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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Double Feature Blu-ray Review: ZOMBIE LAKE (1981) and OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1982)

 
OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES
Directed by: 
Distributed by Redemption Films/Kino Lorber, Inc.

ZOMBIE LAKE
Directed by: 
Distributed by Redemption Films/Kino Lorber, Inc.

The great folks over at Kino Lorber, Inc. have just released two classic European zombie films onto DVD and Blu-ray.   Jean Rollin's ZOMBIE LAKE and Jess Franco's OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES aren't the best zombie movies ever made, but they both have a certain nostalgic feel to them that makes them sort of "cult classics" when it comes to foreign zombie films.  The films are very similar in many ways, and both have their good points and bad.  Here are the basic plots of the films from the Kino Lorber website:

OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES
In telling the story of a cache of German gold—lost in the desert, sought by a group of teenagers, protected by the walking dead—Franco demonstrated his characteristic lack of restraint, shamelessly inserting stock footage from a bigger-budget war picture, allowing his camera to dwell on the worm-eaten orifices of the shriveled undead and, of course, lacing the action with his trademark style of lyrical eroticism. The resulting film is a decadent exercise in grindhouse filmmaking that is more audacious than frightening, illuminating one of the more peculiar facets of Jess Franco's uniquely warped cinema.

ZOMBIE LAKE
Conceived by one master of erotic horror (Jess Franco) and pseudonymously directed by another (Jean Rollin), ZOMBIE LAKE weaves the tale of a contemporary French village haunted by water-logged Nazis slain by the Resistance. With little regard for narrative subtlety, the film veers from the shamelessly exploitive (as when a women's volleyball team skinny-dips in zombie-infested waters) to the tearfully sentimental (depicting a young orphan girl's psychic connection to one of the walking dead). Beneath its garish surface, however, ZOMBIE LAKE embraces several themes that run throughout Rollin's body of work, showing that this eclectic artist could not help investing even a playful film such as this with his personal sensibilities

As I mentioned before, both of these movies have their good and bad points.  OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES is just very strange, and the plot is hard to follow. I saw this movie years ago on DVD under the title of BLOODSUCKING NAZI ZOMBIES, and the film was extremely hard to watch in terms of a technical aspect.  The film was very dark and grainy and almost hard to make out certain scenes at some points.  I will say that the film is much improved on with this release, especially on the Blu-ray.  The lighting issues are fixed and it is very good picture quality overall.  Also, I think the zombie makeup effects are better in this film compared to those in ZOMBIE LAKE.  They are not great zombie effects by any means, but compared to ZOMBIE LAKE, they are superior.

ZOMBIE LAKE is my favorite of these two films by far.  The zombie effects are not nearly as good in this film.  Basically, the zombies are just regular men with green face paint.  But, even so, seeing a bunch of green faced zombie soldiers rise out of the lake is a very cool image.  There are also numerous underwater shots of the zombies attacking people who go swimming in the lake (usually young, attractive, naked women).  These underwater scenes are fun, especially considering the lake is dark brown, but the underwater scenes are pretty blue water like you would find in a swimming pool...hmmm.  Ha!  You gotta love low budget films!  ZOMBIE LAKE is a lot of fun and I recommend you check this one out.  

Both films are available now from Kino Lorber and are packed with special features!  I am proud to add these films to my zombie movie collection, and you should to!


CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES
CLICK HERE to purchase OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES on DVD or Blu-ray


CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for ZOMBIE LAKE
CLICK HERE to purchase ZOMBIE LAKE on DVD or Blu-ray

2 comments:

  1. Both are the worst nazi zombie movies...boring as hell, but if I had to choose between the two, I guess Zombie Lake is the lesser of both evils. Those blue ray covers are lying through their teeths...there are no zombies that look like that on either film!

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  2. Yes, the new re-release covers are misleading for sure. I knew what to expect from the zombies going in, but someone who wasn't familiar with these films could be very misled if they expect to see the kind of zombies that appear on the cover. Very good point, and one I probably should have pointed out in my review!

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