Night of the Lepus (1972)


The film begins with stock footage of rabbit invasions in Australia and elsewhere–then the scene switches to Arizona where a rancher has a huge epidemic of bunnies devouring his land. He asks his friend, DeForrest Kelley if he knows of someone who can get rid of the rabbits without poison and Kelley finds a weirdo professor (Stuart Whitman) to help him using “science”. All appears to be going well until Whitman’s stupid child switches rabbits in a cage (replacing the rabbit injected with Chemical X with a normal one). Why this stupid child did this is 100% uncertain–no child would do this and no parent would inject a bunny with a strange unknown chemical and leave their kid alone with it! And, naturally, no child would take this injected rabbit outside and then let it go–but of course, in this dumb movie that’s exactly what she did. Naturally, this one super rabbit grows to astronomical proportions and makes other bunnies that way overnight! They didn’t even wait a couple months to indicate that the injected rabbit bred and created more big bunnies–perhaps he/she bit the other rabbits and made them big. I assume this biting IS the case, as all the big rabbits then went from sweet vegetarians to blood-thirsty man-killers!!! There’s nothing scarier than a 300 pound bunny on the prowl for blood!!!

Aside from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, I can’t think of another movie audacious enough to have killer bunnies! I mean, even if they are BIG, they are still only bunnies! But, when writers who used a little too much LSD or who forgot to take their medication came up with the insane idea to make a horror film, you’d still think some boss at the studio would tell them the idea stank!

So how do they make the bunnies look evil?! Well, have them hop around really itsy bitsy sets with tiny houses in slow motion as you play creepy music!! Did ANYONE associated with this movie actually think this would work?! Well, despite the utter stupidness of the idea, apparently so, as they got performers such as Janet Leigh, Stewart Whitmand, Rory Calhoun and DeForrest Kelley to star in this dreadful film!

By the way, in the end when the bunnies are being killed off, it was pretty disturbing–PETA members and those with delicate constitutions are advised against viewing! There are bunnies on fire, getting shot and being electrocuted a plenty!!

While not quite as bad as some similar films from the 50s and 60s (since the production values were a tad better), this one STILL is a dreadful film–of interest only to those with a morbid curiosity to see how low these stars had fallen.