Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Robot Ninjas vs Dragon Zombies: Season One, Episode 3: "Zombie Lake"

From the bowels of Netflix Instant...

The Problem With Zombies

      I'm getting sick of zombies. Seriously, I'm kinda done with them. Now, granted, I'll probably be seeing them quite a bit in this series, but still, they've been done to... death. But, still, I chose 1981's Zombie Lake because after a comedy and a new release, I figured it was time to delve into a genre I'd be dealing with a lot in this series: 80s horror. And boy did we pick one to start out with. This relatively unknown film was directed by Jean Rollin (Classic French horror director) and written by Julian Esteban (Devil Hunter) and Jesus Franco (Vampyros Lesbos), the film followed a village in the late 1950s that has to contend with the bodies of dead Nazi soldiers rises from their watery grave. The town mayor (Howard Vernon, Zombie 5) decides to use one of the zombie's daughter (Anouchka, White Cannibal Queen) as bait in order to stop the zombies. Good guy.

The Lake Legacy

      The film is infamously known as one of the worst movies ever made. Director Rollin joined the production right before filming after Franco, who was supposed to directed, decided not to. He regretted the decision as soon as he read the script and after the filming was done, had his name changed to J.A. Laser in the credits. He was always embarrassed by this film and won't admit for many years that he actually directed it. The movie hasn't gained the cult status as so many other films like it, though it was once reviewed by The Cinema Snob. If that isn't a seal of quality, then I don't know what it.

Killer Klown's makeup has nothing
on this film.
So Bad...

      Zombie Lake is a promising film for the so-bad-it's-good genre, and for the first half of the movie, it lives up to it's potential. The film opens right away with a seven-minute scene of a young woman swimming completely nude in the lake. The film holds absolutely nothing back and almost drifts into the soft-core area of filmmaking. However, the zombies eventually show up and start wreaking havoc on the town. From then on it's an unrelenting show of errors and mistakes  Even when the girl is skinny dipping you can see some idiot crew member wandering around in the background. At one point the film follows a reporter into the mayors office, where a light can be seen in plain view without any attempts to hide it. This is also a French film, therefore most of the dialogue is dubbed and dubbed rather poorly at that. I mean, the film has so many hilarious problems in it's first half it's actually fairly enjoyable. A random women's basketball team shows up, plays Volleyball and goes skinny dipping in the lake for no reason other that boobs. But perhaps most hilariously are the very blatant shots of dead bodies BLINKING. It's a MST3K fan's dream.

...It's Awful

      For the first forty minutes that is. There's a reason Zombie Lake is considered one of the worst films of all time. The last forty minutes are the most excruciatingly boring minutes of film I've ever had to watch for the blog ever. And I had to watch Mirror Mirror. The errors stop being as enjoyable as the once were and the film loses it's campy fun in exchange for some downright awful "action". The action, which mostly consists  the villagers shooting at air while the zombies walk toward them. The film also throws in the subplot of the zombie and his daughter, which while at least different, is mind-numbingly dull. No one is a very good actor, so there really is no reason to care and with the numerous errors like before, there isn't even a reason to look at the screen. In all seriousness, as this last act raged on, I ended up just straight up reading Trivial Pursuit cards in order to be somewhat entertained. I needed a nap after I watched this movie and no matter how error-filled that first half was, there is no forgiving that.

Um, dude, your eye...
The Verdict

      Zombie Lake is no doubt an awful movie. It may not be one of the worst movies ever made, but it certainly is one of the most boring. The first half of the film does feature plenty of hilarious errors to make fun of and a ton of gratuitous nudity to look at, but that hardly makes up for the utter awfulness of the last act. The story is mind-mindbogglingly bad and the acting is right up there with it. I can't say that even fans of bad movies should see Zombie Lake. It's should just be left out to dry. Zombie Lake gets 1 and a half stars out of 6. 

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