Credentials: 11% Certified Rotten (rottentomatoes.com) / 3.9 out of 10 (imdb.com)
Plot: A science experiment goes horribly--- and adorably--- wrong and creates an army of supersized lepuses… or as they’re better known: bunnies. The cuddly killing machines proceed to lay waste to a nearby small town. Somewhere lost in the cuteness is the message that unless we stop fiddling with nature, nature is going to fiddle with us. Al Gore would be so proud.
Thoughts: Since Easter is apparently right around the corner, what better time to discuss “Night of the Lepus,” the only rabbit-based horror film likely ever made?
And for good reason. Look, there are just some animals that are NOT scary. Giant, mutated grizzly bears= scary. Giant mutated bunnies= adorable. The giant-ness just means there’s more to cuddle.
Even worse: The filmmakers didn’t do a single thing to make the bunnies even remotely scary looking. They’re not missing patches of fur or covered in hideous scars. Nope. They’re just your run of the mill bunnies.
So the movie is already in a hole because its villains don’t elicit screams so much as “awwww!”
Note to Filmmakers: If your monsters make people say: “I want one!” you need to find a new monster.
And while we’re on the subject of bunnies, let’s talk about the film’s special effects shall we?
The giant bunny effect was accomplished using average sized bunnies running around on miniature sets and other such forced perspective tricks. Also, there was the occasional guy in a bunny suit (true story) for attack scenes.
All of this doesn’t work. Because no matter what, they’re still bunnies. Now they’re just bunnies running next to doll houses. Even for the time period, the effects just come across looking kind of hacky.
And then there’s the acting. You would expect better from a cast fronted by scream queen Janet Leigh and Academy Award nominee Stuart Whitman. However, it seems like the two of them realized very quickly what was going on around them and decided to mail their performances in.
Of course, there’s the obligatory “kid in danger” nonsense going on. This time, the guy's wife even gets involved. There’s nothing in movies that I hate more than this cliché. Especially in a case like this where the kid is responsible for the whole mess to begin with! Lesson learned little girl. Leave the mutant bunnies in the cages where they belong.
The screenplay is about as good as you would expect from a movie about killer rabbits. Which is to say not very. It does contain a handful of absolute all time classic lines though. Such as:
- “Would you get me a clean rabbit?
- “Calm down, he’s gone! The rabbit is gone!”
- “Your frantic call wouldn’t have anything to do with rabbits, would it?”
And of course:
- “The hoard of killer rabbits is getting closer to town!”
The movie’s pacing is just terrible. Unless you’re like me and don’t mind endless shots of bunnies running around in slow motion. Actually, if Michael Bay and I had a child, this is the movie that kid would direct.
“Night of the Lepus” is one of those movies that’s more fun to talk about than actually watch. Truth be told, even I started to get tired of it after a while. You really only need about 10 minutes or so and you’ve got the gist.
Anything more than that and it’s just hard core cuteness porn.
Breakdown (I watched this thing in chapters so pay no mind to the time stamps)
|This little girl's eyebrows would go on to portray caterpillars in the hit film "A Bug's Life."|
|This guys got the right idea. Send the girl into the dark and scary abandoned mine while you remain safely outside.|
|Behold the adorable new face of fear!|
|Do you think it's too late to ask for a fake name in the credits?|
|I've had a dream like this. It's basically the opening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but with rabbits.|
|Someone actually watched the dailies for this scene and thought: "Oh yeah, this is working out exactly according to plan."|
|Looking back, nearly all of my screen caps were scenes of bunnies that made me go "awwww!" |
I'm not sure how that happened, but while we're on the subject:
There you have it. Quite possibly the worst idea for a horror movie of all time: “Night of the Lepus.”