Night of the Lepus (1972)

nightlepusYes, they really made a horror movie in the 70s about giant man-eating bunny rabbits. And yes, they called it Night of the Lepus, which was just another blatant attempt by Hollywood to use a dead language (lepus means hare in Latin) to make something cute and lovable seem dangerous and scary. How could something so absurd be any good?

The simple answer: It couldn’t. The fun, instead, comes from pondering how the fuck the filmmakers responsible were able to ignore this simple fact and make the movie anyway.

nightlepus1Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh play a “young” couple of scientific researchers who have been asked to find a way to slow down the breeding cycle of the local rabbit population, which has grown vast enough to devastate much of the county’s farmland. Inevitably, their research fucks up the ecology and allows the rabbits to grow to the size of Volkswagens and much mayhem ensues until the adorable monsters are finally vanquished — at least, for the moment …

Lepus has a decent cast, but its members are hobbled by the script’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge that its plot is more appropriate for a spoof than a serious horror film. The ludicrous effects are achieved by filming regular-sized rabbits on miniature sets and — in some shots — by a guy in a hilariously freeze-frameable Easter Bunny suit. Director William F. Claxton tries to make up for this with some gore, but all that does is remind you how ridiculous the whole concept is in the first place. —Allan Mott

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