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Le Lac des Morts Vivants

Zombie Lake
Lago de los Muertos Vivientes / Lake of the Living Dead

France/Spain 1981
produced by
Marius Lesoeur for Eurociné, Daniel J. White (!), J.E. Films
directed by Jean Rollin (as J.A. Laser)
starring Howard Vernon, Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Anouchka, Gilda Arancio, Antonio Mayans (as Robert Foster), Jean Rollin, Nadine Pascal, Youri Radionow, Burt Altman, Marcia Sharif, Yvonne Dany, Jean Rene Bleu, Edmond Besnard
screenplay by A.L.Mariaux, based on a story by Julius Valery, music by Daniel J. White

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!

Shortly after World War II: In a rural French village, a handful of living dead seem to be inhabitating the local lake. initially they only attack those who swim in the lake and drink their blood, but every now and again they even leave the water for more food.

Katya (Gilda Arancio), a reporter, investigates, and learns from the mayor (Howard Vernon) that during the war, a German battallion stopped at the village, was shot by partisans and thrown into the lake. But she also learns that one of the soldiers (Pierre-Marie Escourrou) saved a woman from the village, that they had a love-affair and that he fathered her child, Helena, who was born shortly before her father and his comrades were killed.

When the zombies kill a whole volleyball team that camps at the lake, it's too much even for the mayor, and he asks for reinforcements for the village's police - but the two policemen (Antonio Mayans, Jean Rollin) who show up are more than a little sceptical concerning the zombie story - but when they examine the area where the volleyball girls were camping, they are attacked by the zombies themselves.

One of the zombies however is not like the others, Helena's father, who recognizes her as his daughter, shows her his tender side and even protects her from the other zombies ...

The villagers try to fight off the zobies with firearms, but with little success, until reporter Katya has the perfect plan: why not use Napalm to get rid of them. The mayor agrees enthusiastically, and soon enough, he finds the perfect bait in Helena, who seems to be somehow able to communicate with the zombies ...

So Helena lures the zombies to the old mill with a bucket of fresh blood, where the zombies are burnt to a cinder ...

 

Legend has it that director Jean Rollin was not the first choice to direct Zombie Lake, and cast (Howard Vernon, Antonio Mayans, ANdine Pascal) and crew (Daniel J.White) would suggest that it was originally destined to be a Jess Franco-film (to whom the film was credited for quite some time). However, there is no conclusive proof for (or against) this claim (not that it would be all that important.

However, legend further has it that Jean Rollin accepted the assignement to do this film on very short notice, actually when he was planning to go on holiday ... and it looks it, the film is pretty much a desaster, a slow moving piece of zombie cinema with some of the most unconvincing living dead alive (sorry for the pun) - Some merely have their faces painted green while others wear cheap masks that do not necessarily cover their whole heads -, and extremely silly storyline, and Daniel J.White's schmaltzy score that doesn't seem appropriate at all. It is to Jean Rollin's credit that he, despite the hectic production schedule, managed to include some of his trademark macabre and lyrical sequences in the film - but unfortunately, such scenes, too, seem very inappropriate in a zombie flick.

A film not worthy of Jean Rollin - or any other director, for that matter - and a film he should not be judged by ... but unfortunately one of his films most readily available worldwide (it seems, as long as a film has the word zombie in the title, that grants its re-release on video/DVD/whatever else every few years).

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD