Night Of The Lepus

You know what they say about bunny-rabbits and procreation, right? Well, this delightful and typically stupid early 70’s creature-feature shows that it is true! Killer bunnies are coming! What starts as a seemingly intellectual and serious-toned ecological flick about a rabbit plague taking on enormous proportions and potentially catastrophic consequences suddenly turns into a cheesy and ludicrous movie with gigantically genetically altered bunnies going on a relentless rampage for human flesh! How cool is that? All the supposedly real wildlife footage and scientific gibberish during the opening fifteen minutes of the film promptly becoming meaningless at the sight of one tremendous bunny with its snout covered in thick fake blood! According to one of the lead characters, these bunnies are – and I quote – even more ferocious than sabretooth tigers. The desperate population of a little Arizonan town turns to a married couple of biology researchers for help regarding the overpopulation of rabbits in the area. The biologist develops a serum to temper the animals’ hormones so that they would cease to reproduce, but instead it only causes them to grow incredibly huge. When their annoying blond 6-year-old daughter then lets one injected bunny escape, the town becomes terrorized by enormous carnivore rabbits in no time.

“Night of the Lepus” is a hugely charming and vastly entertaining horror product of the glorious early 70’s. Still due to the big success of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, horror directors began using all sorts of unlikely animal species as mankind’s opponent. Along with the frogs in “Frogs” and the worms in “Squirm”, the big bunnies in “Night of the Lepus” are the definitely the most absurd killers in the history of horror. There’s absolutely no suspense and the evolution of the plot is impossible to take serious. Still, the whole set-up and charm is irresistible and so damn amusing! Have you ever witnessed a rabbit growling and showing off its sharp white teeth like a predator? Here’s your one and only change! How do you manage to make a rabbit look menacing and/or scary, anyway? Well, certainly NOT by filming ordinary cute animals from bizarre angles. Slow motion running and smearing blood on their faces doesn’t contribute anything, neither. The attack sequences are hilariously inept, but the cadavers these killer-bunnies leave behind are a nasty sight to behold. Who would have thought these fluffy and adorably long-eared critters could make such a bloody mess? “Night of the Lepus” gradually turns into complete kitsch when the rabbits invade the whole town and randomly begin to devour everyone in their eyesight. From then onwards, it’s just a clichéd and derivative B-movie without further specialties. But if you like out-and-out demented horror premises, incredible images and gratuitously gory make-up effects, this is definitely a must!