While having a conversation about Jean Rollin (as one does) last weekend, I realized that I hadn't yet watched my Wizard VHS of his 1981 flick Zombie Lake. This has since been rectified.
A group of murdered Nazis spring up from a local pond to reap revenge on the townsfolk that ambushed them many years before.
During said discussion, I described his filmography as “running the gamut between Hammer art house and soft core porn” for which Zombie Lake feels closer to the latter. It sure doesn't waste any time in that regard, as a young nymph almost immediately strips before going swimming in the titular lake/barely disguised swimming pool before being pulled under by a zombie. I'd have felt bad for her if she hadn't literally pulled down the no swimming sign earlier.
A little history. I first became acquainted with Rollin back when the Scream channel was a thing back in the aughts. They used to play double bills of his films late on Friday nights, but I actually had to start taping them to watch the next morning because though his work is pretty, it is often like cinematic Ny-Quil. Zombie Lake was no different, as the first half was barely a movie and more of a thin construct to get from one nude scene to another and as I'm typing this I'm wondering why this sounds like a complaint... Eventually the essence of a story emerges, but it's more of a sloppy patchwork of better pictures – think 2000 Maniacs without the gore or personality.
|Jean Rollin's Shock Wav-- I mean, Zombie Lake!|
I read that Rollin was embarrassed by this movie, having been a last minute replacement for Jess Franco so I guess it was doomed from the start. I wager most of the budget went to the Nazi uniforms, vehicles and flamethrowers and everything else was just fly-by-night. Did I mention there were a lot of naked ladies in this? Because there are. If only they had some decent gore to go with it, they'd have really had something to hang their hat on here, but sadly it was of the green and red paint variety.
|Only thing missing from this scene is a flower...|
Apart from the sky high skin ratio, Zombie Lake was a snooze-fest. However, I came away from this with one burning question about that scene with the frolicking basketball team. In 1981, did Europeans (or at least the people who dubbed this movie) not know what basketball was?
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