Starring: Howard Vernon, Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Anouchka, Antonio Mayans
Directed by: Jean Rollin Written by: Julian Esteban, Jesus Franco
The Story: If you like bad movies you're gonna want to see this one. Its ridiculously bad. The only thing it does have going for it is a lot of gratuitous nudity. I'm not talking boob shots my droogies...I mean some real explicit beaver shots. Definitely not one for the children.
The movie itself isn't really scary, though. And if there was one scary scene it would be horribly blunted by the fact that the movie is just plain poorly edited. The dubbing is atrocious. The plot is only barely palatable. Still, for people that like that bad movies, its a priceless gem.
A small village in France has a secret....hey, don't they all?....the nearby lake is infested with dead Nazi soldier zombies. When a local girl decides to skinny dip in the lake the zombies do what they do best. Kill her. This isn't scary in the least, but you will get to see the actress in her birthday suit in a lot more detail than you would in any other movie. My guess is that the camera man was a very happy dude during the filming. Soon after another local woman is killed when a zombie sneaks up on her. I don't know how he managed to kill her though. We're supposed to believe that he bit her neck and sucked her blood, but its pretty clear that he only knocked her down and gave her a big ass hickey while regurgitating stage blood on her neck. Anyway, she's dead and the villagers carry her body to the mayor's doorstep and unceremoniously dump her there. Odd thing about these villagers....there's a black kid with a freaking afro in the crowd! Now, I'm not saying that there aren't any black people in France....I know there are...but later in the movie facts will force you to conclude that this is taking place in the 1950's. Were there black people strutting around French villages in the 50's with big ass "Black Power Afros" back then? And don't bother to wait for anyone to tell you what year it is. I'll explain how you can deduce it in due course.
A nosy reporter comes to town seeking a story on the "Lake of Ghosts". Her name is Katja....at least that's what it sounded like. Which is a little strange....from my knowledge Katja is a German name...and I don't think Germans would be very welcome in post WWII France. Jannick, a local man, tells her to see the Mayor who knows all about the lake. At first the Mayor is hesitant to talk to her, telling Katja to come back tomorrow, but then he suddenly warms up to her and starts blabbing. (and you can see the camera man in a mirror in the Mayor's house!) Back in WWII a local girl bumped uglies with a Nazi soldier. The Nazis were passing through town I guess, and the soldier shoved the girl to a nearby wall during an air attack. I guess this minor rescue really impressed this French Chick since later that evening she took the Nazi to a barn and did the old hunka-chunka on a haystack. The next day the Nazi soldiers moved out. Nine or so months later the soldiers returned. The Nazi Soldier stopped by the French Chick's house to find that she had given birth to a daughter named Helena. But alas, there would be no happy little family for the Nazi Soldier...his unit is on the move. They stop on the outskirts of town and are ambushed by French resistance fighters and killed. (The Mayor was there and so was Jannick). The French Chick dies suddenly in her bed when The soldier is killed. Fearing that the Nazis will kill everyone in the town when they find the bodies of their comrades, the French Resistance fighters dump the bodies in the lake.
Hey, I didn't write the script. But that's the mayor's story, which doesn't explain why the Nazi zombies are attacking now. The zombie soldiers seem to randomly emerge from the lake and go on a killing spree. At one point the Nazi Soldier that fathered Helena goes to visit her! Helena is now about ten or eleven years old. That's how you can kind of gauge the time frame of the movie, but its still weird. Nothing else in the movies looks like the fifties....the clothes, the vehicles, etc. It honestly makes me wonder if the writer even considered that. The zombies next massacre a group of women basketball players when the team stops by the lake and they all strip and jump in. I'm not kidding folks. This is one bizarre ass scene. Lots of naked chicks splashing around in the water and the camera gets a few good good shots of the womens nether regions. By the way, the girls are said to be a basketball team, but they have a volleyball with them and are referred to once as a volleyball team. Is volleyball synonymous with Basketball in France? (Could be...weird ass frogs...) Only one girl survives...she rushes into the village pub...topless....and screams "The Lake!" and passes out....on her back of course so we can see her chest. Then she's carried upstairs and never seen again....even when two policemen, Moran and Spitz, arrive to find out what happened.
I don't know why I'm even mentioning Moran and Spitz. They don't contribute anything to the movie except more bodies. They go to the lake and are promptly slaughtered by the zombies. The mayor then decides that the village can only survive if they destroy the Nazi zombies. He plans an ambush when the zombies attack at night. Which is bullsh!t. The zombies seem to attack randomly and during the day most of the time. I know the writer probably meant they attack only at night, but the movie is obviously shot in the daylight. They didn't even bother to filter the lens to make it appear darker. For that matter, there are several scenes when people are outside at night and suddenly its daylight when no significant amount of time has passed! (The love scene with French Chick and Nazi Soldier Guy for example....they meet outside the barn at night, step inside and you see bright sunlight beaming in through the open window!) Moving along, though, the ambush is a failure. Bullets don't harm the Nazi zombies. The most they do is piss them off and make the spit up foamy crap. That's it. But Nazi Zombie Dad does take the opportunity to visit Helena again. He even takes her for a walk to the lake. When the other Nazi zombies want to attack the girl, he defends her.
Desperate the Mayor and Katja decide to use napalm to destroy the zombies. For some reason the mayor goes to Helena about this plan. Helena doesn't want to help if the villagers are going to hurt her father. Okay, this is definitely weird. Why is the mayor confiding in a ten year old girl? Why doesn't Helena realize that her father is undead? (Dialogue suggests that she does understand this, but....) Only after another zombie attack claims a life does Helena agree to help. She lures the zombies into the old mill with a bucket of blood so that the villagers can sneak up on them and set them on fire with a big freaking flame thrower. How they managed to get really close to these dangerous undead creatures with this huge contraption I'll never know. (its the size of a refrigerator, I kid you not) What I really wanted to know though, was why did they need Helena...a child...to lure the zombies. It seems to me an adult would be a better choice. The zombies would probably follow anyone carrying a bucket of blood.
If the editing, dialogue and crazy day/night conundrum isn't enough for you, the laughable dummies that are set on fire will at least garner a grin or two. And dear lord, the underwater scenes in the lake....its so obviously a pool I wonder why they even bothered. Methinks the director figured viewers would be too busy looking at the copious nudity to notice.
Yes, its a bad movie, my friends, but thankfully its so bad its amusing. If you can catch this flick for a few bucks and you enjoy the lower end of the spectrum of movies its worth it.
Best Lines: “Don't forget me...I won't forget.” -Helena at the movies end to her father. Since he's now a burnt up Zombie Cinder, Helena I don't think he has much of a chance of remembering anything let alone forget it.
Are you kidding me?
1.) I don't have a problem with low budget movies....but come on...that's the cheapest looking zombie I've ever seen! The green face paint looks like some Joe got his hands on a camo-stick. (any military guys and gals will know what I mean) But what really makes it priceless is the patently fake eye we see in the underwater scene! Deliciously fake. I've seen better zombie costumes from the kids that come around here trick or treating every October 31st.
2.) When the 2nd girl is killed the Mayor tells her father "I know how you feel about your poor daughter.". Do you? 'Cuz unless the mayor knows he just doesn't give a crap, he'd be wrong. This guy has gotta have ice water in his veins. He hardly reacts at all! His daughter was found dead with huge gashes in her throat! Yet he plops the body down on the mayor's doorstep with her unmentionables showing, and he doesn't act like its that big of a deal!
3.) Ummmm....I thought the French were fighting against the Germans in World War II. You know, the French resistance and all that? so why does this French chick in the flashback sleep with a Nazi soldier? You get the idea that its supposed to be a "love at first sight" type of deal, but it doesn't make much sense unless we conclude that the French Chick is a blazing nymphomaniac that jus' gotta have it! Incidentally, the part where French Chick and Nazi Soldier Guy make love was painful. Not only was the love theme music pretty bad, it was so unerotic that it turned ME off to sex. Yeesh.
4.) What the hell is Jannick talking about? When policemen Moran and Spitz walk into the pub and tell the townspeople that they're investigating the murder of the womens basketball team Jannick starts screaming "I didn't do it!". Huh? they didn't accuse you of doing it, you moron! And how do Spitz and Moran know it was murder? Last I saw, the girls were missing....no one found a body yet, they only have the word of the lone survivor of the team....who mysteriously isn't questioned by the police!
5.) Man, the director just didn't give a f***, did he? I've been trying hard not to rag out the fact that the zombies have terrible makeup and that you can clearly see blood packs in some shots, (you can even see the cameraman in one part, reflected in a mirror) but there's one scene when the zombies are underwater supposedly in the lake and you can clearly see the sides of the pool that this is being filmed in!
6.) Why is the mayor talking to Helena about the plan to destroy the zombies? Does he need the child's permission to attack the zombies? I guess he does, since Helena TELLS the mayor to bring her some fresh blood and how the plan of attack will work! She even shuts him up by saying "I don't want to talk about it!"! How'd this guy get elected? He takes orders from a little girl!
Nudity and Sex: There is a lot of nudity in this movie. And a boring sex scene.
You know, I've spent a few years living and traveling in Europe, and I've even been to topless lakes and beaches....(Man, I miss Europe!) But not once did I see a van load of hot babes spontaneously pull up and get butt naked and go skinny dipping. Not once. Damn, I sure would have liked that. Without the underwater zombies and all that is.
Is Helena mentally disabled? Most little girls would scream their heads off if a zombie Nazi guy just walked into their room. She just sits there like it happens all of the time. It gets even weirder when the Nazi Soldier Zombie, who is in fact, Helena's deceased father, comes and takes her for a walk. Now I don't know about you, but my father died when I was very young. If he walked into this room right now and said "Hey. lets go for a walk, son." I'd freak the F*** out. And I wouldn't be a-walkin', I'd be a-runnin'.
Hey...this makes me wonder....why isn't there an adult watching Helena!? No one is in the house both times her dead ass dad shows up! She can't be more than maybe 11 or so! Don't tell me she lives be herself! (Actually, Helena's grandmother apparently takes care of her, but Grandma is never around when zombie dad shows up)
The mayor says they'll ambush the zombies when they come out at night, but its a pretty bright ass night when we see the actual attack. I guess the sun doesn't set in France.
The Final Judgment: Some bad movies don't fare as well as others in the Inferno...unless they're of the so bad its good variety. This movie is by no means good, but it is entertainingly bad. Get a few friends together and torture them with it. The Inferno will grant this flick two devil heads for being so ridiculous its actually fun to watch!