[Movies] Halloween Month – Le Lac Des Morts Vivants/Zombie Lake (FRA/SPA – 1981 – 90 mins)

WARNING: The trailer is the original French Trailer, in other means NSFW!
Today we will continue on some zombie movies, this time it is an UFO, a pearl as I call it. So bad it is so good. Today we will discuss about “Le Lac Des Morts Vivants” aka “Zombie Lake”, probably the best movie from Jean Rollin. Filmed with a ridiculous budget, with pathetic actors, with a scenario that some attributed to drunken med school students. But it has this charm, this audacity that any Hollywood yes-men would never ever bet a buck on it.
The story plot is about a lake somewhere in France in which some German Nazis were put down to rest during the Liberation of France. However, the dormancy is ended when a young woman decides to skinny dip into the lake (that is for the underwater scene clearly a swimming pool!). Surely the presence of fresh meat may have raised the appetite of some these German Nazis that are surprisingly still fit and fresh for cadavers that may have been there for 5-10 years (you will know why I give this timeline later). They decide to have a snack on her and pull her down in the bottom of the lake.
The disappearance and the subsequent recovery of the body raises some waves in the nearby village, in particular to the mayor played by an aging Howard Vernon. It seems the mayor understood the meaning of this murder and recall the ambush done by some villagers to these German Nazis during the Liberation battle of France, in which they got rid of their bodies in the nearby lake.
As if it was not enough, we discover that indeed one of the Nazi soldier had a love relationship with one French woman of that same village (that was a common story in the WW2 France and later led to a massive lynch mob against these women), resulting in the birth of a little girl. Of course, her mom died during labor.
The problems just started and only got worse when a whole group of girls, labelled as a nearby basketball club, stop by the lake and decide to play basketball like walruses. To only end up naked and skinny-dipping in the nearby swimming pool, eh-lake and raising the appetite of the zombies. Only one girl will make it through, topless of course, to the village pub to alert the population.
Now that the zombies are completely awake, they decide to emerge from the lake (some rumors the camera was filming too fast, so the actors have to walk slower to make it through). Now in the village, they attack surprisingly to villager girls and raise the ire of the mens, holding their forks and hunting shotguns (remember we are in France). Add on it now that one of the zombie Nazi recognize his biological daughter and takes under his protection.
That is something about these movies, especially about Jean Rollin ones that summarizes the French touch: a Rabelaisian view of life in which a good wine, good meal and pleasure of flesh is part of the good life, something that in France you would not be surprised to see  women topless on the beach or even naked for advertising shampoos (things you would never see in the US, Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction is a grim reminder). It was a time where VHS was a powerful vector to spread movies through video-clubs and also providing an affordable distribution model for filmmakers with micro-budgets. If you want to explore French horror movies, you should definitively get into it with Jean Rollin. The movie plots are weird, the acting are just disastrous but you get free boobs and a good amount of laughs.

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