“Lake Nowhere” (2016): Full of Camp, Light on Class

Hello Grue-Believers! It’s your favorite Master, the Thug, here. This weekend I had the pleasure, or displeasure, of viewing a 51-minute gem titled  Lake Nowhere.  This Grindhouse B-Movie, taped-over VHS, slasher film is directed by Christopher Phelps and Maxim Van Scoy and is written by Ryan Scott Fitzgerald, Christopher Phelps and Stephen Phelps.

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When I first hit play, I thought something was wrong with the disc. The screen was jumpy and extremely grainy just like an old VHS tape, or as the film’s website describes it, a bootleg tape. I soon learned that this, along with the accompanying previews and commercials, was intended to be part of the charm of  Lake Nowhere,  adding to the 70’s drive-in feel it seems to be trying to portray.

Before the film began, my ocular sense was attacked by some fabricated previews for non-existent films. Think back to Rodriguez’s and Tarantino’s ode to grindhouse films known as Planet Terror and Death Proof, but on a smaller scale. The first trailer is for a faux project titled Quando Il Fiume Scorre Rosso (When the River Runs Red) which involves a woman, tied-up, nude and surrounded by robe-wearing, cult members who douse her with blood. Images of a goat flash onscreen, adding to the trailer’s cultish aura. Next comes a commercial for Wolf White beer; think cheesy early 80’s beer commercials and you’ll get the gist.  The beer ad is followed by a much longer preview for Harvest Man, a film that I’d be interested in seeing if it were ever to become a real thing. The  Harvest Man trailer depicts a red-neck farmer and his blue ribbon winning, supersized crops, such as a giant pumpkin. Apparently there’s something in the water generating the mutations that also affects the farmer, turning him into the murderous Harvest Man.

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Now on to the main attraction,  Lake Nowhere, which tells the story of a group of friends – Bonnie (Wray Villanova), Alexis (Laura Hajek), Danny (Nathan Andrew Wright), Gail (Melody Kology), Gary (Charles Gaskins) and Clyde (Paul Joseph Gagnon) – who are terrorized and (SPOILER ALERT) brutally murdered by the Masked Maniac. Though the role is not that complex, it apparently took the skills of three different actors (Oscar Allen, Matthew Howk and Jeff Hayes) to play it.

The story begins as the friends arrive at a lakeside cabin and begin to explore the surrounding grounds. In an adjacent cemetery, one of the girls stumbles upon a gravestone with a peculiar, but memorable, inscription. Once they all make it back to the cabin, the party begins. One of the gents decides to go skinny-dipping while the rest of the gang stay back at the cabin smoking the whacky tobaccy and partaking in some Wolf White beer. Throughout these scenes, we get a first person view complete with the heavy breathing of our slasher.  The camera then turns, revealing the slasher’s wild eyes.  When we finally get a full view of the killer, we see a rather big dude, wearing a fairly ambiguous outfit, complete with a mask carved from the bark of a tree – think of a really bad version of the mask from the film Cub.  Much like the early 80’s slasher movies Lake Nowhere pays homage to, make out sessions and showers  ensue, and the killer goes to work.

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We soon learn that the slasher is not the only thing amiss. Our skinny-dipping friend returns looking corpse white, and after a nap, begins feeding on a dog.  One of the gals is a witness to this and freaks out, fleeing as he attempts to make her his next meal. He catches up with her at the bottom of the stairs and proceeds to bash her face into the wall over and over again as the red stuff splatters everywhere.

Between them, the masked slasher and naked corpse dude manage to dispatch all the friends. Eventually, naked corpse dude also falls prey to an ax in the forehead. Cub-wannabe, masked man lays all the corpses out  in a nice linear fashion next to the lake and proceeds to place coins, one by one, over each and every one of their eyes … and they show him place every coin on every eye. I guess they had to fill the 51 minute runtime. The killer then picks up a body, carries it into the lake and places it into the water. As he walks back to get the next body, he is surprised by bashed-in-face girl, who is still alive. As she recites the gravestone inscription she read earlier in the film, he stares at her for a moment, turns and walks into the lake, disappearing under the water.

Lake Nowhere - Still 04

Doc warned me to put my campy hat on before viewing this and he wasn’t kidding. That being said, the film is terrible, but it is one of those awful films that you’d pick up for a dollar at a yard sale. You’re glad you watched it, but you’re also glad you only payed a buck for it, because you’ll be selling it at your own garage sale for fifty cents. I got some good laughs out of it, especially from the beheading scene and the acting, so if you like your early 80’s slasher films corny and campy, then  Lake Nowhere  is worth 51 minutes of your time, but not much more.

Lake Nowhere 1.3 out of 5 stars (1.3 / 5) on the Thug Meter


JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.