is what I imagine the cover of a Criterion release of Zombie Lake would look like!

    @Doug It’s the film’s slip shod quality that makes me love it so much! I love Shock Waves as well, and now you have me thinking what it would’ve been like if somehow, someway Cushing had shown up in Zombie Lake. Oh, the DVD has those nudity free alternate takes a special feature btw!

  3. Thanks, but I think ANY other art besides the VHS art would be an improvement! I have fond memories of my cousin Steve and I ranking on this flick in the late 80’s, good stuff.

  4. Great post! The Criterion had better come in a huge plastic clamshell case. Only Jess Franco could write a film like this. Thankfully he didn’t direct it though….the world can’t take another Oasis of the Zombies.

  5. I saw this one for the first time a few years back. I’ve been a big fan of “Shock Waves” since seeing it on Boston TV back in the early 1980s. I decided that I should check out the rest of the admittedly-limited genre of nazi-zombie movies. This one was so terrible that I kind of liked it. I actually think that “Shock Waves” is a genuinely good movie, so this one is on a completely different level (and it certainly seemed to be more than a bit of a rip-off of “Shock Waves”. The underwater pool scenes and the terrible make-up effects are priceless in their own way. A very bad movie, but still watchable. As bad as this one is, I find it infinitely better than “Oasis of the Zombies” (apologies to any “Oasis” fans out there).
    And, yet another great re-imagining of a movie poster by the esteemed Mr. Harter!

  6. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Perfect Nazi zombie cover art.
    I always confused this movie with Oasis, after seeing them both with bored buddies in the days of clamshell rentals.
    Admittedly the better of the two, it would indeed make for a fun (if beer-filled) viewing with like-minded fans of bad cinema.

    And watching Jean Rollin flicks…well, it’s like he was messing with us viewers way before Michael Haneke came into the picture and rubbed dirt in our faces with his meta-movies.

    Shock Waves and Dead Snow are actually good movies of this sub-genre, but seeing that ghoulish cover makes me wanna dive into that muddy pool all over again.
    Might add Carnival of Souls for creepy undead poking out of the water, if such a film fest marathon was in mind.

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