NIGHT OF THE LEPUS (1972)
Article 2420 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-11-2007
Posting Date: 2-28-2008
Directed by William F. Claxton
Featuring Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun
An experiment to control the population of rabbits goes awry when one of the test rabbits gets loose, and ends up producing a herd of giant rabbits intent on destruction and death.
Well, I’ll give the movie some credit; it does try. It has some decent miniature model work, the acting is quite good, and it tries to spice up the proceedings with copious amounts of gore. But it’s a lost cause; the moment you see the bobbing and bouncing bevy of bucktoothed behemoth bunnies, you’ll be more inclined to shriek with delight as you run to the pet store rather than scream with fear and run for the theater exit. Quite frankly, it should have been played for laughs, and, if my memory is correct, I recall hearing that the original novel on which it was based (Russell Braddon’s “The Year of the Angry Rabbit”) was comic; if this is true, then this is the second movie in a row I’ve seen which took a comic effort and tried to make a straight movie out of it. I vividly remember the ads for this movie that played on TV after I got home from school in the early seventies; it looked rather scary then, but it never once made explicit that the monsters were rabbits. Somebody came to their senses. The movie also features DeForest Kelley in a fashionable seventies haircut.