14 Karrot Kaiju
Night of the Lepus (1972): 8 out of 10: After a sizable amount of research, I can declare that Night of the Lepus is the best giant bunny rabbits terrorize town movies ever made. In addition, my extensive research, including almost six months of fieldwork on IMDb, has led to the conclusion that Night of the Lepus is the only giant bunny rabbits terrorizing a town movie.
Night of the Lepus is based on a comic novel about the cold war that takes place in Australia… Not quite up to say The Swarm standards, but unlike The Smarm, there is absolutely no way one could make a good giant killer rabbit movie. One could make a good killer bee movie.. I mean, no one has come even close, but it is at least theoretically possible.
The History of Bunny Horror.
Now there have been other movies with bunny rabbits terrorizing people. The bunny man in Donnie Darko, the animated bunnies in Watership Down, and, of course, the Rabbit of Caerbannog in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Alas, none of these bunnies were the size of a small house.
Night of the Lepus provides a new look into a terrifying future where giant bunny rabbits terrorize the southwest United States and we are helpless to defend ourselves. Will we heed the warnings of the film or continue or reckless disregard for nature by poisoning our crops, global warming and… hold on a second, let me check my notes here, green scientists trying to avoid using poison?
Questions. I have got some questions.
What is the meaning of the giant bunny rabbits? What do they symbolize? For that matter, what is the meaning of DeForest Kelley’s moustache? Is he just trying to get away from the Bones character? Is he trying to pick up some coeds at the college he works at by looking even more like their dad? Or is it a symbol of his villainy as he initially brings in the anti poisoning do-gooders to do experiments on the bunnies using what we can only surmise is human growth hormone or perhaps Kool Aid in a test tube?
And what of our green warriors? They believe the world is falling into chaos and yet they have a demon child who switches the bunny rabbits in the cages, causing the release of our hormone laden bunny rabbit into the wild.
The news caster at the beginning of Night of the Lepus is Jerry Dunphy who has endless new reports on the bunny menace, first in Australia and then here in our great county. He is the real life inspiration for two fictional television characters: Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Kent Brockman on The Simpsons. Is he secretly telling us he is on the side of the new rabbit overlords? His last movie appearance was in Pauly Shore Is Dead. But Pauly Shore is still alive. Is this proof there is not a God? Are the giant Bunny Rabbits a plague? Is Night of the Lepus God’s punishment? Is God pissed about Easter?
Why do we use bunny rabbits at Easter? Are we are celebrating Christ’s crucifixion?… Resurrection? Are there bunnies in the bible? Bunnies could have dug burrows causing the cross to tip over, allowing Christ to escape, but God sacrificed his son rather than use the bunny rabbits. And why are we eating chocolate? Should we bring chocolate to a death row execution? Are baskets of chocolates appropriate to hand out during a lynching?
Janet Leigh is not taking a shower in this scene.
Why do I keep picturing Janet Leigh naked while watching Night of the Lepus? I mean, she is in the movie, so it isn’t completely random, but I keep seeing her in a black and white motel room wearing a white bra. In the movie, she wears cowboy shirts and polyester pants. Why am I not picturing that? Is Janet Leigh taller than DeForest Kelley? She never seemed that tall before. In fact, everyone seems taller than DeForest Kelley. He wasn’t that short on Star Trek, was he? Did they shrink him to make the bunnies look bigger? Is that why he has a mustache?
The questions raised by Night of the Lepus are endless. But one question towers over the rest. On what planet, did someone think that giant bunny rabbits could be scary?
RiffTrax version: 9 out of 10: Sometimes the boys have too much to work with. It is hard to stay focused when the entire film is a ridiculous mess. (Night of the Lepus is an entertainingly ridiculous mess.) This is not a RiffTrax classic, but to their credit, they have come to play and get quite a few excellent lines in. No real running gags (Putting aside the obvious that Night of The Lepus is about giant bunny rabbits running around models of a town) but still well worth the rental if you get the chance, The movie is a hoot with or without RiffTrax (I own both). It is a family friendly fun time for everyone.
“It’s difficult to tell from this vantage point if they will consume the captive earthmen or merely enslave them”
Okay, we have the lead rabbit on the phone. A Mr. Bugs. Keep him talking. We can find thier secret location if we can just trace the call.
This looks like the vehicle select screen for a particularly dodgy mobile game.
Night of the Lepus is delightfully helicopter heavy. Helicopters, like polyester leisure suits, are just something one comes to expect in a seventies adventure film.
With what, John? With what? Answer me! They stole the Glengarry leads; they stole Rio Rancho.
The peaceful bunny protest march took a dark turn. Bunny activists blame a few bad apples or perhaps some unrelated hares.
Like the dorsal fin in Jaws, the bunny ears struck terror into a nation in the summer of ’72.
The rabbits, in a last ditch effort, burn the oil fields during the retreat.
Okay, good scream and fine dental work, but it looks more like a tragic condiment spill.
Better. But still getting more of a picnic basket related terror.
Finally, the rabbit related dismemberment we paid good money for. I mean, rabbits are not exactly known for being carnivores… but still.