Creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon
Title: Creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon (aka “Seepage!”) (2007)
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Sci-fi
Starring: Andrew Vellenoweth, Tanith Fiedler, William DeCoff
Director: Richard Griffin
Duration: 86 mins
Out on “Hillbilly Lagoon,” when they’re not skinny dipping, a group of college students collect data from the water with their wheelchair-bound professor. One of the students gets bit by an unseen fish, but they decide to dismiss the whole ordeal (even though he’s slowly developing gills and webbed fingers!). Meanwhile, a group of hillbillies are being killed off by a giant half-man/half-fish creature in ways too horrible to imagine (beer can stabbing, anyone?). Eventually the fates of these two groups intertwine, some are not at all as they appear, and a diabolical evolutionary plot to turn the world’s population into fish-people is unveiled. But will our heroes be able to foil this evil scheme AND destroy the creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon?
Well, before I start analyzing this $11,000 experiment in tripe, I suppose I’ll give y’all a little course in what I like to call “the natural history of fish-men movies.” We can obviously tell just by the title that Griffin’s creature feature riffs on the classic ‘50s 3D monster movie Creature From the Black Lagoon, but it is only just one of many films that showcase a maniacal, amphibious humanoid with the hots for sweet poon. The legacy of the last great Universal monster has spawned numerous fry including Island of the Fishmen (1979), Creatures From the Abyss (1994), Sting of Death (1965), and a whole bunch from Roger Corman: Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961), Humanoids From the Deep (1980), and Demon of Paradise (1987). You’d think this’d become an official horror subgenre by now, right? And I bet you’re asking if Creature From the Hillbilly Lagoon is worthy to be alongside such cult classics, huh? You see, the answer is twofold: it definitely has the campy-ness of every other “gill man” movie, but it doesn’t have that special quality about it to make it timeless.
CFTHL is waist-deep in campy, B-movie tomfoolery laced with ridiculously half-assed science fiction exposition. The hillbilly characters sport the most forced and stereotypical Southern accents since H. G. Lewis’ Two Thousand Maniacs, but succeed at spouting fantastic laugh-inducing, moronic one-liners I won’t dare spoil for potential viewers. Funny though, not a single character used the phrase “something fishy’s going on here.” Also along the ride we are subject to some T&A shots (as well as some male butt shots for the ladies), colorful characters (or should I say caricatures?), and a pretty awesome-looking creature (giving us a clue as to where the money went). So yeah. CFTHL pretty much follows all the conventions of your typical fish-man flick. The only exception being the film’s climax which is exponentially more goofy than the preceding 70 minutes that one can’t help but wonder if the filmmakers just stopped caring about what little story they had to begin with. Regardless, the epilogue cleverly pays homage to H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” so effectively and so humorously that one instantly forgets the retarded climax and leaves the movie with a little regained satisfaction.
Despite everything that works for this movie, Creature From the Hillbilly Lagoon contains nothing at all memorable enough to ensure a cult following or any kind of special recognition, so I couldn’t possibly recommend this to anyone who might be interested in something like the aforementioned fish-men movies instead. However, if dirt cheap stink bait is what you’re looking for, then I can’t help but recommend this movie in a double feature with the Polonia Bros’ ichthyological schlock fest Splatter Beach released the same year.