Night of the Lepus (1972)
A Killer What?
Giant mutant rabbits. Due to a shortage of coyotes in an area of rangeland, a group of jackrabbits have grown out of control and are devouring every bit of vegetation they come across. In an attempt to curb the rabbit population without resorting to poison that would harm cattle and other animals a mega dose of hormones are shot into the beasts with the unexpected side-effect of making them extremely aggressive and the size of a wolf, a gorilla, or a luxury sedan depending on the shot.
Is It Any Good?
Night of the Lepus is kind of a punchline for how the premises of “Killer _____” movies can be. The thing is, hokey as the idea may seem on its face it actually works pretty well in execution. The rabbits are shot in such a way that they seem menacing, they even get a few good shots of them showing their gross teeth. Their size is largely depicted through the use of miniature sets and slow-motion camera work though there are some attack shots that clearly involve a large man in a rabbit costume that are kind of amusing. The movie does have some pretty decent gore effects as well.
There’s no wink about this movie, it’s concerned with real things (unbalancing the food chain and invasive species) and it executes it with the same amount of gravity that any other animals attack movie would have. There’s plenty of character actors like Janet Leigh, DeForest Kelley, and Rory Calhoun.
So if you’re tuning in for so-bad-it’s-good then you’ll be disappointed but buy in to this weirdo premise and you’ll have a good time.
Watch, Toss, or Buy?
Buy it! Scream Factory is putting out a new Blu-ray.